Friday, September 25, 2009

It's a Dog's Life

His name is Sam. We rescued him from the shelter about 2 1/2 years ago. He is a scruffy little mutt, with wild uneven fur, kind of like my wild uneven hair. He was a skinny, sore-covered bag of bones when we got him. But he has always been so happy and grateful to see us, even from the first moment we looked at him through the cage door. The vet calls him a terriorist, and said we might never be able to train him to like other dogs. He is sure he is the biggest, toughest dog anywhere and he has tried to go after huge police dogs. But he loves people (except for this kid who was mean to my son and he also would not leave Sam alone and Sam bit him and I must admit I don't feel too terrible about that) and I can never quite get over how good it feels to see him so excited every single time I come in the door, even if I only left 5 minutes ago. He has fleshed out to 14 lbs. and his sores are gone. His back legs are like coiled springs and he can jump straight up to lick my nose. He has short hair except for a ridge of long course hair that runs from his forehead to his haunches, and he lets me spike it into a body length mohawk. His eyes are rimmed in black, like Captain Jack Sparrow, and the thought that anyone could hurt or neglect him is hard to imagine.
He has been my constant little guardian since I came home from the hospital. He has learned how to slide himself along my side and rest between me and the cushion whenever I lie down on the couch. He stretches his chin up and looks with concern when I dealing with pain. He leaps around like an acrobat to encourage me every time I get up. I have decided that he must be showing infinite patience, waiting until I am strong enough to again take him on our daily 3 mile walk, even though I don't think patience is his thing. Mike brought Sam in the car when he came to pick me up at an appointment, Sam was trying to paw his way through the window, he was so excited to see me. I have decided that there is some kind of magic healing power in having him around. Sam is a real artist at it.
No, it is not close to the same kind of love and connection I have for my children and human loved ones, but I do find myself wondering how we got along without him. I don't consider myself a "dog" person, but I have begun to think there must be a place in heaven for at least some of these mutts. Sam would be great as a greeter.

Monday, September 21, 2009

That's Karma with a capital K

I have been thinking about energy lately. Mostly because I don't have much. I don't know if all of my energy is concentrating on healing from a large incision and inner abdominal weed-wacking action, but I have not been able to do much more than walk very short distances, and concentrate on sitting still in the least painful position. This gives me opportunity to think about things such as how little patience I have with this, and about energy.
Even though I don't have much energy, I seem to be surrounded by it. Mike is there to help me walk, bring me caloric sustenance, drive me places. Friends have appeared almost like magic when I have needed help, company, food, prayers, or chocolate. My sisters, daughters, Mom and other loved ones have called or emailed just at the right time. What is the energy that reaches out and nudges us at times?
I am a child of the 60's, and I have heard about karma since I was a child. I liked the idea of there being a type of cosmic energy that flows everywhere, and I can pull more towards me by doing things that create life and love, or I will repel it when I am destructive. It went right along with my very early awareness of God, and the divine connection we all have. I used to think that connection was not physical, but an intangible spiritual one. I have come to see that everything spiritual is also very physical. Something physical happens when we reach out and help each other, when we suddenly think of someone and call them, when we pray or meditate or express thoughts of love and healing for someone, even if we don't know them. Molecules line up, energy flows, healing occurs. The strongest power on Earth. There is no way to explain it. Modern science has not found a way to explain what some people have known for thousands of years. But that is not what modern science is for.
I like the idea of unseen energy particles being influenced by our thoughts and actions. It would be nice to think that the influence can only flow in a positive direction, and I cringe to think of all the times I sent out toxic waste karma particles, creating superfund clean-up sites for myself and others. But I love the power of karma, positive vibes, forgiveness, atonement. When all of my body's energy seems to be needed for physical healing, I am so grateful for molecules that flow over and around me because of others. I promise to let it work magic so I can soon focus my energy outward.
So bring it on - Jennifer with the karma from India, Katherine with the fatted calf in California, Charlotte with the 1000 person service day, Mom with the happy life, spirit siblings with the prayers, books, flowers and yummy food, and most of all, Mike with the healing hands and kisses. Really, I can take it.

Friday, September 11, 2009

In the Name of Who?

People have been doing and saying things in the name of God since the moment people had a name for God. The well known acts in the name of God tend to be destructive and violent - wars, genocide, abuse, etc. The lesser known but I believe more numerous are acts of love, service and mercy.
Today - 9/11 has become a day we remember one of the more public acts of our time. Even though it began with unthinkable violence, it ended with tremendous acts of sacrifice, courage and mercy. Which acts were really done in the name of God?
I know people who are Muslim, who are good and kind and follow the same kind of creed I try to follow as a Christian. I have heard them say that no true Muslim could have flown those planes into the buildings. I agree, just as I think no true Christian could have followed Hitler, or killed civil rights workers, or tortured prisoners. How many gods do we think will justify us?
There were so many who died on this day 8 years ago, most of them not knowing they would. I do believe they were all greeted by the same God. I believe that God loves all of them, and wept for those whose hatred motivated such violence. I can't imagine the mercy that was extended to all that day. I don't want to try, because that would set limits on it. I don't want there to be a limit on God's mercy, because I need it. How can I hope for it, yet think it should not extend to others?
It is a day of difficult thoughts and questions. I am glad it is now a national day of service. No matter what we claim to do in God's name, the only things that bring us closer to God are acts of love, service, atonement.
My friend had a baby today. Some might see this as a tough birthday to have. But more and more it is a day to remember the countless acts of love on that day. We might not always see it in the headlines, but this is a good world to bring new life into. So many opportunities to learn love, mercy, forgiveness. To learn to be like God. Happy Birthday Little One.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Really, I'm fine (F.reaked out, I.nsecure, N.eurotic, E.motional)

I had surgery 4 days ago. I am writing this under the influence of percocet, so please keep that in mind.
For the last 4 days the first thing most people ask me is "How are you?" At what point in my life did I develop the automatic response "I'm fine"? It is a good thing many nurses are trained to read body language . They usually asked, "On a scale of 1 to 10, what level is your pain right now?' That was a question that did not involve my past but let me communicate in the here and now. "10! Drugs! Now!"
While it was nice to have people constantly checking on my pain level and making sure my body was capable of returning to full functionality, a hospital is not a place for resting. Even if I hadn't been surrounded by strange sounds, or people constantly checking vital signs or vampires taking blood, hospital beds must be the most uncomfortable in the world. It was great motivation to get up and walk around as soon and as often as I possibly could. It was the most I could do to create healing - get up and get moving.
Now I am home, resting comfortably, sleeping a lot, eating wonderful food brought by wonderful people, being cared for by wonderful Mike. Sometimes I am fine - as in Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic, Emotional. But more and more, I am fine, really. I think all of us are, especially when we remember we are never really on our own. There are those who are willing to share the pain, make sure we can function, feed us when we can't feed ourselves, and love us no matter how we look or feel.