I won’t promise to make this my last post about Buddy Too (B2) our new puppy because he’s just so darn cute. I’m sure he’ll inspire lots of ideas for me but I don’t picture another “Marley and Me” type story coming from his life with us. It’s only been a week though so who knows!
B2 is timid little guy and he sticks very close to his “Mama” as my son Chase likes to refer to me. I would tell you this is just because he know who feeds him. My own Mother, however, would tell you it’s because he’s found a spot on my bed where he feels safe and warm so he’s just working me. One little whimper and flash of the sad eyes and he’s got me under his paw and he knows it. The little guy follows me around just waiting for me to stop long enough to scoop him up and shower him with attention except when we are outside.
Out in the big world of his backyard he’s a sight to behold. For such a shy little guy you might think he’d be intimidated outside but he’s not. He comes alive. On his first night in our home last week I was determined that he would go outside before everyone got tucked into bed. He’s paper trained but he has to be house trained and so determined Mama that I am out we go. I didn’t expect it to go well but I had to try.
It was a beautiful Colorado night. The air was perfectly still with a mix of clouds and clear sky. Snow was falling and the quiet was piercing. I took a deep breath in and exhaled with a genuine reverence for the beauty of God’s creation. I wondered in that moment who it really was that needed to go outside me or Buddy?
I set my little bundle down and wondered what he would do. For a few minutes he just sat in a puppy lump on his tail with his paws spilled in front of him and then something, I don’t know what, caught his attention. Before I could figure out what it was he was off frolicking on the grass. He’s so small and light that he doesn’t even seem to touch the grass or the snow he just grazes it. He treads so lightly that you wonder if he’s actually making contact with the surface below. What gives him traction to move I don’t know but he moves and it’s incredibly fun to watch?
Buddy, however, is not one to let you just watch him he wants you in on things and so before you know it I’m playing chase with a puppy on a snowy night in my high heeled boots and cashmere coat not worried at all about ruining either. We played for 20 minutes which is a long time for an 8 week old puppy and a 40 something at the end of the day but it was worth every minute.
Later that night, bundled up in bed I pondered why it is that Buddy can tread so lightly and my steps fall so hard on the ground? It’s not just a matter of size. He has an advantage there, of course, but being light on your feet isn’t always a matter of size. Muhammad Ali could float like a butterfly.
I think for Buddy and Ali it’s has something to do with resiliency. Buddy is just a dog, of course, so he doesn’t really ponder all that much but one thing he’s figured out is that when he’s playing if he falls down he can just get right back up again. No big deal. It might take a little doing for his uncoordinated puppy body but that makes it all the more fun. Ali being a boxer knew how to take a punch and keep fighting. When pushed to the ropes you fight your way out that’s what boxing is about. Pretty simple stuff really but why is it so hard for some of us.
I read recently that the elderly, who are typically thoughts of as fragile, are far more resilient than their juniors because they have figured out that they can weather emotional upheaval and still survive. Resiliency is after all the product of surviving difficult emotionally demanding situations. A resilient person internalizes the knowledge that they can and will prevail. Stress only comes into play when a person doubts their ability to overcome.
It’s doubt that makes a person’s steps heavy. When we feel confident and capable we are light on our feet but when we question every move we make we hit the ground hard with our uncertainty.
Unfortunately life can regularly challenge any confident spirit we might have prompting us to question our internal and external resources.
On my part I forget that, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”! I lose sight of every resilient quality God has instilled in me. I forget that God has given me a mind capable of solving problems, gifts and abilities, a sense of humor to laugh at myself, family and friends that love me and that with His help I can adapt and change with the circumstances around me. I can get knocked down and get back up again and keep going.
This sounds so cliché like a pep talk and I hate pep talks which is funny because I give them all the time. I hate them because often they minimize a person’s internal turmoil and they tend to ignore the idea that we are opposed in this lifetime. You can call that opposition whatever you like. Call it the enemy, Satan, adversity, negative energy or just simply resistance. By whatever name we all know it’s invisible and it’s insidious. It’s a destructive force that rises up whenever we are trying to do for ourselves or others something that might be good. It will take shape in almost any form possible and weigh you down and this is when your steps become so heavy. You can’t float like a butterfly and everything feels like a bee sting because you’ve given in to resistance lost sight of the resilient person God created you to be.
What then is the antidote? For everyone I suppose it’s different. For me it’s a matter of acknowledging that my heart and therefore my steps are heavy and that I need my perspective changed. I need the voice of God to be louder in my mind than the voice of resistance so that I believe I will bounce back even if I make a mistake. When my internal dialogue is saying I can’t bounce back I probably won’t. When the voice inside of me is shouting that I can – I become more resilient. I can tread through life with more spring in my step knowing that even if I make a wrong move and fall God will help me get right back up so that I can keep chasing after His will for my life. He loves me that much and He created me for that much. I might ruin a coat or even a pair of boots in the process but I won’t ruin my life.