Maria Landon

www.marialandon.co.uk

Short Stories

sky march2012 161

LIVING WATER

I was walking with Sky, my faithful, furry friend this morning and was marvelling at the glorious spring sunshine. Already this year I have had to take her for her walks either earlier or later in the day because she gets far too hot underneath that big golden coat of hers. However, today was cooler, with glorious sunshine and was perfect dog walking weather as we set out on our familiar journey. Across the meadow we wandered, round the little field, across the railway track and around the big field, along our way meeting all sorts of happy dog walkers with their equally excited waggly tailed friends. Dog walks are always a pleasure whatever the weather and no matter how I’m feeling be it healthy or sick, content or indifferent I always feel better for them. Sky seems to think it’s all about her and just has to say hello to everyone she meets. I do believe she really is the friendliest dog in the world; she just loves to love everybody. But it’s not all about her at all; it’s about me too, for this is my time with Jesus. Well I say Jesus, and it is when I need teaching and guidance to become a better me, but sometimes it’s my heavenly father when I need daddy cuddles of comfort and healing and sometimes it’s the Holy Spirit when I just can’t seem to do life on my own and need the comforter to lift me up and say: ‘hey, it’s ok, I’m here’. Most of the time of course it’s a mixture of all three; prayer walks usually involve me realising that I need every facet of God in every area of my life and in any way he can communicate with me and my somewhat fuddled thinking.
And so we were heading home after a lovely prayer time and walking through the little wooded area where the stream is and Sky often stops for one of those sloppy, dribbley drinks that only thirsty dogs know how to perfect. So we went that way but Sky being Sky and puffing and panting like an old haggard steam train was more interested in her new found tennis ball than she was in the streams refreshing, cool, running water. I smiled as I thought to myself, ‘I guess it’s just the same for dogs as it is horses, you can lead them to water, but you cannot make them drink.’
So there I was enjoying all the beauty around me and just marvelling at the beautiful wild daffodils that popped up wherever they chose, ignoring the confines of garden centres and regimented planting in pots and baskets and borders and roundabout displays. I guess I’ve always had a soft spot for the wilder things in life, those things that just couldn’t conform to human training however hard they tried. I couldn’t say whether it was just my imagination but I am sure those wild flowers grew bigger and stronger and stood prouder and more magnificent than those found in supermarkets or drooped sadly on garage forecourts. I was transported back to my childhood and memories of playing in the woods with my brother and the other kids from our street. Beautiful wild daffodils grew there too among the bluebells and snow drops. But suddenly someone had turned the beautiful sunshine off and this happy memory quickly changed to a more sinister flashback from my childhood.
I was no longer the adult me walking in the woods with Sky but that frightened little girl I knew. The glorious sunshine had been replaced with one of those, damp and depressing grey days that England does so well. I was in a derelict piece of woodland ground where my dad would take me on our miserable walks home after he had spent all our money in the pubs and bookies and could not afford the bus or taxi fare. I hated that place and very quickly I could remember the smell of alcohol on his breath and the sheer terror of knowing what he was about to do as he dragged me into the dark secluded place and my beloved dad turned into that horrible stranger who hurt me.
And then I stopped myself. No I decided and began to concentrate my thoughts on the beautiful day I lived in now, on my gorgeous golden dog and our precious dog walks. Nothing was going to ruin those. ‘I refuse to go down that train of thought’ I told my silly head.’ Just stop it, you don’t need to go over that stuff again, you’re done with all that.’ I told myself. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t remembered, recalled, relived and recounted time and time again such horrid memories. And it wasn’t as if I hadn’t dealt with it time and time again and cried an ocean of tears over the years. ‘I love you’ I told the brave little girl inside me and as clear as that beautiful refreshing water in that stream, I heard the soothing voice of my heavenly father as he whispered ‘I love you too.’ And there it was; that peace that can only be found in Him. It may be true about the dogs and the horses I smiled to myself but it doesn’t have to be true for us. What joy we find when we are led to the water and receive cleansing and healing in Jesus welcoming arms. (John 4:14 NIV)
Sky and I walked through the woods and into the sunlight, Sky continuing to explore everything she possibly could and totally oblivious to where my mind had been. That made me smile because she’s a dog and she doesn’t know and she doesn’t need to know. We soon came to the meadow which leads us to the road that takes us home. So we plodded along and Sky really was worn out and I was thinking about those wild daffodils and how every year in the spring time they come back. No matter what has happened, whatever the weather, however fierce the storm, every year they come back just as the holly does in the winter with its scarlet juicy berries, ready and willing to feed the hungry birds. And so we were at the other side of the meadow and it was time to put Sky’s lead on which always makes me laugh because she is so worn out and neither of us can walk much further but she still wants to explore. I do believe she would keep going until she collapsed in a useless heap and so to shield her from such embarrassment I leant over and popped her lead over her head, however, for the second time today I noticed something I hadn’t paid much attention to for many years. There beneath Sky’s muddy paws was the most beautiful little patch of daisies. I followed the little patch and as I looked behind us was amazed to see hundreds of patches of daisies creating a thick blanket that seemed to have appeared overnight, spreading themselves boldly across the meadow as far as my eyes could see. I’m sure they weren’t here yesterday I thought. They were exquisite, each one proudly showing off in the sunshine, unique and precious as it played its part within the wonderful display before me. Again I was reminded of my childhood and happy times with friends creating beautiful necklaces and bracelets from our delicate little daisy chains. Again I was reminded that every year they come back, no matter how many people trod on them or pick them for daisy chains. Still they come back, year after year, they never give up.

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