I’m seven days into this exercise and already I feel it’s impact. It’s not that I’m all “OM” or anything. I still get pissed-off. But I feel more aware of what’s happening in my life. I am continually on the lookout for what I can write about gratefulness. It makes me realize how often I walk through the day like a zombie, a really annoyed zombie. I’m becoming better at putting things in perspective. My life isn’t all about the bad stuff. That’s just the stuff with the biggest mouth. I’m learning to turn a deaf ear to that and listen for the sometimes small voice of happiness.
So today I’m grateful for the dogs in my life. Yes, I know, we all love our dogs or cats or fish or whatever. But I really thought about it today and I realize that I associate dogs with feeling safe. When I was little, we lived in Hoboken. My grandmother (who I always called Ma) had a friend named Bessie who lived in a railroad apartment. For you country mice, a railroad apartment has all the rooms in a row like rail cars. Bessie had a collie named Laddie. Now I grew up with the myth of Lassie. I watched that show faithfully for as long as I could remember. I would wait for the closing credits just to see Lassie lift her paw. I felt she was reaching out to me. Ma watched me all day while my parents worked. She took me everywhere with her so when she went to visit Bessie, I went too. Ma and Bessie would sit in the kitchen (which was the back room in the flat) and I would go into the parlor (the front room) where I would find Laddie asleep under the front window in a warm pool of sunlight. In my four year old mind, Laddie and Lassie were the same. I would curl up with my head on Laddie’s chest and go to sleep. I knew nothing could harm me while Laddie/Lassie was there. Many times in my life, when I was frightened or anxious, I would conjure up that image of the little girl and the collie asleep in the light surrounded by darkness and it would give me comfort.
I’ve had a number of dogs in my life and none of them have been Lassie. But they all give me something different and they all give me comfort. And for that I’m grateful.