There I was with Hannah, our year old black lab, standing on the end of the dock on a Sunday morning. It was just the day before when Hannah, a breed known for their affinity for water, swam in a lake. I was so excited for Hannah as she made her baptismal or maiden plunge into the water the day before. She looked just like the labs in the “dog books”! She would run into the water from the shoreline and go after the stick that I was throwing.

On this Sunday morning all the other family members and friends were taking advantage of a day that wasn’t beginning at “O’ dark hundred”. It was a beautiful morning, the sun was big and the sky was blue blue. Hannah and I were there taking it all in. I wondered if Hannah would jump off the end of the dock, if she did it would be her first time. As I was thinking the question Hannah jumped off the dock, but instead of finding her water feet, she began to struggle. Although in hindsight there seemed to hours between her jumping in and my quick effort to pull this sixty-pound lab back onto the dock for safety, I am sure it was really at most sixty very long seconds.

Hannah moved immediately away from the edge of the dock and got as close to me as she possibly could. I took several deep breaths and felt a deep sense of gratitude that Hannah had done the plunge when someone was there. I am pretty sure that it scared her not being able to touch the floor of the lake.

About five minutes after Hannah and I recovered our breath and prayed in gratitude to St. Francis and the Creator, two lovely Golden Eagles flew over and circled us. It was amazing! I experienced all of these emotions in such a short period of time. Each experience pumped their own kind of connection with the Holy. I think it would make such a good story to say that it was at the same time that I pulled Hannah out that the eagles circled over us…Hollywood like. But most of the time I encounter the bigness of God in ordinary experiences, using ordinary instincts…