When Nancy passed a year and a half ago, she left me her dog. He hated me, was always barking at me and so protective of her. Yet, I would take him on walks and he was in total joy. Little did I know the lessons that I would learn from this dinky little dog during this time. He has taught me to love more.
He has taught me to set aside what I’m doing because it isn’t nearly as important as what he wants. He has taught me more to live in the present. He doesn’t ever seem to be in the past or the future, but always in the moment. He is always ready for a ride, a walk, an adventure. Even if he doesn’t get out of the car, he wants to go. I take him on appointments with clients and sometimes he sits in the car for a while, but he just takes a snooze and awaits my return. He is amazing.
As I was thinking about all I have learned from Charlie, the little dog, I responded to an email from a friend and client. She sent some photos and I wasn’t sure why because, at first glance, I didn’t notice anything different than was already on the website. So, after looking at them more closely, I had a number of questions and sent her an email. Previously, she only sent photos with no story.
She responded with this: “Yes–oh my goodness I forgot to tell you that–I always think you can read my mind.” That caused a whole other train of thought though it was related to the dog story, so bear with me.
Her response was so appropriate and so closely matched to how my own and so many people’s relationships, marriages are. We don’t tell our partners, lovers, friends what we really want or need, but we somehow expect that they will figure it out on their own. We think maybe they will see our mood and deduce something that we want or need that we are unwilling to actually say.
Suppose the wife, woman, lover, comes home from work and had a bad day. Stuff went on at work and the thoughts and emotions are running through her head as she walks in the front door. There is a cloud following her every move. Maybe she even vocalizes anger and disappointment, or complaint, but who wants to hear that? Better to find something important to do so that we don’t have to listen to it.
Then change to this scene. She walks in and is beside herself with the trials of the day. She’s had enough of this day. She sees me (or you) and says, “honey, I’ve had stuff go all awry today, I need a friend right now. Will you come and sit with me, hold me for a while and let me let off some of these thoughts while I bask in your love and acceptance?”
I’m trying to keep this short, but you see the difference, right? Maybe you’re the exception, but I know in my life that we expected each other to figure things out and to be a backstop for our fastballs and curveballs and knuckleballs. Whether it is coming home from work, or in the bedroom, or on a trip somewhere, rarely, if ever does the communication come out so simply and brilliantly.
Charlie does it. He comes over while I’m doing computer work and I can tell without a word that he wants some love and attention. In the past, I might think that what I’m doing was so all-fired important that I would miss so many moments like these. I know I did that with her too. Not meaning to, just not knowing any better. Not seeing the present in full bloom, taking advantage of the opportunities.
Praise be to those bold enough to say what they want, to ask rather than expect, to get our attention rather than give up and go sulking alone.
It’s Amazing Who Your Teachers Can Be. When The Student Is Ready. . .
Spread Some Joy Today–Say what you want. Ask for joy. Ask for love. Pay attention to the moments. There is nothing so important as that.