Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Serenity, con't.

From Hope for Today, page 196:

"Serenity isn't freedom from the storms of life. It's the calm in the middle of the storm, that gets me through. It's up to me to try to keep this calm, even when the storm gets worse."

One of the more difficult aspects of life, for me, is the sad reality that not everyone is as honest as might be wished. There are those who will lie, cheat and steal, with no compunction. We all have to deal with these people now and again - it can be quite distressing.

This happened today, and I was feeling down about it. A few hours later, the phone rang, and it was an old program friend from the town in which we used to live. We had a wonderful talk, both of us utterly delighted to be in touch again. It was uplifting, to hear her sounding so well and happy, and to exchange news about us and of course, our respective dogs.

When we were living in that small town, my husband's and my two dogs had come to the end of their lives, and we'd had to put them to sleep one month apart, at the grand old ages of 14 and 15 years. Our male dog had to be put down first, his heart was failing terribly. A month later, our female dog stopped eating completely, and we knew it was time to give her the gift of a good death.

I'd run into my friend in the grocery store parking lot, shortly after having to euthanise our old female dog, and her kindness undid me - I found myself sobbing uncontrollably as we spoke. (I'm tearing up as I write this; remembering our dogs always has that effect upon me, I loved them with all my heart, as I love every dog I've ever been owned by.)

I knew as a fellow dog owner, she understood the pain I was in. She later brought me some small gifts, the two little stuffed dogs pictured at the top of this post, which still sit on my jewellery box. Each time I see them, I think of our beloved dogs, and all the pleasure we had with them. I also think of my friend, and smile, for the joy of knowing there are such kindly loving people in the world.

When, several months later, she was forced to put her own elderly dog to sleep, I was able to be there for her while she wept, in that communion possible among those who have "given their heart to a dog to tear." (from a poem by Rudyard Kipling, full text at the bottom of this post)

After I hung the phone up, today, I took a moment to stop, and say, "Thankyou, God!"

Hearing from my friend really felt like a little gift from my Higher Power, to help me maintain my serenity in the face of having to deal with one of those less pleasant aspects of life.
I felt so clearly, the message of "See? There may be some of those around, but there are far, far, more of these...

The Power of the Dog


Rudyard Kipling

There is sorrow enough in the natural way

From men and women to fill our day;

And when we are certain of sorrow in store,

Why do we always arrange for more?

Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware

Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy

Love unflinching that cannot lie--

Perfect passsion and worship fed

By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.

Nevertheless it is hardly fair

To risk your heart to a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits

Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,

And the vet's unspoken prescription runs

To lethal chambers or loaded guns,

Then you will find--it's your own affair--

But ... you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,

With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)

When the spirit that answered your every mood

Is gone--wherever it goes--for good,

You will discover how much you care,

And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,

When it comes to burying Christian clay.

Our loves are not given, but only lent,

At compound interest of cent per cent.

Though it is not always the case, I believe,

That the longer we've kept 'em, the more do we grieve:

For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,

A short-term loan is as bad as a long--

So why in--Heaven (before we are there)

Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?


  1. Beautiful message. Friends like that make life worthwhile. What a kind, simple, and loving gesture that made an imprint on your heart for life! This made me tear up.

  2. Cheryl, it makes me tear up to think about losing my dogs. All the animals here are so important and so kind. I'm glad that you had a friend there and that in turn you were there for her. Great message.