I was recently stuck in a traffic jam on a busy commercial street. Both sides of the road were packed and drivers were, big surprise, freaking out. Every time the light changed someone, or several someones, ran the red and ended up blocking the box. Not great, but not the end of the world.
Except for the guide dog who was trying to help a blind man cross the street.
As the minutes passed, the man grew perturbed that they weren’t moving and it appeared he was yelling commands for them to go. The dog barked and could not be budged. The man tugged at the dog’s harness. The dog licked the man’s leg. His way of saying, be patient.
Mind you I was safely situated in an air conditioned car and couldn’t hear a word. But I could see! The man and the dog weren’t getting near the crosswalk unless they could do it safely. Finally, a decent human being in front of the line got out of his car and stopped traffic.
But days later, I was still replaying the scene and thinking about the steadiness and wisdom of the guide dog. The means by which he communicated and protected his charge. And it made me wonder about who played that role in my life.
My husband, children and family are supportive of me. My friends are great listeners. My colleagues will lift my spirits the minute they learn I’m in deep distress. But who is my guide dog? The person who doesn’t have my back. They are my back.
Soon after, I had to make a decision about a book project and I consulted with those who had my best interest at heart. They all gave me their best advice, but in the end I went with my gut. And that’s when I knew. I am my guide dog. The one who will never let me down if I listen. The one who helps me avert danger by paying attention… The one who knows me best because we’ve spent a literal lifetime together.
If you’re like me you may have forgotten or been too overwhelmed to follow your instincts during stressful times. But that’s the great thing about our hearts and souls. Like guide dogs they never leave our sides.