Sunday, February 5, 2012
I heard a psychologist say something to me this morning that hit me right in the face. "Sometimes we hurt others so we don't hurt." I guess this surprised me primarily because when I hurt it makes me feel better to make others feel better, not the other way around. And boy have I hurt lately. So much so that I have stumbled just trying to stay vertical. Sometimes there is a pain that words can't describe. You put on a happy face and then suddenly the tears come rushing to the surface and there is no stopping them. Such was the case this morning.
In a very difficult and stressful meeting, my little blind Gracie came up and put her head on my leg. Since she was eight weeks old, she has always sensed and felt my pain and somehow knows just the second when I need her the most. She will climb onto my lap and lay her head on my shoulder and press her cheek next to mine and make the sweetest softest sound imaginable. I respond with a verbal appreciation and gratitude of her very existence in my life. But this morning at my dining room table, she simply laid her head on my leg. I bent over to pet her head, her ears, her muzzle when I found myself suddenly buried into her fur as the tears flowed.
Letting go is okay...or so I am told and try to remind myself. For me I all too often hide my pain for sometimes there seems to be so much of it that if I were to let go I fear I might explode or implode.But then when Gracie offers her belly and cooing sounds without hesitation and stays close to me, it reminds me that there are those moments in life that something as vital and yet as simplistic as a little dog named Gracie that can save your life.
Dean Koontz, in A Big Little Life: a Memoir of A Joyful Dog Named Trixie, says "When we have the deepest of affection for a dog, we do not possess that love but are possessed by it, and sometimes it takes us by surprise, overwhelms us. When we take a dog into our lives, we ask for its trust, and the trust is freely given. We promise, I will always love you and bring you through troubled times." Seems to work both ways. But there are times when we are not in control and others who have dictated our happiness or sadness leave us helpless. When trust in humans we once trusted is lost, it is truly a humbling experience when we discover our dogs remain steadfast in their faith in us, leaving us 'shaken and humbled.'
So today after having lost sunshine in my life, I search for it in other places. I choose not to hurt others so that I won't hurt. Quite the opposite. It has strengthened me, knowing that others out there need me to be there for them, because they too hurt and maybe they don't have a little dog named Gracie and a friend that calls them 'sister' and new friends that have taken them under their wings and nourished them, held them, fed them, and kept them from falling down and from falling apart. My friend's acts of kindness have reverberated across distance and time to others through their love and support of me.
It is in helping me step out of pain and back into life so many, many times that little Gracie was sent to me, as well as my friends who know my heart and hold it gently in their hands.
So today on a cold, gloomy day I wish for sunflowers and friends, whether canine or human, that are there for me and for you during betrayals and battering events that ultimately will come into your lives. I wish for our canine companions to know how much they are loved and appreciated and cherished. For without them pain would often be unbearable and hearts would become cold and bitter.