Wednesday, January 4, 2012


How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?  I have wondered that for a really long time. I try, but no matter how hard I do, the sheet always ends up in a wad.  Guess this is one of those questions that will never be least for me. Then I wonder why I care.  I wonder why it makes a difference.  Why do all of the spatulas have to go in one place in the kitchen drawer and why do the kleenex boxes have to face one direction in the cabinet? Does this complicate things or make them easier? To me it makes them easier, but that says a lot about my personality doesn't it?

Today at the supermarket I was on the produce aisle where all the veggies are lined up neat and tidy and a Japanese lady was patiently waiting behind me to tear off a plastic bag from the large roll of bags next to the squash.  I first tore a bag off for me and then tore an extra one off and handed it to her.  She smiled with a big surprise on her face and said thank you!  How many times do we do one single little thing that makes a difference to someone we don't even know. Sometimes I believe it is a lost art.

"This is my simple religion.  There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy.  Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness." ~ ~ Dalai Lama

My philosophy is handing a plastic bag to someone in the supermarket and watching the surprised look on her face that some one would do that for her. Does this complicate things or make them easier?  Well maybe.  My church, or religion if you will,  is often in a health care facility, holding the hand of a mom whose baby is critically ill, or wiping a tear from the cheeks of a stranger who is is mom to a warrior who just lost both of his legs and in many cases a warrior that has lost his life.  It isn't hard to be kind, or care, or show compassion.  It doesn't take much time.  When you think about it, think of the time you waste during the course of a single day.  In that time you could put a smile on someone's face where there might not have been one for a very long time.

Last week a mom of a warrior came up to me with tears in her eyes and thanked me for bringing my therapy dog Kelsie to visit her son so many times.  She continued telling me that an hour before she had buried him in the Ft. Sam Houston cemetery.  It seems he loved dogs and that while he was battling for his life, the one glimmer of happiness came from my golden retriever lab cross who loved to nudge him and snuggle him and sit with him on the big old sofa and sleep with her head on his lap, as he too dozed and watched football.  Cancer claimed him. 

As I spoke with her I remembered Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche's statement, "What does not destroy me, makes me stronger."  Then I wondered why in the world do I care how my fitted sheets are folded and if the spatulas are lined up perfectly in the drawer.  We can all only hope that by surviving the difficult times of our lives, after each one, we will be stronger and more resilient that before. 

Let's all remember that even the worse day is only one small moment in our lives.  And that we will come out stronger on the other side.

Every person on this earth is fighting some kind of battle.  It isn't all about us.  I tire dreadfully of people going on and on and on about themselves.  Perhaps they should either focus on how to fold a fitted sheet or hand a lady with a withered hand a plastic bag and accept her smile with a genuine smile back, knowing you made a difference in a world that sometimes forgets how to do that.

My dogs have taught me about living with exuberance and joy and seizing the moment and most of all they have taught me to follow my heart and how to accept unwavering loyalty.  All I need now is to know how to fold a fitted sheet.

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