If asked at the end of your life on earth, from whom did you learn the most, how would you answer? Parents? Friends? Teachers? Jesus? Could you narrow it down to one? I couldn’t. I learn from every person I meet. If I could choose two, my answer would be my children and my dogs, for different reasons, of course.
From my children I have learned to persevere, to dream, dream big, then work toward making the dream a reality. I have learned not to let fear get in the way of doing something, to balance work with play in equal parts, to let my inner child come out, and not worry what others think. My children taught me to embrace who we are created to be and to proudly live that truth. They have taught me to forgive, to work through issues that prevent us from living our best lives, to leave the past in the past, to emerge from the ashes and find my voice again.
From my dogs I have learned to live every moment to the fullest because it is only this moment we are guaranteed. Kaiah teaches me to wake every day ready for new adventures, to greet the morning with a smile, to run out into the rain and not worry about getting wet. Tasia teaches me the importance of stopping to smell the roses and watching the geese glide effortlessly across the pond or gracefully take flight whenever we are out for a walk. Tasia and Kaiah, though half-sisters, are opposite in their approaches to life, yet their approaches are equally valuable. Tasia prefers quiet reflection, to be an observer of life, to take life in stride and not sweat the small stuff as it is all small stuff in the end. Her words, otherwise known as barks, are few but when she does speak, there is a purpose and meaning. It is to these I strongly gravitate. Kaiah, rushes in where angels fear to tread, boldly announcing her arrival, and it is to this I aspire. Chardonnay perseveres through each day despite seizures and bearing the loss of three beloved companions. She is constantly by my side offering compassion, love, patience, and strength. These are qualities I hope others see and experience when in my company or asking advice.
What about Harley, Sammy, and Rowie, our three beloved fur children who crossed over the Rainbow Bridge and are waiting patiently on the other side of eternity? Each, in their own way, were teachers. Each was joy and light in our world. Harley lived life to the fullest in her no nonsense way, kicking her back legs out behind her when she was finished with something or seeking attention. We affectionately called the little action that defined her ‘the bull’. She was unique and reminded me to embrace the unique being I am. Sammy, abused in his life before us, loved with the whole of his being, grateful for every moment with us, yet spent much of his life in fear, burdened by a past he could not let go. His gift to me was to understand that we cannot let fear define who we are regardless of our past, to keep love and hope in the forefront, to appreciate those who helped pick up the pieces of a shattered life. And Rowie, the smallest and oldest of our dogs, was set in his ways, a bit prickly around the edges, yet loved by all. He didn’t let the fact bother him that two dogs, hundreds of pounds heavier than he, were on the other side of the fence. Rowdie let them know when he rushed the fence with the ferocity of a mosquito that he was boss; a confidence I hope to fully embrace one day. And now, on the other side of eternity, our three beloved fur babies remind me of the brevity of life on earth. Life is a moment, a spark within the vastness of eternity.
Our lives are full of teachers, both good and bad. At the end of your life on earth, from whom did you learn the most……?