Why I Don’t Like Dogs–& It’s Not Why You Might Think

16 05 2011

OK, I’m ducking here as all the dog lovers of the world throw rotten fruit and veggies at me. But bear with me. I began my life as a dog-lover. There are pictures of me as an infant cuddled up with our cocker spaniel, Ginger. When I was in grade school, I was a dog magnet. Every stray in the world followed me home. It might have helped that I usually held out a bit of bologna from the sandwiches I hated at lunchtime. But invariably day after day, I’d have dogs literally eating out of my hand.

I petted mangy, flea-infested beasts with the same affection I showed my baby brother (Yes, I adored him. Can’t say the same for my sister, however, although we did become friends after we grew up.) I sneaked food out to them if I could manage to keep them hidden. But my mother was the dog police. You’d think having had a dog, she’d be sympathetic to my obsession. But we’d given our dog away when we moved out of the country. By the time we returned to the U.S., she’d turned anti-dog. So I knew better than to bring them into the house. I hid them behind the shed which had a shaded overhang.

Then I made surreptitious trips to the refrigerator, and all the loose dogs in the neighborhood feasted on pot roast and chicken. Some even broke free of their chains to visit me. I’d fed a stray and get attached. I’d lay beside them with my arms around them as they slept. I groomed them with hairbrushes I sneaked from the house. I borrowed china bowls from the holiday dishes (figuring they’d be missed least) for water. I took good care of the dogs. And they’d repay me by licking my face, greeting me when I returned home from school, howling at night when I went in to bed. Some even followed me to school and lay panting in the schoolyard until I emerged at the end of the day.

But here’s the sad part. They always broke my heart. After a few days (or sometimes weeks if I was lucky), the dog disappeared. I’d come home from school, and my best friend would have taken off for parts unknown. I sobbed into my pillow at night and moped around the house. I thought they didn’t love me any more. I had no idea what I’d done wrong. Why I couldn’t manage to keep a pet. It was years before I discovered the truth.

Every dog I’d brought home ended up at the pound. Then the same neighbor girl who gave me that information also explained that the pound killed the dogs and chopped them up for hamburger meat.* I was devastated. I thought I’d been helping strays. Instead I’d been turning them into meat. I refused to eat hamburgers after that. And it was months before I spoke to my mother after I discovered she was the one who’d dragged of all my pets to the pound.

So now I can’t be around a dog without feeling sad. I don’t want to pet one or let it worm its furry way into my heart. After all, you never know when a dogcatcher might be just around the corner.

* It was many years before I discovered this neighbor girl had a penchant for exaggeration.

Are You Feeling Depressed?

28 03 2011

sailboatI love Eureka! moments. And I had one today. I’ve been sailing along, thinking of how great things have been going.

I’ve tackled lots of projects weighing on my mind by setting aside a Procras- tination Day once a week. I’ve felt lighter and airier without all that guilt holding me back.

I completed a huge assign- ment of 133 articles a week before they were due. (Anyone who knows what a procrastinator I am will realize this was a major victory.) And I completed the art for two book projects within the past two months.

I’m excited about the way my business is going, and I just returned from a terrific conference with Donald Maass that energized me. So why was I feeling so down?

Sure, the weather’s a bit rainy, so it’s dark and depressing outside, but what does that have to do with my internal landscape? Wallowing isn’t usually my nature, but I couldn’t shake this depression that gripped me. I do find, though, when I ask a question out loud, I always get an answer. (And that includes those “Why me,Lord?” ones I sometimes utter.) I don’t necessarily like the response, but it’s always apropos.

Today I asked, “Why am I depressed?”, and got my reply a few minutes later. My Google Alerts, which often drags in many unrelated items, did so again this morning. But I couldn’t resist taking a peek at The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. I’m so glad I did, because I ran across the following sentence:The Big Leap book cover

“I manufactured the stream of painful images because I was feeling good! Some part of me was afraid of enjoying positive energy for any extended period of time.” ~p. 5-6

Talk about a Eureka! moment. I decided to let myself enjoy my successes and positive moments. Not sure if it was coincidence or the power of positive thinking, but the minute I did, the rain cleared up and the day became sunny.sun

Hope in the Face of Darkness

3 05 2010

Has life slapped you in the face? Are you struggling to survive an emotional or financial hit? Are you facing major roadblocks on your life journey?

If everything looks bleak and you aren’t sure you’ll ever recover, here’s a message of hope  from the wonderful inspirational speaker Corrie ten Boom, who survived living in a concentration camp and watching her sister die. The tragedies of my life pale when compared to hers, but as I’m going through them, my own trials loom large. If I let them, they can overwhelm me and block out everything but the pain. This wise lady helped me look at the larger picture.

She compared life to a tapestry. We see the underside with its tangle of threads and knots, and have no idea why so many threads are dangling or why our lives have so many dark patches, but God, the master weaver, looking down from above sees the beautiful picture that is our lives. Each thread–dark or light–has its perfect place in the finished work of art.

So when dark times come, I try to remember that God sees what I cannot, and I know on the other side lies a work of great beauty.

Life Is But a Weaving
by Corrie ten Boom

My life is but a weaving between my God and me,
I do not choose the colors; He works so steadily.
Oft times He weaves in sorrow, and I in foolish pride,
Forget He sees the upper, and me the underside.
Not till the loom is silent, and the shuttles cease to fly,
Will God unroll the canvas, and explain the reason why.
The dark threads are as needful in the weavers skillful hand
As the threads of gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.