This has been a disturbing few days. I thought about the children who were slaughtered and about the kids I trained in my church choir. They were a little older – but not much, and I cannot imagine how I would have reacted had this incident happened at their school. Actually, I could. I would have been a basket case.
Feeling a little low as I contemplated the “evolution of man” I thought about the warmth and joy I knew as a child when I could always rely on my family for a hug, a kiss and some genuine concern. It has been a long time since they have passed and I have made my way – though always mindful of the sense of security I had when they caressed me and made my fears disappear.
My folks were simple and they raised a child who was simple. But the simplest and most sincere of all of us are our canine friends – and I am blessed that I have known and cared for many of them.
It has been two weeks since my new found family of Golden Rerievers have been with Gracie and me. Both of us miss them terribly. And as I had a few errands to run (some of which were fabricated to maneuver me to their neighborhood), I took a moment to stop by and see if their owner and they were home. As luck turned out they were.
When I walked in I was assaulted with affection from all three, but most especially from Kali, the baby. During the forty-five minutes I sat on the couch in the living room, she only stopped licking my face and standing on my lap long enough to get some water so that she could recharge her tongue. Her father lay with his head in my lap, as contented as anyone, dog or human could be, despite the fact that his offspring kept pummeling his face in her attempt to express her love for me. And mom jumped up as often as her progeny would permit to share her affection.
Frankly, I both basked in this display of feelings and I needed it. I rapidly went from a nadir of despair to an apex of hope – all because of a family of dogs who are not reputed to be the smartest of animals. That spot at the top of the pyramid, we humans have reserved for ourselves.
I have never heard of any dog who pulled a trigger and slaughtered a bunch of human children.
I have never heard of any dog who was treated well and didn’t return that kindness ten fold.
I have never seen a dog who wasn’t honest and devoted to those whom we describe as “master.”
To paraphrase Will Rogers, “I never met a dog I didn’t like.” More importantly, there are few dogs I have met who didn’t like me.
Perhaps it is that, like them I am an uncomplicated individual. I’m honest – or at least try my best to be – and I live without a great deal of drama.
Each of us needs to ask ourselves whether we are part of the solution or part of the problem. Do the ways we treat others promote joy or anger? Because I believe that our interactions are cumulative on those we encounter. Even hard-hearted Scrooge could be turned from selfishness to generosity.
We need to be involved in a passionate way – much as Kali did on seeing me – exploding in an honest, unsolicited display of loving action. Each of us needs to examine his or her life and ask, “Am I a mindless, emotionless robot? Or am I a feeling, caring person?”
And if we say that we are compassionate, do we demonstrate that in our everyday activities and dealings with others? Even to the little children. For in some small way, each of us helps mold them into becoming what they will become – either saints or shooters.