I love my dog. I know that’s about as interesting as one of those stick family decals on the rear window of a mini-van. It even sounds like something you might read on a bumper sticker.
This isn’t about bumper stickers though, but rather bumping along in life with worries that ping-pong around like reckless cars weaving through traffic.
Gus, is a faux-lab we adopted when he was a year old. I call him a faux-lab because he doesn’t like the water. This baffles me because his breed seems almost amphibious. He had been at the shelter for six weeks before we adopted him. I am not sure if that had anything to do with the sign on his kennel which read, “I eat blankets.” Since I like to hide underneath blankets when the world feels too wonky, I figured our shared affinity for bed covers might make a good match.
When we brought him home from the shelter, Gus was as shiny and black as a baby grand piano with dazzling white teeth as his keys. He is nine-years-old now. His muzzle is gray and his teeth aren’t quite as glossy. He doesn’t eat blankets, but he’s always there when I need one. The longer I have him the more grateful I am for his unconditional love and the uncanny way he completes our family.
The more I realize how dear this dog is, the more I worry about my next dog. I lament that I won’t be able to find another dog as perfect, that I won’t even like any other dogs, that when the dog I have dies I am going to adopt 10 more cats to add to the two I have and just call my life a dog-gone disaster with a dozen litter boxes to clean.
Breaking from my catastrophic thinking I wonder why I can’t just enjoy right now. Why am I wasting time trying to write a future when the only thing I can author is my present? Why is it that the more I know what I have the more afraid I am to lose it? Why can’t I be like the Beatles and just let it be?
Let it be.
Everyone talks about being mindful and living in the moment. Most of the time I feel like I need a magic wand to do that. Abracadabra to get rid of the albatross of anxiety around my neck. Only when I remember that it isn’t magic I need, but trust in the majestic hand of God that I can begin to let go of my spirally cat-lady thoughts and enjoy the peace of the moment.
I can make 1,001 plans for my life, down to the detail of what dog to get next, but only God knows what my future holds. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future” (Jeremiah: 29:11).
I try to trust that God’s plan is good. That, where I am is exactly where he means for me to be and that the present moment is more important than the memories I’ve made or the miracles I long to manifest.
Dogs know how to live in the moment, to move on from shredded blankets, and to love their people right where they are without a single care for what happens next.
They also remind us of small miracles in ordinary moments.
I watched my husband pull up to our dock in the boat just as the sky opened in a torrential downpour. Instead of running to the haven of a dry house, Gus ran with abandon toward my husband. Wagging his tail as the rain pelted the now soaking dog, he greeted his person as if the moment of his homecoming was the only moment that mattered. My faux-lab may be finicky about the water, but in the midst of a storm, he reminds me of the joy of being.
I still don’t know what I will do when Gus goes. However, he teaches me the same lessons I learn from scripture, that I don’t need to worry about it.
There will be an answer, let it be.
Does anyone else find themselves loving something/someone in the present so much that they worry about the future? Anyone else certain they have the best dog ever?!
Miss last weeks post, read it here.