Bridging the Divided

Life Lessons From Animals…..

Frequently, I write about our creative and fun-loving Yorkie, Kaiah. At the end of the day, Kaiah is just being Kaiah, perfect in our eyes. All of our Yorkies are perfect in our eyes, and the one thing they all have in common is they are themselves, no more, no less. 

Reality check – am I being me, or am I someone else in the presence of others? We hide who we are from others but for what purpose? What is it we fear? Not being accepted, being ridiculed, swimming upstream in a downstream world? As we age, the need to be a part of the ‘in-crowd’ diminishes; at least that has been my experience. What have I got to lose? Like me or don’t, it matters little to me. Know why? Because I am happy with who I am. I don’t need the approval of others.  And isn’t that what we tend to do? Expend energy trying to gain the approval of everyone, even those who will never approve? I have the approval of those who matter.

As a lifelong student, my best teachers have been animals. Each one, without even trying, taught valuable lessons, lessons about love, forgiveness, about perseverance. There is a dog in our neighborhood missing a hind leg. Often when Tasia and I are out for a walk, he and his human are out jogging along the walking path. Jogging, not walking. I am always a bit awed. He looks happy, he smiles in the way dogs smile, easily keeping up with his beloved human. I confess I don’t know the back story. Perhaps his human did whatever he could to nurture this magnificent animal back to health after a life-altering event or illness, and the dog healed because he drew strength to heal from his beloved human? Perhaps his human found him cowering in the back of a pen at the Humane Society, the dog wondering why he was surrendered for not being whole and perfect? Either way, and no matter the story’s narrative, the three-legged dog and his human paint a picture of tenacity, loyalty, and triumph over tragedy. 

I was both at one point in my life; the one who drew strength from others after a life-altering event, and the one who cowered. At 26 years old I was in a serious car accident and not expected to walk again, experience childbirth, or return to nursing school. With the help and support of those who loved me and with a lot of tenacity, I can walk, experienced childbirth, and became a nurse. On the flip side, I was also married to a man who told my mother I was less than perfect because my face was scarred from going through the windshield. He actually told my mother no one but him would ever love me again. Sad statement from a sad, pathetic human being. Couple that statement with many years of spirit-crushing physical and psychological abuse. My kids and I finally broke free. Until I found my voice again, I cowered.  

Animals teach without words. Animals teach simply by being who they are and living their lives in front of us. Actions speak louder than words. Witnessing love, forgiveness, and perseverance in action, we learn when we pay attention to the gentle creatures God lovingly provides…..

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