Sniff Out New Possibilities

How to relearn to live life interested

Children and dogs get it right. Each day is filled with wonder. For our youngest grandchild Haddie, everything is to be licked, grabbed, or stuffed in her mouth (I don’t recommend this). For our dog, each new sight is a treasure chest of wonder: Squirrels! Trees! Bugs! A blade of grass! A sidewalk crack! A fresh diaper!

Dogs see with their noses like we see with our eyes. Dogologists who study airflow to the nose are wild-eyed with discoveries. Muscles deep in the nostrils draw air inside, displacing the air already there through slits in the side of the nose, pulling new scents in, helping the sniffer smell. The tissue on the inside is enveloped by receptor sites, each with hairs standing sentinel to catch sniffable molecules. Our noses have about six million of these receptor sites, the sheepdog? Over two hundred million.

I marvel at a God who took such care in the creation of each creature, even a little dog. If you ever think a dog can’t count, try something. Give it two treats and leave a third in your pocket. They can count up to three just fine.

Children and dogs can teach us that we’ve become too busy. That we’ve stopped taking notice, an act that robs us of joy and laughter. If we want to live a joy-filled life, we must cease being so oblivious to sights and sounds and smells and relearn to live life interested.

For Haddie and my dog, the moments are crammed with possibilities.

They haven’t made the grownup mistake of trading in wonder for stress and worry and grudges.

The book of Psalms was written by people who didn’t just live interesting lives, they lived interested lives. Lives that considered the heavens, the moon, and the stars that God had ordained. Through all of life’s horrors and messes, they found a way back to God. I’d like to experience more of that childlike trust. To sniff out new possibilities. Chase the ball. Dive in. Be careful if you’re ninety-three, but otherwise, go for it. Let’s thank God for our five senses and use each of them. May we not miss out on what God is up to today because we’re too busy looking back or down or ahead.

Phil’s book Tricks My Dog Taught Me is available here.

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Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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