The Wagging Tail

by Beverly Hutchinson McNeff

My husband Paul and I take a walk out in nature almost every day. To get to our nature trail, we walk by the same set of homes and every day the same dog comes running to the fence to bark at us. I always thought his bark was so angry and it irritated me that he could not get used to us walking by every day. I kept thinking, doesn’t he know us by now?

One day I finally said to Paul, “What’s wrong with that dog? Why is he growling and barking at us like we’re strangers?”

“He doesn’t think we are strangers.” Paul replied. “Look at him, he’s wagging his tail. He likes us and wants to play.”

That perception hit me between the eyes. I didn’t see his wagging tail; all I could see was his seemingly angry bark. How many times, I thought, have I only seen or heard someone’s angry “bark,” when they were really wagging their tail? How many times have I missed a chance to gladden myself, as the Course reminds us, because I wanted to be right or thought I was right about my judgment of a person or situation?

Perhaps it is time to see with the eyes of Christ and realize that everyone is really wagging their tail at me (whether they know it or not)…and that I am really wagging my tail, as well.

I have been a student of the Course for over 40 years, and each year I am consistent in doing a lesson a day. The consistency of a daily lesson (in whatever way or form you do it) is essential to keep us focused on the truth. Otherwise, we are a like a boat without a rudder. Without that daily focus, it is so easy to get swayed by the world and all that is going on in the world; to get distracted as to what we believe is going on and never seek to look for the deeper truth.

I hope you will begin your new year by viewing our just-completed seminar on A Course in Miracles: Fundamentals of Forgiveness. It is available for streaming on-demand on our Seminar Page. And, make sure you are receiving your Daily Lesson Email in your inbox each morning. It’s one of our many Free Services.

However you proceed with your spiritual practice, I encourage you to practice it to make it reliable…not because God needs the practice, but we sure do!

The habit of engaging with God and His creations is easily made if you actively refuse to let your mind slip away. The problem is not one of concentration; it is the belief that no one, including yourself, is worth consistent effort. (T-4.IV.7)

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