Sarah had spent almost eight months in training her 18-month-old male German Shorthaired Pointer, Toby in the recall. Toby had a knack for wandering off and ‘exploring the world’. He would love to smell the roses, take his time, and when he picks up a scent, he dashes off like an arrow in pursuit. When that happens, Sarah finds that recalling him back is like trying to stop the tide from rising up the shore, impossible apart from an act of God. As such, Sarah had invested in multiple training courses and spent countless hours practicing, more spent in running, shouting and whistling waving bits of cheesy treats (which Toby loves) after a hound that never wants to come back.
One day, Sarah was out walking with Toby, off the lead, of course. While she was pondering in her thoughts about life and such, her mobile rang. The news was not good. Her aging mother had fallen down and only barely managed to call her for help. She sounded frightened and was panicking due to the pain she felt in her hips. She needed Sarah immediately. Sarah immediately assured her the best she could and ended the call. She then looked up to search for Toby. “Man, that dog! Where are you?!” she thought, “We have got to go!”
She saw him about 40m away, standing erect and sniffing the air. He has caught a scent. Sarah willed all her inner belief, mustered all her calmness, and began to call him back. “I need you back here now, Toby! Please help. Please listen. Please don’t go chasing that scent! We have not got the time!” she thought. She recognized that look, the look that mixed determination and adventure. He had caught a scent and will not let it go. His head was up and tail pointed back straight as an arrow. A few more seconds and he would be gone like the wind. Something broke his chain of thought, Toby looked back at Sarah. He saw her face and hands waving for him to come back. He looked at the direction of the scent. To Sarah’s disbelief, he abandoned the scent and began to run back to Sarah. Somehow, he must have felt Sarah’s need and urgency. Sarah and Toby went off to rescue her mum promptly.
In life, sometimes you are faced with situations that you may feel you know the inevitable outcome. You have seen it before. You have experienced it before. Perhaps it is someone you know that will react in a certain way. I remember when I was fifteen, money was extremely tight at home. My mum gave me $50 as spending money for the weekend. Unfortunately, I lost the money carelessly on the bus trip. It must have fallen out unnoticed. I was horrified and felt so bad. I felt worse about it as I knew what my mum was going to say when I told her. I knew that I would be chastised like before and be reminded how ‘money does not grow on trees and we must be more careful’. I could not enjoy the day at all as I felt bad the whole time, anticipating the carnage I am about to face.
When I got home, I told my mum what happened and waited for the explosion (my mum has quite the fiery temper in her days!). She looked at me quietly and said, “How do you feel?” I replied that I was sorry and felt really bad. All she said in an even but caring voice was, “It happens. Sometimes we lose things. Be more careful in the future.” There was no explosion, no emotions flying, and certainly, no carnage! I have never felt more relieved. That day, I learned an important lesson. Well, quite a few, actually. The obvious one was that I had to be more careful about storing money safely (that did not stop me from losing more money in the future by carelessness! We can do but try!) and learning that allowing unfounded fears to ruin my day was a bit pointless. More importantly, I learned that by having a little faith, it goes a long way.
Sometimes people, situations, and events may surprise you. If you have lost the faith, even when good things happen unexpectedly, you would not see them and merely revert to ‘auto-pilot’ in your view of the world. You see the world through your filters. You see what you want to see. You absorb what your mind wants to absorb. You hear what you want to hear. If you do not have faith that people (and life) are inherently good and adopt a negative view about life and expectations, life will be incredibly tough. You will face a series of self-fulfilling prophecies that your life is hard and nothing comes easy. Any good luck, a positive twist of fate or incredible fortune will be viewed as anomalies and disregarded. You will find life hard because life is hard in your view. You will become like Charlie Brown (amazing character, by the way!).
However, if you have a little faith (and keep the faith), you will live in a life of positive expectancy. I am not referring to wishful thinking or living life carelessly just because you believe everything will be fine and good because that is truly a recipe for disaster! It is living your life the best you could and still believe that something good, something great can still happen to and for you anytime. To have that constant positive expectancy so when a perfect twist of fate occurs, you are ready to embrace it, practice your ever-increasing gratitude for it, and relish in your unexpected great fortune. Keeping the faith is so important. Be aware that you see the world through filters. Be sure to put ‘Positive Expectancy’ as one of your filters!
Perhaps, in time to come, the Toby in your life will surprise you. Be sure to be ready to receive the shock!
‘Lord we gotta keep the faith’ – Jon Bon Jovi