We like to believe if one works hard and lives an honest life- hardships will be minimal and every problem will have a quick solution. However, when life is like a roller coaster with heart-stopping dives and slow crawling climbs back up, how does one find the strength to keep believing this ride will end?
Maggie enjoyed her daily routine. The occasional hardships included trying to poop during a blizzard, or getting a very large stick into her dog house. At times, she had some dives when visiting veterinarians who gave her shots or forced pills down her throat. Maggie always remained calm during these ‘dips & crawls’ in life. She waited for the uncomfortable situation to end, as if knowing ‘this to shall pass, better days are ahead.’
We all experience highs and lows in our lifetime. Sometimes we have a strong support system, and other times we must overcome struggles on our own. In either situation, it is with determination and grit that we survive life’s hardships. It is our faith that allows us to understand the lesson- even when that lesson might not be answered within the time frame we would like.
When you are down to nothing, God is up to something.
One of the top selling book categories is how to be successful. The best advice I received on being successful- ‘Just Show Up’.
Maggie was always there when I needed her. After a long day at work, she was waiting at the door to greet me. If I was working in the yard, and someone came on our property, she was right at my side to protect me. She remembered neighbors daily walk times, and was always at the fence waiting to say hello & maybe get a treat. Day or night, I could always count on Maggie to show up.
We live in a world that changes quicker than any other time in our past. People are constantly trying to make themselves marketable, employable or the most valuable on the team. I’ve learned the most important quality to have is to just be there. When I need help on a task, the quality I look for in the person to ask is not the smartest or strongest person. It’s the person who is going to show up- and be there until the job is done.
Maybe being successful is 1% Luck and 99% Dedication.
The dictionary defines a thinker as an intellectually creative person. Therefore, a true thinker, thinks their own thoughts- right?
Maggie was constantly praised for her great thinking skills. She seemed to know the daily schedule, had the ability to solve her own problems (like getting a very large bone thru her doggie door), and coerce visitors to give her treats. Maggie solved those expensive doggie games- guaranteed to keep your pet entertained for hours- within minutes. She was a first rate thinker!
In today’s world, we often ridicule people for not thinking the same way. Don’t we need an eclectic group of thinkers to create a world of diversity? If our world was not filled with diversity, how would we prosper by sharing the same thoughts? Maybe we should worry less about what people are thinking, and worry more about how we treat each other when our thoughts disagree.
“The third-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the majority. The second-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking with the minority. The first-rate mind is only happy when it is thinking.”― A.A. Milne
All too often we try to make everyone else around us happy, and our own happiness takes second place. We play a tug of war in our mind- should I stay or should I leave.
One of the things I admired most about Maggie was her ability to make a decision and stick with it. Once, she waited a solid fifteen minutes until a toad finally came out from hiding behind the steps. She was staying until she got that toad- it made her happy. Other times, she would get bored with the other neighborhood dogs and just walk back to her yard. She didn’t care if the other dogs started to bark, she just kept walking back to her blanket & chewy toy.
During our lifetime, we will meet an eclectic group of people. All of the people we meet, whether we realize it or not, serve a purpose. Some people will provide the words of wisdom or physical materials we need to get us to the next step. Others will stay a little longer; helping us stand tall, and provide constant reminders that we are going in the right direction. At times, it will seem like we will never be able to survive without their presence. Eventually though, only a few will consistently remain in our lives for our time on Earth.
How do we know when it’s time to say goodbye, or feel okay when someone says goodbye to us? I’m not sure what the correct answer is, but I do know Maggie had the right response when the decision was made- don’t look back.
There are many quotes about finding your destiny. I can quickly recall the quote about when a door is closed, God opens a window. I’d like to think sometimes finding your destiny involves a little door kicking.
Maggie was always sniffing. She especially liked to sniff around things that she couldn’t get into. For example, the basement door in our home was always closed. I would constantly find her sniffing the crack between the door and the floor- with tail wagging of course. Other times, she would be outside sniffing along the fence that enclosed our yard. If she found something of interest, she would continue to pester me until I investigated the area with her. She would not give up until her curiosity was answered.
Some people believe your destiny is written before you are born. I think life would be very mundane if that was true. No matter what you did in life, the end result would never be your decision. I believe we have many paths to choose from in life. Your results depend on how willing you are to take chances, follow your heart, trust your instincts, and, sometimes, be willing to kick in a few doors.
‘Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.’ William Jennings Bryan
In the movie, ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’, Clarence reminds George that ‘no man is a failure who has friends’. Is it possible to have a friend who isn’t good for you?
Maggie enjoyed visiting with the other dogs in the neighborhood. There was one dog that she loved to playfully fight with, and roll around on the lawn of this dog’s property. They would dig in the lawn together and tear at the toys. However, Maggie would never allow this dog into her yard, or play with her toys.
I was always told to choose my friends wisely, as they are a reflection of who you are or what you will become. What about that one friend who is always the daredevil -constantly pushing the boundaries, and difficult to eliminate from your life? What if your spouse provides more of a toxic relationship than a healthy one, but the good times are so much fun? Do we need to have every person we love also in our life?
Maybe Maggie knew it was okay to show her love to that rambunctious dog, as long as it was outside of her own little world; her back yard. Maybe setting boundaries for friends & loved ones shows our love is strong enough to keep them in our hearts, even if we can’t keep them in our lives.
Growing old can definitely guarantee two things: you will encounter the responsibility to make difficult decisions, and you will learn to trust your heart more when making those decisions.
Maggie, as a dog, didn’t have the responsibility of making many decisions. Her choices typically comprised of choosing a toy to squeak & chew, finding a cool spot in the house to take a nap, or deciding which squirrel to bark at in the tree. One thing, however, was very noticeable about her decision-making process. Once she made a choice, she was content.
Adults, when making decisions, like to have all the information regarding the pros & cons. We ask ourselves what may happen with a different choice, or how other people may respond- or think of us. As we grow older, life experiences help us to reflect on past choices & their outcomes. Often, we reach out to friends, family, or mentors for guidance and support.
When a difficult decision is made, it is our heart that gives us a feeling of relief & inner confidence that the best choice was made. Our heart reminds us of unconditional love, pure joy and feeling alive in the moment.
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. Antoine de Saint-Exupery