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…reflecting on life…

How can the glass always be full?  It is simple.  There are the things you have that you sip from, that sustain you along the way and feed your soul.  Then there is the other part – the half that some foolishly regard as empty.  It is all of the space for new things to come into your glass – your life –  and replenish it.  Sometimes you might look at your glass and think it’s precariously empty, that you’ve drained everything down to a few fleeting drops; only a meniscus of foam and lacing on the sides, but you never stop to think of how much room you have to fill it with the new things from the palette of life that’s out there.  The glass is a reflection of the balance in your life…

Cleaning out the water dish today I did something that brought a smile to my face.  I could do this only because on my walk today I passed by a house I’ve walked by a hundred times.  It’s a typical post war bungalow with a laminated picture tacked to their fence of ‘Jack’ – a lovely golden retriever who went to puppy heaven in April of this year…

Walking by previous I always smiled, kissed two fingers then tapped them on the photo of Jack as I passed by.   I don’t know if I ever saw him playing in the yard or barking from the window – I probably did and never paid attention.  Today was the first time I’ve been by since my girl went to heaven too, and I looked at the picture – the smiling face of a dog beaming with love, and asked him to take care of her and broke down sobbing…  I know they’ll meet there.  I know she’s in better hands than mine, even if I did my best…  Coming home, covered in sweat, I treated myself to the last little bit of water in her bowl.   Dipping my hands into it, stirring it around to get the slick remnants of saliva off the sides, I used it to rinse my face.  A lovely and sticky last kiss.  I can wash it now and put it away for later.

Looking in the refrigerator at the massive accumulation of schmaltz and chicken drippings from the last few weeks, I laugh.  I find myself gripped with a sudden uncontrollable giggle of joy, the warm feeling of knowing, I did this right and we made fun of it the whole way.  In the midst of a battle against something beyond control, you seldom get a chance to stop and look at all the little things.  Tonight I did.  I am proud of this, and fairly sure that somewhere – she’s laughing about it, too.  I have no idea what I’m going to do with so much chicken fat, but it’s part of the next journey…

I am proud of feeling like I got so much of it right; all the peanut butter I fed her, bits of dinner from my plate, her favorite treats hidden in lunch bags for her to steal and rip apart on the living room carpet.  The long walks of sniffing pee, catching moths, mice, running through the creek…  Cuddling on the bed, scratching her belly and rump…  Discovering only in the last few weeks she loved listening to me play the guitar…

There is, however, the sad pang of only now seeing what I got wrong.  How many moments I let things like worry, or preoccupation, or the supposed need to be sensible, the moments we curtailed our whistling, clapping, dragging sticks along the street, whacking weeds or quieted some barks of joy and enthusiasm.  I let these things creep in and spoil some perfectly good moments…  I think about this and realize now, this is quite possibly the only sin of life at all; asking anyone or anything to ‘shush’, or not be as expressive as they want to to be.  To steal or dampen or try to temper happiness for no particular reason, asking or demanding that you don’t want to see anything quite so alive at some given moment – is there any fundamental difference between that and wishing that they were simply a little more dead?

If it’s not the only one, I think it’s the worst of all sins, though outlined nowhere.  You never realize you’ve committed it until well after the fact.  You never knew how naive you were to certain things, or fell prey to in life, until you look back and see them from a new perspective.

I believe though, in forgiveness.  And I believe that forgiveness isn’t granted or given, it’s earned and sustained by never committing something so egregious ever again, or letting anyone ever commit such a thing to yourself or another in your presence…

Because in hindsight, I know now that really and truly there is very little in life you need to worry about.  You can’t control the big things – they really do just happen, both the good ones and the bad ones – and the small things aren’t worth it.

You don’t need any reason at all to giggle or be joyous or to look in the eyes of a stranger and smile as if they’re some long lost friend; you just can and should as often as possible.

Life is a dance.  Walks with her always meant sharing what her eyes saw – little treasures she’d unearth, places she wanted to explore, things that she wanted to do – the little games and rituals and treasures she introduced me to.  The only fear I have is losing some sense of the music anymore, some way of hearing it, smelling it, treasuring it all.  I know she’s trained me well for what’s ahead, and I know I’ll never turn down the volume…

Life is a dance.  The melody is composed of laughter, dog spit, leaves in the wind, birds chirping, squirrels rustling in the branches, moths flitting about streetlights and raindrops on your forehead…  Don’t miss any of it.

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Discussion

2 thoughts on “…reflecting on life…

  1. I hope you are now able to dance to your heart’s content!

    Posted by seabreezelouise | August 16, 2011, 2:25 pm
  2. I am sorry for your loss. Thanks for the reminders that life is beautiful and we need to sit back and enjoy the ride. God’s blessings!

    Posted by Michelle Johnson | August 16, 2011, 2:51 pm

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