So much of my life of late has been unexpected. First, the arrival of Max and his subsequent journey — finding his path to health and mobility (that you can read about here).
Next, Rosie and Tyson going on vacation this past week so their house can get a mini-remodel. I do miss them, but I know they are having fun at Mystic Mountain.
Then there were unexpected play dates where I got to not only be with my friends, but run around like the wild boy that I am.
And finally, there was the snow…unexpected and unwelcome by some, but definitely not by me!
All this unexpectedness got me to thinking about chance. Some say our lives are filled with chance and others say there is no chance at all — that everything that is supposed to happen happens and it happens for a reason.
Perhaps it’s my innate Labradoodle skepticism, but I have yet to firmly believe that everything happens for a reason.
Of course then Max came along and I’ve had to question my beliefs. I discussed it all with my friends/clients this week and while Rosie and Tyson have yet to be interviewed, here’s what the dogs in my life this week have to say.
“Monty,” I asked him, “Do you think everything happens for a reason?”
“Well, Rubin,” he said thoughtfully, “I guess it depends on the reason.” He elaborated. “For instance, if I am not fed at 6 every night, I have to have consider the reason. Is it because my mom is working hard to pay for my scrumptious meals or is it because she forgot about me?”
“But I don’t understand?” I said to Monty.
“Well,” he continued, “If she forgot me, then my world is completely different than if she’s just working late at her job. If it’s the former, then my whole existence is put into question. Does she love me? Do I really belong to a family? If it’s the latter, then I can just cool my jets and know that my meal will be coming soon.”
So I asked Paige.
“All things happen for one reason,” she said in her very certain way. “All things happen to please me.”
“Seriously?” I asked her.
“Okay, I’m not that self-centered,” she said, “But I think when people say stuff like that – that things happen for a reason — they are only thinking about themselves. They need to look at the bigger picture, in my humble opinion.”
“Interesting perspective,” I said, “But I don’t think I completely get what you mean.”
“Things happen, Rubin,” she explained, “And sometimes those things really impact our lives and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they impact the lives of others and sometimes they impact things we don’t even think about.”
She went on: “Sure we try to figure out why these things happen — those things we experience — and when we see the things we didn’t see to begin with, we try to figure those out as well, but sometimes there is no deeper reason. It just is what it is. Like I said, things happen – reason or no reason.”
I met a new dog this week. He’s not a client, but since I had more free time, I got to go on a walk at Genessee Park and there I met six month old Blue. It took Blue a bit of time to get to know me (he’s very focused on birds!) but once he realized I was a potentially good friend, we played chase and it was grand.
“Were birds involved?” he said.
“Birds? What do birds have to do with it?” I asked.
“Everything that happens for a reason involves birds,” he said.
Maybe it’s because he’s so young, but I was a bit confused by his answer. “Well there are birds here and you’ve been chasing them and flushing them out of the trees and underbrush, so yes, birds were involved.”
“Then yes, we met for a reason,” and off went Blue to find more birds.
I pondered his words the rest of the week and in a way, I kind of understood the Zen beauty of what he was saying. I couldn’t articulate it so I decided to ask Max who, out of all of us, has had the hardest life and therefore, I think, has learned some of life’s biggest lessons.
“What do you think about things happening for a reason, Max? Do you agree with Monty, Paige, and Blue even though they have very different answers?
“Really? How so?”
“Well, things happen to us and if we are aware of what happens to us then we try to figure out the reason so we can feel comfortable with those things happening — good or bad.”
“So in other words,” I said, “You’re saying that the reason things happen is so we’ll stop and contemplate the reasons?”
And then I realized that there are many reasons for Max “happening” to us. First, he has expanded my circle of friends..I’m very happy to include him in my family of friends. Second, I needed his wisdom, which he doles out liberally and daily. Third, he needed us to help him heal (and his whole care team as well including his incredible long-term foster Mom, Suzanne). And most importantly, he has shown us that in helping others (like Max and Suzanne) we help ourselves feel the best parts of love and life.