Ponderings with Doug – March 29, 2019

Hazel is our puppy. She is named for a street in Arcadia. Her mom and five puppies were walking across Hazel street when a dog rescuer spotted them. The five puppies were rescued and have found good homes.

As you age and as your dogs age, a puppy is not necessarily a cute addition to a home. Hazel is begrudgingly accepted by our two OLD dogs. There is much conversation in the canine world as the puppy tries to play with the older dogs. We decided to split the dogs up. My bride has Hazel in Gibsland at the camp. I have the other two dogs here in Natchitoches. It seems to be working well.

Hazel is a mutt. There is rat terrier some place in her background. She acts like a terrier. No bird or squirrel is safe with Hazel on guard. Before she left for Gibsland she joined the dog tradition of digging trenches in the backyard. There are subterranean creatures in the parsonage backyard. I have tried to send them to the Baptists down the street, but they refuse to go. The dogs are trying to capture them, and the creatures are taunting them from below. Meanwhile, I have trenches in the yard. That is another story.

The other day I was sitting in the house in Gibsland doing nothing. That is what one does at their camp, right? Hazel was in the room at my feet, gnawing on something.

Her tail caught her attention. She swatted at it a couple of times with her front paws, to no avail. Then she decided to chase her tail. She has a great tail for chasing!

I have watched my dogs chase their tails for years. Hazel did something I have never seen before. She caught her tail. I don’t know if a dog knows cognitively that the tail is connected to them. She bit down on her tail and it frightened her.

What does a dog do when they catch their tail? This dog chewed on hers a while. It was funny to watch. I wondered while watching her, will this dog ever chase her tail again? Will she forget the lessons learned from catching the tail? What are her new life goals now that she can check off “catching my tail” on her list of canine accomplishments? Did she have existential angst once she caught her tail, wondering, “Is that all there is?”

In business and in the church world, it is variously known as the vision curve or an organizational lifecycle. It is a sine curve for the math people. We work best when we are setting goals and accomplishing them. We are ascending to the top of the vision curve. The challenge arises when you catch your tail and you have no further goals in mind. That begins a slide down the other side. That is called, the “right side of the vision curve” or the death side of a life cycle. It makes fascinating reading. It is never a good thing to be on the right side of the vision curve! It means to stay healthy, you are not done until you are dead! Hope is stronger than memory, so set another goal as you accomplish one set another! Keep hoping and working toward a better future.

Here is the shortened version. Do you set goals for your life? Have your accomplished those goals? Have you set additional goals for your life? It is in the Bible you know.

“Without a vision the people perish.” Goal and vision, I declare to be synonymous. Or if you want New Testament, how about the words of Paul:

“But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”