There is a toolbox in my heart. It’s filled with all sorts of things that help me navigate through my days and keep my life on the straight and narrow. When I begin to feel a bit off, anxious, or fearful, I can reach in and pull out something that will bring relief, slow me down, and get me back on track.
My tools include things like taking time to sit and meditate, choosing to take a hike, or a quick walk around the block. My weekly Yoga and Pilates sessions also figure in as tools as well as my cross-trainer that I can jump on anytime and work off a bit of anger or frustration. My weekly phone chats with dear friend, Sharon, who lives too far away to have tea with in person, brings me laughter and helpful listening when they’re most needed.
There are lots of books in my box as well, like those written by Buddhist Nun, Pema Chodron, that can straighten out my thinking when I’m in a quandary and need a bit of inspiration. Poets like Mary Oliver, Mark Nepo, and David Whyte are also on the shelf. A goodly number of memoirs are stacked inside. I love them because they help me to see how others navigate troubled waters. Some of my favorites includethose by Cheryl Strayed and Mary Karr.
But some of the best tools I’ve ever had were dogs and cats. A year and a half ago Molly left us to join my other deceased companions somewhere over the rainbow. She was the love of Sam’s and my life. She left a hole in our hearts that nothing could fill.
Over time, Sam and Bill seemed to become one with each other but I was feeling a bit left out. To try to even things out we adopted Terry, last summer. He didn’t last very long because he beat up on Sam, as well as on much of the furniture. Thankfully he is now with another family with two little boys to keep him busy and no other dogs to be jealous of. But Bill was heartbroken when we had to give him up and didn’t want to try another dog in fear that again, it too might not work out. We both get very attached in very little time. He told me he might be open to trying again after the holidays. I agreed, while that hole in my heart just stayed put.
In the meantime, I followed Animal Connections on Facebook. They are the folks who had rescued Molly from a terrible living situation. Over the last six months I’ve watched one sweet, little dog after another go off to their forever homes. One little guy in particular caught my attention. He and his brother were given up by their family, who for one reason or another could no longer care for them. I knew that I couldn’t take in two dogs and figured I’d never get to meet the one that looked a bit like Molly.
I followed Brody and his brother, Morgan, as they were sent off to a foster home, getting in a car accident on the way. Though Brody wasn’t hurt, he was scared and ran off into the woods and couldn’t be found. Crazy me didn’t sleep well that night, worrying about a little dog I’d never met. After he was found the next morning, I was relieved and ecstatic that he was back with his brother.
The holidays came and went and when I asked Bill if he was ready to try another dog out, he said no. Sam seemed to be happy on his own and was more Bill’s companion than mine. They were both happy and out of respect for them, I gave up expecting that I’d fill that empty corner in my heart.
Then just a week ago, I got a message a friend who works with Animal Connections. It seems Brody and his brother had to be separated because suddenly Morgan was beating up on his smaller sibling. She said that Brody might be a great fit for our family and asked if she could bring him over to meet us. I hesitated before showing the email to Bill, but ended up pleading my case and he gave in.
Brody has been with us now for a week. I adore him and the hole in my heart is overflowing with love and a little fellow who jumps up on the bed in the morning when the alarm goes off, and kisses me awake. Sam at nine years and possibly feeling a bit arthritic is not as playful as he once was, but seems to enjoy having Brody for company. And of course, Bill is as much in love with this little guy as I am.
How about you? What’s in your toolbox?