Wednesday, November 9, 2011

All We Need Is Love

I've been trying to sort out what Cash's little puppy soul was here for, because maybe if I can do that, him being gone will seem less horribly cruel and unnecessary. He was a special needs dog, and he required an extra measure of grace for some of the things that went along with that. I have thousands in credit card debt from vet and specialist visits, surgery, etc. He would eat anything, and every single day was a struggle to keep an entire household's objects out of the mouth of a 70lb dog who would do things like lick the clean knives in the dishwasher. He was like a wild toddler. All that was completely eclipsed because of his love and joy. No matter what he did and how gross the consequences were, you didn't care because the level of love he gave you washed it all away.

I don't know why we only got three years with him. What I've realized in the midst of some pretty serious grieving (of which I didn't know I was capable), is that Cash was an agent for slow and profound change in our lives. He - not counseling or friends - broke down thick walls of cynicism in me and slowly grew my capacity to express love and delight with fewer and fewer restrictions or reservations. I feel like a hippie for saying it, but love really can transform anything and anyone in a profound way. We're all absolutely starved for it. You should have seen the outpouring of photos and letters I've gotten from friends, saying how much they loved Cash and how much they love us. Grandparents dying hasn't gotten anything more than a few, "Aw, I'm sorry... Are you ok?" responses. My dog, my funny little muppet faced labradoodle man, he touched more lives in a meaningful way in his few years than a lot of people do in decades.

Why? Because even an afternoon having the attention of a being of pure love lavished on you changes things. There are things in life I can't change, like genetics or brain chemistry, that have been painful struggles that are probably going to be with me for life. I can take the transformation Cash made in me and feed it, grow it, and share it with every being I interact with. It's an endless resource that makes my life better and other people's lives better and doesn't really require any effort to put out there. His love wiped away all the challenging things about him, and I'd take it all back on and more to have him back. And when I think that the people around me would be better off not having to deal with me and my challenging things, I'm going to think about the raw, gaping hole Cash left in my life and how I feel about him. The love and acceptance I get is a wild and precious gift that I need to honor instead of doubt. I want to return it magnified many times over. I want to live from a place of knowing I am loved and accepted instead of hoping that I am. I will work to further love and caring in the world.

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