Maggie (my 11-pound Shih Tzu) and I were heading to the barn in the predawn starlight. The path was so completely shrouded in darkness that we were at the cattle gap before we realized it. Maggie has an easy path to the left of the cattle gap, but this day we were walking on the right, where the space between the bars is wide and the ground is farther below. As she always does, Maggie carefully picked her footing across the cattle gap and managed to navigate the bars without any trouble.
I, on the other hand, was stumbling along, thinking about my next cup of coffee and paying no attention to footing at all. As you might expect, my foot went between the bars and I stumbled badly. I didn't fall, but it certainly wasn't graceful.
Maggie continued to walk peacefully along, safe because of her caution. I watched her and wished I were more careful, more attentive to my footing. It's not just my footing that needs more attention, though. I long to have the protection of personal caution that waits to take a step, speak a word, make a decision until I am sure. I need to have that caution, and I wonder how different life would be if I always made my way, my choices as carefully as that little dog picks her steps.
Sometimes, the way is dark. Sometimes there doesn't seem to be quite enough light to see the next step. When the illumination is too dim to easily find our way, there is no need to stumble along blindly, certain to land in the first treacherous trap along the way. When we walk by starlight instead of the blazing sun of day, when the next step is not certain or clear, slow down. Move carefully. Wait until you are sure. As you wait, be sure to consult the One who has mapped the path, knows the road, and can help you avoid every danger along the way.
Be careful, friends, to make right steps and right choices. They are essential parts of a life that is "right" as well.