Life on the Slippery Slope

There’s a park across the street where I take the dog to run.

Once we make it to the sidewalk bordering the park, a huge hill drops into a field. Then another drop where there’s a pond and a playground.

It’s lovely all seasons. St. Louis winters cover it with fantastically white snow.

As soon as the snow falls and the schools close due to weather, the hill fills with a patchwork of colors. Parkas, mittens, waterproof boots, disks and planks of bright plastic sleds.

One morning a few weeks ago after the sledders were called back to class, the dog and I ventured out.

Mountain climbers at the summit, this was our hill, silent and packed with muddied snow. Marred from dozens of children’s boots and sleds.

No sooner did I let the dog off the leash than she proceeded to run as if the hill were covered in tender spring grass.

I started my descent much slower than she did. No matter. Unless I stood perfectly still, it became apparent I was going to fall.

The dog skidded and turned to go back up. Her toenails clicked, grasping for ground but only sliding on the slick surface. I watched her dance around in a little circle, slipping, grasping, turning, prancing.

Memories of ski lessons on icy North Carolina slopes tumbled back. Snow plow, bunny ears, parallel side steps. Not the same result in Adidas as in skis.

I thought of the impending, embarrassing emergency rescue, ambulance and all. Then I noticed the dog.

She’d stopped her desperate jitterbug and was running down the hill again. So I followed her in the same manner.

When we ran full speed down the hill, our feet were light and had no time to slide. Laughing, screaming, I ran after that dog and remembered sometimes it’s wiser to plunge headlong into whatever I’m facing than to spin in a hesitant, futile reach for safety.

This ordinary morning, there was life more abundantly for a common girl and her dog on a steep snowy hill. Oh, that my heart could hold on to that moment.

David ran toward the battle line to meet Goliath. Lord, may I run like that too. Fearlessly, may I run.

As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. 1 Samuel 17:48 NIV

This post was first published on February 23, 2011, here.

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