Recently my family moved into a new neighborhood. The homes in this area are relatively close together, so a chat across the fence is not unusual. During one such yak, I couldn’t help to notice that in this neighbor’s yard was a long, narrow trench. It stretched across the yard from once fence to the other running parallel with the house. Its depth was approximately the width and height of the shovels blade. I pondered several theories as to the trenches origin from water running off the roof, to a past plumbing or electrical repair.
Curiosity getting the best of me, I did what any normal noisy neighbor would do in a similar situation: I asked. To my surprise the homeowner contributed the trench to her dog’s constant pacing and running back and forth for a period of over a decade. I learned that this trench was actually a path that had been bored into the ground “one paw print at a time.” I have no way of guessing how many cats, mailmen, and cars this canine attempted to chase down to complete such a channel, but it was none the less impressive.
One more point of interest: The dog only weighed about 15 pounds. Yet his persistent, relentless pursuit of territorial guardianship produced something that he may not have otherwise accomplished.
You see, it’s not a matter of being the biggest dog on the block, but rather it’s the unyielding chase of your goals that should drive you to attain them. Never mind the hard ground that sometimes seemingly slows your path. Stay focused on your goal. For the dog, no root, no rocks, nor hard ground kept him from accomplish so much despite the time it took and his small stature. How did he accomplish so great a task? It was completed, “one paw print at a time.”
In my field, I often have the opportunity to offer advice. When college students come to me wanting to drop out, I give them the story of this dog. Saving for the future is perhaps the best example of a consistent, persistent, and resolute way to achieve and end.
The next time the ground you are trying to break seems to hard, or the end seems too far away, just remember that dog. With time and persistence you too can accomplish much – one paw print at a time. Enjoy that “with your latte” – see you next time.
Doug Rea is senior pastor of Connections — www.ConnectionsAlbany.com