Friday, August 14, 2009

Life Lessons in Death and Dogs

"Man is the only animal that laughs and weeps, for he is the only animal that is struck with the difference between what things are and what they ought to be". ~William Hazlitt

I lost a friend this week, tragically, and while I am still utterly confused at the magnitude of the loss to my own heart, I am struck, as we often are, by the uncertainty of life--the fact that things rarely, if ever, are what we think they should be.

My friend was an animal lover, and while I had lost touch with that part of myself, my friend restored it. Now, I am constantly amazed by animals, mainly dogs, who despite their screaming owner, the hot weather, and the lack of chew toys seem to be constantly smiling and content. Their tails wag no matter what. All you have to do to make a dog's bum vibrate is to look at them. They have no expectations, no sense of entitlement, and no demands beyond being let outside to pee.

This is what is wrong with me.

I have a deep sense of the way I *think* things ought to be: The career I should have, the money I shouldn't be without, the weight I should be, the husband I deserve. It is only because I have this sense of the way things "ought to be" as Hazlitt puts it, that I am so extremely discontented with my circumstances. Yet, who is to say that what I think should be is what should actually be?

Last time I checked, I am not God, or Obama, so I have no rights to steamroll the way things are into what I want them to be.

A very good friend told me this morning something I did not expect, probably would have felt better not hearing, but with love and confidnece was told anyway: "Embrace this season and learn to love your circumstances". How I am to do that, I don't know. I am certain, however, that embracing and loving are all other terms for "accept".

I have been struggling to manipluate my life into this thing that I create for myself--its not my place. There is such a thing as doing my part, looking for jobs, applying, etc--but there is also a thing such as trusting God that I have been neglecting for the better part of 2 years.

I must accept that things are as they are because they are and that needs to be okay with me. In a sense, I need to behave as my beloved dog, Baby, behaves: a vibrating butt and a happy countenance despite my many missing teeth, smelly breath, and mangled fur.

Life isn't about what is owed me--its about what I owe the people in it. The sooner I learn to apply the concept, no matter the circumstance or person, I'm going to be a lot happier--of this, I am certain.