Seeing Eye Dog

I found myself filling my car up with gas at my usual watering hole. On this day though, there was snow on the ground that had become a slushy mess on the road. As I stood by the pump I noticed a woman crossing the street… awkwardly. There was something about the way she was clutching her purse, shopping bag and umbrella… As I turned my attention more fully toward her I took it all in at once: the woman was blind.

The intersection she was crossing is typically a busy one. The slushy mess made walking difficult. And the location… yes, there are shops around and residential areas, but you don’t walk to this location for the scenery. This walk is made out of necessity. Bundled up against the frigid wind, clutching awkwardly at her packages and possessions… I saw more…

Her other hand held tightly to the harness of her guide dog. The concentration and care on the dog’s face was obvious and clear. He would get her across that intersection. He would help her navigate the terrain. All of a sudden, half way through, the woman leans down – “Good job. Good job. Good job. Good job.” Quietly. Gently. Over and over. Encouraging the one she was relying on to get her through. Encouraging the one she needed to bring her home.

How often do we offer words of encouragement to those around us? Friends, coworkers, business associates? Beyond this, how often do we encourage those we rely on? Those who serve us?

Even more to the point: Who do we build up more – those outside our homes or those inside our homes? How often do I encourage and build up the very souls I need to help me navigate the terrain and bring me home? The woman did not stop. Have I even started…?

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