We humans seem to jump from Want to Want. If it weren’t so, Advertising would be abandoned as a profession. Maybe we’d be better off without advertising anyway.
Thoreau’s quote came to me the other day while I was contemplating the bombshell that a dear friend and family member is standing face-to-face with his own death. Very shortly. Not that this individual is materialistic or desperate about what he doesn’t have, or lived his life that way. As a matter of fact, his hope for the future is what makes him so strong. Putting Dignity into the face of cancer, and rubbing it in, is a beautiful and courageous thing. My prayers are with you and your family Jay…In the endgame, you WILL win and the enemy will be defeated.
This protracted lead-in concerns my own thoughts on living, and what’s really important. My “Wants”, as opposed to what really makes “Living” a worthwhile endeavor. And once again, my dogs have helped me understand this dichotomy with their simple, yet utterly profound example. As I watch them in the yard, on the exercise field, on the job, or sprawled at my feet, I feel their satisfaction, knowing that they have what they need for the day. Not because their Dad is wealthy financially, but because the dogs needs are as simple and basic as they can possibly be. Dogs KNOW,whether by intelligence, or God-Given grace, that each and everyday of life is a precious gift not to be squandered by wanting the unnecessary.
In stark, Stygian, contrast, we work long and often frustrating hours at jobs we loathe, so that we can procure the latest electronic device, mechanical thrill-ride, or other feckless object, in the vain hope for a few hours of “happy”. Dogs don’t have to calculate how many years of drudgery will produce a single weekend of fun. My feeling is that, if we, as the supposed Top-Tier species on this green and blue ball, were to accurately do this math, we’d all quit living this way and find a better way quick, fast, and in a hurry. Dogs, even without the mathematic wingman, have already figured this out. Life should be “Lived”. Whoever came up with the muddy-minded axiom that “He who dies with the most toys, wins.”, was a complete fool.
Dogs, on the other paw, live every moment seeking only joy, contentment, enough to eat, and affection. These things honor their Creator in a most profound way. Being what they are supposed to be by His design. Most dogs would be over- the-wall happy with a Bowl, a Ball, and a Boy to share his time on this Earth with. And even those things are negotiable. Dogs are happy to eat off the floor, play with a cast-off stick, and Girls are just fine. They have an enthusiasm for life, and a set of priorities that make us humans look like the worlds most ungrateful denizens.
In the midst of watching my dogs work, play, and rest, I am reminded that any existing feelings of despair, hopelessness, sadness, anxiety, or stress that I may have, are quickly swallowed up by their simple presence. They are not overcome by these faulty constructs of daily living. In fact, they actually summon the dog to service, providing comfort and joy to those of us they serve so willingly.
So then, I will once again look to the dog for counsel. Stop living for the acquisition of things. Live with enthusiasm for things that bring joy. Honor God by living as he intended me to live.
Why is it so easy for dogs to figure this stuff out, while we spend time trying to find it? I’m putting aside desperation for something better.