Listening, as never before

What I learned from an eager beagle

I WAS IN ONE of those transition times. I wanted a more challenging job but hadn't a clue what it would be or where to find it.

Then, on a visit to my parents' house, I noticed the dog. Putter, our family beagle, was waiting by the back door for my little sister to get home from school. But the dog wasn't just lying there. Putter was on the floor right next to the door with her nose pressed at the corner. She was actively listening for my sister's footsteps. Her whole body was crouched toward the opening, with even her tail pointed toward the door, and her long, floppy ears flat on the floor, ready to hear that first faint footstep. Putter put everything she had into listening for my sister's homecoming. And, of course, because she was listening so devotedly, she was always the first to hear even the faintest footstep and to receive my sister's greeting.

It was then that I realized I was being shown how to listen. I needed to pray, to point my thought straight in the direction of the one Mind, God, and put everything I had into the effort. I needed to be humble enough to put my ears "to the ground" and listen for God's commands. The Bible promises in Deuteronomy, "And the Lord thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand . . . : if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of the Lord thy God, to keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law, and if thou turn unto the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul" (30:9, 10).

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Growth—even in the shade
July 10, 2000

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