I have been mulling over horizons, the past few days. Specifically, I’ve been thinking about our three dogs, Paco, Shelly and BB, and how they’ve each been dealing with their own newly expanded horizons.
Their former backyard was pretty much totally fenced, as you can see in this picture: There was a world beyond it the dogs could not imagine. Anything that made noise beyond the fence was an immediate cause for barking. Though the garbage truck was always their biggest nemesis, our neighbor’s cat was a close second. The cat would slowly prowl along the fence, entertaining himself with their perpetual barking.
Moving to our new place must have been rather dog-mind blowing. Our yard is fenced, but it doesn’t impede their vision. There is a massive lawn behind us, with dwellings of various sorts built much of the way around it. And there’s lots of birds and rabbits for the three dogs to keep track of!
Of course, by now the dogs have gotten used to things. They’ve gotten used to their new space and the smells and bells of things. In a sense, you might say their minds have grown, as they’ve adjusted to all that space. I guess they’ve come to realize that everything’s big in Texas!
How often it seems that we are limited by our own understandings. There is comfort, I suppose, in knowing one’s horizons. But horizons were never meant to confine us, and they are always changing. Indeed, the events happening in our country, and in the world are constantly redefining our horizons. There was a time when one could hunker down, and ignore the world around us. But like our dogs, unexpected changes in our lives clamor for our attention. Even so, there are both risks and rewards, in expanding one’s horizons.
Like most things in life, dementia can limit one’s horizons. Indeed, there are things I can no longer do, that I’ve had to say goodbye to. But the dementia has also resulted in my expanding my horizons, in new and different ways. My ministry has changed, not ended; to understand the gifts that dementia brings. Gifts like grace, and the knowledge that despite our differences, we still have the power and ability to grow in our relationship with God. No disease has the power to change this, even though on the surface, one’s horizon may seem limited.
As I watch our dogs happily cavorting in their new yard (minus the thistles, I might add!), and growing into their new surroundings, I pray that God will continue to widen your own horizons. Like pioneers of yesteryear, we must seek the far horizons. It may not always be an easy thing, as you seek the living water. But when your travels end, you’ll look back and see the marks of progress on your journey. I wish you well, and may God bless you with new insights on the paths that you have chosen.