This post has been sitting here on my computer for over a week now. Things have been a little busy here.
Last week, my parents put down our first dog.
He was old – 14 years. He was mostly blind, mostly deaf, fairly gimpy. He was grumpy – kennel and food aggressive. It was time. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s easy to say goodbye for a friend of such a long time.
The presence of death always gets me thinking about life, though. Mostly my dog’s lives – are we giving them everything we can considering the short time they are with us? It is easy to think “I should take them on more walks or get out to run more at the dog parks” or something like that. The more I think about it though, the more I think that it’s less about the activity and more about being intentional with the time we have together.
Dogs have somewhere between 10 and 20 years. Naturally, the bigger the dog, the fewer years we have together. We have two big dogs. I probably have somewhere around 10 years left with them. A short decade before they make the same walk. Am I doing justice to the time we have together and what really does that mean?
What about my own life? Am I doing justice to my own life? Building up a good example for my daughter in how I live? How I treat others? How I treat my dogs? What lessons am I intentionally and unintentionally passing along to her?
In college I had a friend who was terribly klutzy and fairly irresponsible. Always late, left perishable food items out for hours, walked or bumped into everything, super forgetful. We were good friends, but I knew that I didn’t want to be like her. As we talked and grew our friendship, I realized that she was like that because she floated through life. She was so distracted by baggage and how she saw herself that she wasn’t able to focus on the present moment. I want to focus on the present moment and be intentional about my life and what I’m doing.
Of course, living like that is really hard.
It doesn’t allow for excuses to get in the way of why things aren’t done or why I did something foolish. I have to accept all consequences for all of my actions – I chose to do one thing over another, knowing full well that I should do the other thing. We have seasons of more busy and less busy, more tired and less tired but that shouldn’t get in the way of living with intention. Figuring out what kind of life I’m building, being aware of the character I’m building, remembering that I am slowly building and creating. Who I am in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years, 20 years depends on the choices I make today. Making better choices today leads to me being a better person in the future.
My dogs may have a short time on earth, but so do I. I am only lent the time, talents, money, friends, and family that I have. I am a steward, a manager of these things. How well am I managing? Somehow, at the end of my life, I don’t think that “I was too tired to do this or that” will be an acceptable response.
Love God. Love people. Take care of the things with which I’ve been entrusted.
When I think about Weiner, I’m reminded to enjoy the present moment. Dogs always live in the moment – not worried about making amends for the past or plans for the future. They enjoy the moment and family is everything. May I not forget this lesson so quickly.