Hello 2017. I went in for a hug and you went for a handshake. Or maybe I only imagined even that. While the New Year started off beautifully, the rest of the days this month have been out of sorts. It’s early on a Sunday morning and Garrett is tied up all day which leaves me sipping our hometown coffee and steadily eating Valentine’s Day candy hearts that arrived in the mail last night. *Thanks mom. Your care packages are the best.*
Three weeks ago I had to let go and say goodbye to our sweet Bdog. The weekend was frigid but on that Sunday morning the sunshine came out and we had a peaceful drive to the animal care clinic. Car rides have always been his favorite and he smiled the entire time despite how he felt. He wanted us to know he was okay with what was happening. As my mind heard what my heart already knew tears poured down my face. I met Bright the day he was born. The smallest of twelve golden balls of fur, he was quickly nicknamed Owie and upon meeting he was my favorite. I couldn’t believe it when my parents gave him to me for Christmas three months later. He was exactly what my seventeen year old heart desperately needed. Every single day he loved me unconditionally. Every single day without him I am keenly aware of what is missing. Nothing prepares you for a goodbye with such a treasured spirit. Fourteen years was a beautiful run. I am overwhelmingly thankful that we were able to tell him a peaceful goodbye and that we were able to make a dignified and compassionate decision that did not leave him suffering. Hearts are broken in many different ways, but what has stood out the most to me through all this is the kindness we have received. From dear loved ones to neighbors I only know because our dogs were friends, people have reached out with such thoughtfulness and kindness.
This leaves me more determined now than ever. Our words matter. All the time. Especially right now. In the smallest of smallest of ways. Who we are has a ripple effect and touches others. We get to choose who we want to be every single time. Who we are and what we say matters. We are responsible for the ripples we send out to those around us. In the beautiful words of Rob Bell, “this is our answer to that.” It starts right here, right now. I don’t know what to do about all that, but I do know what to do right here. Look someone in the eyes, smile, listen, hold open a door, buy coffee for the person behind you, pick up the piece of trash on the sidewalk. This is our life and our actions matter. The smallest of ways add up. It’s not a show, it’s a story and we only get to write each page once. It matters. You matter. It starts with us every single time.