• David Redding

A RECOGNIZABLE COMMAND



Men sometimes bring their dogs to rucking and running workouts at F3. Afterwards, in the Circle Of Trust, the dogs will sit quietly in the center until we are done praying. That interested me. I wondered what they were thinking about since they obviously had no idea what we were doing or why we were doing it.


My friend Snoop is the best dog trainer in town. He has a lot of insight into canine behavior and is adept at explaining why dogs do what they do, so I asked him about it.


“Snoop, what are the dogs thinking about while their masters are praying in the COT?”


“They’re just waiting for a recognizable command Dredd,” Snoop answered. “They are hearing a lot words they don’t understand so they are just waiting for one that they do.”


“But how do they know to be quiet like that?” I wondered.


“They don’t know it. They are just seeing their masters being quiet so they do the same thing. From experience, they’ve learned to be quiet when their master is quiet and wait for a recognizable command.” Snoop said.


“I guess it’s a matter of trust.”


“Of course. A dog trusts his master and wants to please him. When you put a leash on a dog he doesn’t think you are trying to restrain his freedom. He may not like it, but he assumes you are doing it for his own good.”


That made sense to me. But how many words does a dog actually recognize? Five or six? The rest of what they hear is just noise that they don’t worry about because it doesn’t mean anything to them. They just wait patiently for a recognizable command because they trust their master.


When I was a young man I was impatient and thought myself my own master. I believed I had to take control of my life and make things happen or they wouldn’t happen. Inevitably, when they didn’t happen the way I wanted or as quickly as I’d hoped I would become angry. I viewed any impediment on my chosen path like a leash around my neck, designed not for my own good but rather as a restraint to keep me from my desires.


When I was that young man I demanded a complete and immediate understanding of everything around me. I refused to accept anything that could not be rationally and quickly explained. I thought this to be the way a man should live and considered anyone who proffered “thoughts and prayers” in response to inexplicable hardship to be lesser—a man who, lacking the courage to act, fell back upon feckless platitudes to explain life’s tragic mysteries rather than seeking an explanation.


But I am no longer a young man. There has been too much that I have heard that I do not understand and cannot be rationally explained. Running free from the leash has often led me into traffic. I have learned through failure to sit patiently and wait for a recognizable command. I have learned that when my master is quiet I too should be quiet.


And, most importantly, I have learned to trust my master. When it is time to move He will tell me.

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