Friday, January 29, 2010


Chase and Ashley

Muddled thinking, and fuzzy thoughts, and cobwebs this morning.  Too much to do, much left undone, and, again and as always, people pulling at me, offering spoonfuls of guilt in my quiet morning hours. I am trying to remember my doctor's orders, "Just say no."

Fortunately thoughts of great laughter from last night drifted into the early hours.  I thought about the Fisher House at Lackland AFB last night and a room full of patients and family members suffering, struggling, and coping with various medical life interruptions who had suddenly and unexpectedly found laughter - serious laughter. People knee deep in circumstances beyond their control allowed two Penny's From Heaven Foundation Soldiers' Angels Support Dogs to take over! 

The minute we stepped into the foyer of this home-away-from home with Chase and Kelsie the aura changed.  Smiles began to appear on  faces on this very dreary, rainy night and the shift in the environment appeared contagious.

Ashley, with PTSD, came into the room whispering, "I've missed you.  I've waited all week to see you." She knelt down to snuggle Chase and then Kelsie, who were equally eager to nuzzle her.

We moved the 'party' down the hall, followed by children squealing in delight at dogs in 'their' home. This was only our second visit, and it felt as if we were greeted by old friends.  Julie, the manager, warmly welcomed us with hugs of appreciation and gratitude, as we began to explain our presence to a few of the newcomers. 

Then right on cue, with no announcements or fanfare, the show began.  Ashley, on the floor with Chase, was scratching his tummy.  Soon they were both on their backs and Chase began what looked like yoga movements, raising and stretching one leg alternately with the other.  He would make a move and then Ashley would make the same movement.  Soon their were in unison.   Cameras came out to capture the moment, the moment the healing medicine began to flow and the moment that offered the gift of laughter to those who needed it the most.  Circumstances of their day and their life for a while disappeared, as the offerings of two dogs evaporated the somber mood and awakened these brave people to possibilities of hope.

Kelsie and Ashley

Conversations and laughter continued as we were  nourished by a chicken  pasta salad and chocolate pudding with tiny marshmallows prepared by an AF Lieutenant who volunteers for the Fisher House.  Kelsie, content in her home for the evening, curled up, quite literally,  nose to nose with Ashely, both inhaling each other, breathing softly and peacefully. I watched as Ashley whispered, "Kelsie, I love you," just before they both fell asleep.

For a while Ashley had found a moment of peace from the horrors of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  And isn't that what we all want?  Just a moment of peace, a pause in the day when we are allowed, and when we allow ourselves, to slip away to a place of peace.

This morning my writing has allowed me to clear away the cobwebs and remember what is really important in my life.

When is the last time you had a moments peace, a space and place where your problems disappeared and you laughed out loud from that most sincere and genuine place deep inside of you?

Smiles were soon replaced by yawns and it was time to go.  As we were preparing to leave, Julie, the Fisher House manager, stood with tears in her eyes and said, "You two don't know how much joy and laughter and love you bring when you come is like no other time. Thank you."

Ashley and I hugged goodbye and she whispered into my ear, as she had Kelsie's, "I love you."

Until next time.


"Pure unselfish love draws to itself - it does not seek or demand."

~Florence Shinn~ 

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