Great Expectations? Look, See, Pray

It’s January. Cold. Worse weather likely before long. I’m not looking forward to that.

About three years ago we were “blessed” with bitterly cold north-easterly winds which proceeded to drop snow all over Dunstable Downs. Feeling a martyr to my hobby, I thought I should go up and see if there were nice photos to be garnered. As soon as I left the warmth of the car, the wind lazily sliced straight through me- it couldn’t be bothered to go round- and as my eyes watered I thought “This is a mug’s game” and prepared to go home for hot chocolate and warm slippers.

Shame prevented me. Having come so far, I ought to give it a chance. Sliding out of the car park and into the lee of the cafe, I coaxed my reluctant camera out into the light, and shivered for a few minutes as the lens demisted.

The only other idiots up there were dog walking. One little terrier was hip deep in the drifted white stuff and looked as miserable as I felt.

Then… full of beans and having the time of his life, this golden retriever bounced into view. Snow? What fun! Hey look, even my breath goes steamy when I bark! Let’s chase! Play snowballs…  c’mon, let’s have fun!

His sensible owner, hooded, booted and thoroughly mittened, was sidling off back to the car. A weak whistling noise drifted over the snow, but Shackleton Hound was having none of that defeatist nonsense. Home? No way! it’s time to play.

Of course, all that energetic bouncing kept the dog toasty. Almost reluctantly, and then catching a bit of his adventurous spirit, I snatched a few photos hoping shivering wouldn’t cause too much lens shake. This was my favourite picture.

Later, home and warm again, I looked at the dog’s joy in living- and felt quite envious.

It was all down to expectations. He found something worthwhile- the snow became a game, and throwing himself into wholehearted fun, he enjoyed his adventure.

Did I mention it’s January? Cold. Worse weather likely before long.

What attitude will I take toward the circumstances I can’t control? What expectations do I have of life this winter?

God, if you’re listening to me right now, please help me be positive and adventurous. Help me find the fun in the freezer. Help me inspire joy and a love of life in those passing by. Help me to expect great things from You, even when circumstances aren’t promising. Help me believe, and trust, and live life to the full as a gift from You. And thank You for your promise to be with us always- even in January. Amen. Oh yes, and thank you for dogs.


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