Agility, how we run it matters. :)

Sentimental story is posted here. I would not be who I am if I didn’t post this cavaet. I don’t believe that God grants final runs. I don’t believe that anything like this would happen. As a believer in God (the one and only God) we exist to further God’s glory. How we live on earth means a whole lot, but what gets us into heaven is simply our reliance on the blood that Jesus, God’s very own son, spilled for us. That’s it. Nothing else matters, just faith in the work God has performed on our behalf. None the less, this emailed to me story does demonstrate the importance of treating our animal companions well.

A man dies and goes towards the light. There is no pearly gate, no rainbow bridge, just an overwhelming presence. He falls face down and cries out “God help me”. It is a simple prayer he has often repeated in time of stress.

He was totally unprepared for what happened next. A voice said, “Never fear my child. I am here. I’ll take a simple form, and we’ll have a talk”. The man was filled with peace and knew he had met his Maker. He realized he was being helped to his feet.

The man that helped him to his feet had a radiance unlike anything he had seen before. He became aware of the conversation covering his life, beliefs, and why he should be admitted to Heaven. God said he had one last test. The man had competed in agility and had always wanted one more run with his favorite partner. God said he would grant one final run. A perfect run and he and his dog would be granted access to heaven. A failure and he would not be allowed in. The man said to God, “Win or lose, I thank you for one more run.”

The man looked in the crowd but could not see his beloved partner. He asked God where he needed to go to find his faithful teammate. God called the man to him and said to stare into his eyes. Unbelievable peace and joy filled the man’s soul. God started to change into bright overpowering light. The man became aware of a movement in the light. It grew and grew and there was his friend. He was bowled over just like so many times on earth. His face was being licked, a tail beat his legs, and a playful reunion was had.

There were several agility teams there that day. God was to be the judge. The exhibitors walked the course and the man was to be the third team to run. He watched the first team. It was a beautiful start. The team looked so perfect, he smiled at their teamwork. It was poetry to watch. Then it happened. The handler took his eye off the dog and it took an off course. “You idiot!” yelled the handler. “What were you thinking”?
A curtain covered the field and God’s voice could be heard but not understood.

When the curtain parted the previous team was gone. God beckoned the next team to the line. This team looked even better. Then a bar was knocked. The handler went to the dog and beat it. The man wanted to go to the dog’s aid but an icy stare from a near by angel froze him in his tracks. The curtain quickly drew around the ring. God’s voice boomed and the ground trembled.

When the curtain parted the team was gone. God motioned for the man to come to the line. A quick placement at the line, one last scratch of the dog’s ear, as was their ritual. The stay was perfect. The man smiled, overjoyed for one last run and the gleam in his old partner’s eye. The man gave the command and released his dog. The run was one of the rare ones. The connection so right, the unexplainable feeling of being in harmony with your dog. Both the man and the dog beamed. One last cross and they would be headed home. The man realized in an instant he had moved to soon. “I’m sorry, that was my fault.” he said sheepishly. They finished in fine form but it was not a clean run.

The curtain drew. God came over but before God could speak the man fell to his knees. “I’m sorry it wasn’t a perfect run, but I thank you for one last run. It was so much fun, but I just blew that cross. Please don’t punish my dog for my mistake. He only did what I trained him to do.”
God lifted the man to his feet. “You passed the test,” God said with a smile.
“I don’t understand,” stammered the man. “It wasn’t a clean run.”
God answered, “I didn’t say your dog wouldn’t go to heaven if you failed, nor that the run had to be clean.”
The man said, “You said it had to be perfect”.
God answered, “Yes, I said the run had to be perfect, not clean. Up here there is a big
difference. You see, nobody can run this course clean. The joy of the run, the connection so close, makes it impossible to run this course clean. That is part of the test. Do you take responsibility for your mistake; do you treat your dog, my gift of love to you, with respect? The perfect runs are the runs where the handler takes responsibility for his mistakes and allows the dog to make his. The dog doesn’t care if the run is clean; he just wants to have fun. You really passed the test before you ran. You thanked me whether you won or lost. Also, don’t think I didn’t notice you reacted when that other handler abused the dog. You have shown great love. That was the test. To me your run was a thing of beauty, your conduct even better.”

The owner smiled, “May I have one request?”
God said, “I know you want to watch the other runs. If you look past the ring you’ll see your old ratty chair. I would love to have company today.”
The man saw some stunning runs but also some crazy runs. Dogs that did nothing but visit all the heavenly host. Dogs that knocked every bar. Dogs that sailed over every contact. He smiled each time as the curtain closed and watched God inform the handlers that though not
clean they were still perfect. He realized he never saw another run where the handler was mean. Every run he saw brought another team to the sideline. Cheers arose and people rejoiced. It then dawned on the man. He was no longer waiting to get to heaven, he was already there.

At the end of the runs, the man said to God, “You must be pleased; only two teams failed.” With a tear running down his face God said, “If only that were true. Once you pass, you
only see those that pass. But enough of that, we have a rainbow bridge to go visit. Some more of your friends want to see you.”

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