Thursday, July 23, 2009

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Rocky aka "Party Like Rockstar"

My dogs are gone.

The kids left the gate open. Sometime during the night, Rocky and Lucky jumped through the dog door and in their happy-go-lucky fashion, took advantage of the breech in security. By the time we caught on, they were hours and miles away.

Despite their tags, no-one has called. They are not at Animal Control. Our puppies are missing in action.

Earlier this year, one of the kids left the gate open with tragic consequences. Our border collie Boomerang was hit by a car. With his severe head trauma, we had little choice but to put him down: a wrenching proposition, to say the least. So it is not easy now when my dogs are missing for almost 24 hours. I am trying not to obsess.

I am remembering some really dark days in my life, when I struggled with pervading grief and loss. But one day, serendipitously and by the grace of God, I noticed that I laughed about something.

This observation was startling, life changing, and something that could have been so easily missed: I felt 95% despair and 5% joy. Wow. Five percent joy. Somehow, God willing, despite my pain, I had the presence of mind to focus on the five percent rather than the reverse.

A camping aficionado, I found myself visualizing that tiny percentage as a fledgling flame. As one would patiently start a campfire, I gently blew on the coals to coax the tiny flames to life. With intense focus, five percent joy gradually became seven, then nine, then twelve, twenty-five, fifty-one percent. A miracle! The fire took over and positive emotion pervaded once again.

I've never forgotten that lesson, and that's what I think about now when my beloved Rocky and Lucky are gone. Yes, I am the dog lover of the family. I am the mom and caregiver. The dogs seek me out for food, companionship and affection, while my boys are pretty oblivious. I love my dogs and I'm heart-broken, and I could beat the guys up for the mistake, and go into a downward spiral...but you know what? If I agonize about it, I only experience agony.

Yes, I'm sad and concerned. I hope for the best, though I realize the best may not transpire. And through it all, I choose instead to focus on the 2%, 20%, 35% good.

And I hope that there is someone out there who can identify with--and benefit from--my five percent analogy. We experience so many emotions simultanteously and when down, we tend to focus on the negative ones almost exclusively. But if you focus only on the negative, that is all you'll see and feel. If you take time to notice and experience the myriad of feelings, including the [sometimes admittedly minority] positive emotions interspersed in during difficult times, you may experience a deeper, richer, happier tapestry of life.
Maybe it's only 2%, or .5%, but hold on to that, don't give up, focus on it, believe in it, coddle it, grow it into something that trips the balance so that joy and purpose reign again.

1 comment:

Krista Ogburn Francis said...

Update: Rocky (the dog in the picture) has been found. Lucky--a PTSD pup who is extremely skittish after being dumped at the pound in a sack in the middle of the nite--is still missing.

Thanks to all the words of support on twitter.