Bark Park recently opened by my step-daughter's house near Las Vegas. That's right ... BARK PARK. A park for dogs. Balance beams, teeter-totters, hoops, balls ... even the owners' benches are concrete doggy bones. It is hound heaven. Yes, indeedy, the economy may be plummeting and countless people might be unemployed, but thank goodness, our dogs are happy.
What I find equally noteworthy is that some of the classier doggy parks have ponds and isolated areas for animals that are more "anxious" than others, I guess so they can meet up with other canines who are equally disturbed. I'm thinking this just might be an investment opportunity. Perhaps a Prozac biscuit dispenser installed at the entry or a mongrel masseuse in a tented booth or a pooch psychologist to hold their paws to comfort them. So many possibilities, so little time.
Now maybe I'm a little neurotic, but I want a Bark Park ... only without the dogs. I want an anxiety section for when I'm feeling stressed or worried, one where I can go and run and play and forget about my troubles, don't you?
Thank goodness, we have better than that. We have a Father who waits with open arms for us to bring our concerns to Him, who listens patiently as we unload our emotional burdens, and who compassionately reminds us He will carry us and never leave us on our own.
Hebrews 12:1-4 speaks to our need to lay aside every weight by reminding us to lean on our Savior. Who, in this generation, doesn't need that? Who, in this generation, isn't stressed to the max? Interestingly, research indicates that no one had heard of the word "stress" until the 1950's. Now it's a different story.
Over 22 million Americans will suffer from an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Stress-related disorders cost American corporations and industries more than $150 billion yearly; some even hire stress-management consultants, a practice that has become a multibillion-dollar industry. Eighty percent of health care is spent on stress-related disorders. No surprise there. Stress causes physiological changes to our bodies. For example, when stressed, antibody levels lower, making us prone to infections. A "Newsweek" article stated that just the perception of stress can cause muscles to weaken, skin to wrinkle, and eyesight and hearing to worsen. Even animals are being prescribed Valium, Prozac, and other anti-anxiety pills. I think it's a problem.
So, since doggy parks aren't available to us, what are our options?
One of my girlfriends spends $$$ at an oxygen bar; one of my relatives goes to a non-oxygen bar; one attends sweat yoga classes, and another pays to light a candle. Most of us have come up with a way to deal with this overwhelming weight on our shoulders, yet there's only one permanent way to alleviate it.
His name is Jesus. In Matthew 11:28, we are told, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." A magic bullet for a change in our circumstances? No. We know that because scripture tells us that in this world we can expect trouble. But we have a comforter who stands ready and eager to give us a spiritual lap where we can lay our heads and be assured that everything's okay.
At my age, that sounds much more appealing than a place to run and jump and scoot through hoops. I hope that's true for your age, as well.