Thursday, June 14, 2007

My Friend and Inspiration

My father and I planned to bury Bama this weekend. We wanted to give the vets time to decide if there was anything else they could learn from her through further testing. My brother was going to help us bury her with the other dogs that have graced our lives, to become part of the land that had been their home. However, today I realized that I needed to honor Bama in a different way. Bama showed me in those last 30 days that what she wanted most in life was simply to be with me. I've decided to have her cremated so that no matter where I might live, Bama will be there with me. I've ordered a wooden photo box. The inscription on the little brass plate will read
My Friend and Inspiration

It's interesting that I was looking at the channel guide and saw that Wayne Dyer was speaking on PBS tonight about inspiration. I've seen it on the guide a couple of times over the last year, but when I tried to watch it, the station did not actually carry the program. I've been thinking quite a bit about how Bama has inspired me. I've already blogged about how she has inspired me to keep working instead of going on disability. But she has also inspired me in another way. I've dealt with chronic pain by trying to simply block it out and keep functioning as much as possible. The problem is that when you ignore physical pain, there's also a tendency to ignore everything else about yourself. Even if you don't deal with pain, you probably know what I'm talking about. Ned Hallowell has written a book called Crazy Busy. I don't know how many of you remember how families used to sit on their front porches in the evening, telling stories and watching life go by--simply enjoying being instead of doing. If you are not old enough to remember, you have probably seen the Andy Griffith reruns that feature frequent "settin' a spell." Society demands have changed considerably these days, but so have the demands we place on ourselves, blocking us from enjoying ourselves, other people, and everything else about this glorious world.

Grieving the loss of Bama this week has been agonizing. All my current and previous dogs have come into my life for a reason. They have given me much more than I have given them. (Perhaps I will blog BigDog and Buster's stories in the future.) As I was grieving for Bama the other day, I heard an inner voice that I attribute to God say, "Do you know why I gave Bama to you? You have been in awe of her love for you. Do you not realize that my love for you goes far beyond her love? You are worthy of love, and you are worthy of giving love to yourself as well as to others. How would your life change if you did?"

So I have been thinking about how my life would change if I loved and respected myself as much as Bama did. I believe my life will change dramatically as I continue to learn to hold myself in higher regard. Wayne Dyer ended his program with a quote that I think he said came from Ralph Waldo Emerson: "Thus you will serve others as you serve yourself." The quote reminded me of how Jesus said we should love others as we love ourselves. Apparently, we cannot effectively give to others what we do not give ourselves. Thank you, Bama, for showing me the importance of learning to serve myself.

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