Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving couldn't have come at a better time.  At no other point in my life can I remember really needing to be thankful for things.  I hit a slump, reached an all-time low, sank so far down a break in the clouds was not visible.  In trying to do a good thing, I set off a catastrophic chain of events that I'm not sure I can forgive myself for.  Well, that's being a bit dramatic.  I could kick myself, if I still maintained enough flexibility of youth, but since I perpetuate my own antics, forgiveness is a given.  Plus I'm a Catholic--we're always looking to forgive someone.

It all started with Facebook, which I am beginning to believe is evil incarnate.  Yeah, I know, too much drama.  Well, I have a flair, don't you think?  I saw this dog, this puppy, with the saddest sweetest face, who was going to be PTS if someone didn't step up and rescue her. (the kind way of saying murdered--put to sleep.  Killed, put to death, animal lover had to have thought of "put to sleep".  Where's Buddy, Mom?  Well, he's sleeping, dear.  Good Mom, not crushing her kid with the weight of truth and death, right?  But she left off a crucial word--FOREVER.  Hand him a copy of Rainbow Bridge next time, Mom, or better yet, read it to him.  He'll learn more, and appreciate life and love more that way.  And "euthanasia" just candy coats murder.  And isn't "humanely euthanize" an oxymoron?  I can understand ending an animal's suffering, but humanely euthanizing is not a good phrase for it, if you ask me.)  Okay, off on a tangent, like you didn't see THAT coming!

Her name was Maggie, she was "under a year" and was said to be shy.  In all actuality, her name was Maggie, she is farther under a year than it seemed, and she must have reserved her shyness for the rescue.  Anyway, although I never thought he'd agree to it, the man I married allowed the rescue to take place.  We drove to Chesterfield, SC, and picked up an emaciated, flea-infested happy puppy.  Thankfully the vets at Banfield/Petsmart agreed to see us with no appointment since Maggie couldn't have a bath for another week due to recently being spayed.  She got a great pill called Comfortis which eradicated the fleas in a half hour, and after a night of confinement in our garage, finally made her way upstairs to meet the pack.  I should have had some clear sense of foreboding when the transition went without a hitch.  I've seen enough horror movies to know that just when you think everything is fine, you turn around and get your head chopped off.  In my defense, it's been eight years since I've had a puppy, and Dakota, Thor, and Jack require very little supervision.  

To make a long story a little shorter, Maggie has been a member of the family for almost three weeks now, and has ruined a sweater, numerous socks, a pair of underwear, chewed my slippers (they're fuzzy and must look like a toy), shredded six toys in one sitting, and, the piece de resistance, managed to pull a $1700 BTE hearing aid out of my ear and chew it to ruin.  Worst weekend of my life so far.  I had barely had them a month.  I cried two days straight, barely ate anything, and was completely open to abandoning all hope.  With Dakota just being diagnosed with Atypical Cushings and her vet bills skyrocketing, I cannot afford another ear.  Feeling hung out to dry, chewed up and spit out, and utterly alone, I did what any strong person would do--I crumbled into a blubbering mass of despair and hopelessness.  Maggie annoys the living sin out of Thor, chews anything she can get ahold of, pees and poops at will in the house--even by the sliding door--and doesn't seem to be too shy.  In fact, she's rather hyper.  I decided right then I didn't like her, and any recovery from that seemed impossible.

She must've known.  She was sweet, dainty, lovable, and did so good letting me know she had to go out.  I couldn't help but decide I loved her.  I picked her for a reason, things happen for a reason, so I just had to learn my lesson from this and keep plodding along.  What else could I do?  Returning her could be a death sentence, because anyone with less inner strength than me would not keep her. So long haul, here I come!

Things have a way of working out.  You just have to be patient.  Have faith.  Learn from your experiences, take that knowledge and grow.  See the silver lining in that gray cloud.  Know that God never gives you more than He knows you can handle (although I can honestly say I can totally relate to Job and how he must've felt.  It's very defeating.  You feel forsaken.  Makes you wonder if God's been placing bets with Satan again, only instead of Job it's your faith on the line.)  My hearing aid should be covered with a $200 deductible.  If it's not I'll just find a way to get another one.  You deal because really, what's the alternative?  Curl up in the fetal position and die?  Although I considered it--briefly--it's not an option.  

So I am thankful on this day, for so many things.  My family, my friends, my animals, myself, life, love, laughter and happiness, I'm as thankful for the bad times as I am the good, because you can't have one without the other, and besides, you merely enjoy the good times, but you learn from the bad times.  I've learned more about myself and the person I am in the last three weeks than I have in a long time.  So even though my car is in desperate need of a tune up, I had to battle Aflac to cancel my poor excuse of supplemental insurance, I have to buy a new hearing aid and oh, did I mention I had to get a new keyboard for my computer as well, even though I seem to have more debt than money, it really is only money, after all.  It's not what really matters.  I can do without a lot, but if I can no longer laugh, love and have fun, then I've truly lost it all.  

I am not perfect, but I'm here.  I am alive, my 44 year old body is still running (the only thing I've owned for that long that still works!) I have a job, a home, a car, coffee in the morning, and even though Dakota's medicine is expensive, she's still alive.  I have so much good in my life, I just need to open my eyes and see it.  Thank You God, for all the blessings You have bestowed on me.  Because even in a cloud of bad, there's still good shining from within, and as long as you can see that, you've got reason to be thankful.