Wednesday, March 23, 2011

a dog with a stick

I'm going to admit something here that a few of you might find shameful.  

Whenever a news report comes on about the devastation in Japan I turn it off. I turn away.  

I don't let myself think about the people who are suffering. It's a totally selfish thing on my part and I know it.  It's just that there has been a fair amount of sadness happening to people close to me.  Sometimes I feel like I can only allow so much sadness in.  There's a tipping point when I become overwhelmed.  

Right now I feel that my efforts are best spent helping those standing before me.  So I change the channel.

But yesterday I listened. Just for a while.  I heard the story of Taylor Anderson, an American girl, who was only 24. Taylor taught elementary school in Ishinomaki.  When the earthquake hit, she made sure all the children where picked up safely by their parents before she left.  She was last seen riding her bike down the road, away from the school.  Her body was found some days later.

Taylor Anderson

So as I was driving and listening it all came home to roost.  The loss. The devastation.  The despair.  Taylor's mother.

I choked up. Couldn't breath.

At this moment, when I was beginning to think that the world was all a big piece of crap, with terrible happenings to everyone, all the time, I happened to glance over and see a woman walking her dog.

He was a big fat black labrador retriever.  And he had a huge stick in his mouth.  The stick was probably three times as long as his body and had lots of branches jetting out all over it.  He could barely weld such an unruly prize, but the pure joy written across his face was plain as day.  The curve at the corners of his lips and the twinkle in his eye were so completely infectious that I loss my train of thought and began to smile.

His tail was wagging a million miles a minute, causing his entire back end sway,  which made it even harder for him to lug the stick. But oh he was a happy dog. A dog with a stick.

And in that moment I was reminded of a life truth.  We must live in the moment. We must enjoy today.

Crap happens everyday.  Small inconveniences. Tragic occurrences.   No one is immune.

But we have a choice.  If we are given something unruly to bear we can lay down and whine or we can smile and wag our tail and lug that damn trial around until it is taken away.

Sometimes I hate my dog Finn.  But I think I will keep him around because dogs have a way to teaching you stuff.

Like how to be happy.


Diane Duda said...

Thank you for this post. :)

Laurie said...

I know how you feel, when I checked my email yesterday and saw that teacher, I felt so badly...kept staring at her face, and yes I thought of her parents too. And yes my dog drives me up a wall, scratches on the floor, tears in the furniture, but then at night he curls up on my lap (all 60 pounds of him...) and looks at me and all is good with the world again. Thanks for this post, it warmed my heart.

Cheryl G. said...

Well said!


April - I think your blog post was written just for me. I have had the s*******t week of my life. Anxiety through the roof, mental breakdown, and panic attack. No joke - not being dramatic. But, at least my home is still standing. At least my family wasn't washed away by water. At least I am healthy and unradiated.

patty said...

so true...thank you!

Heather C Taylor said...

I needed this today April. Thank you.

robyncal said...

WOW thanks for that, it is just what I needed to read today....

ngaire Bartlam said...


Anonymous said...

I may not recount this story absolutely accurately but I'll give it my best. I've heard that the Dalai Lama has a very good sense of humor and jokes a lot. Someone asked him how he could make jokes or experience joy when the world is so filled with tragedy and sorrow. His response was something to the effect of, "I am not joyful in spite of the world's sorrow; I am joyful because the world needs more joy in times of suffering. It does no good for me to contribute to the negativity." Again, a HUGE paraphrase and not a direct quote, but a good thing to keep in mind. The world is not a better place if you deny yourself happiness because of other peoples' suffering.