My puppy Sir Kevin Saint James is 13-months old. He is the typical bundle of energy and laziness one would expect from a young Golden Retriever. His daily routine consists of eating, doggie play, napping, eating, doggie play, napping, eating, brushing, and sleeping.
He is the simplest of creatures. His only expectations revolve around eating, playing, napping, grooming and avoiding the vacuum, which is vital in de-shedding the house. My only expectations of him are to have fun, give me quiet time when I’m working, and to potty outside.
He also has me well-trained. I know when he’s hungry and thirsty because he bangs his bowls against the wall. I know when he wants to play because he places a tennis ball in my hand, and I know when he needs to go outside because he stares at the door.
When it comes to me, he is a little asshole. His needs always outrank my needs. If I want to sleep and he wants to go outside, he jumps on me. When he wants to play and I’m eating, he places the tennis ball on my plate. When he’s hungry and I’m in the shower, he stares and judges me. When he retrieves a tennis ball and I’m having a human conversation, he carries the ball 100 yards away just to see me fetch. He is mostly the center of my world. My husband is the other center of my world.
But, there are those moments that make Kevin’s quirks worthwhile. When he walks up to crying babies and kisses them in the mouth, when he returns a thrown tennis ball, and when he snores during his naps. These moments melt my heart.
In the 11 months Kevin has been in our lives, not a day goes by when I don’t realize how much Kevin has enriched our lives. My husband and I talk about doggie bowel movements daily. We skip date nights to ensure Kevin is not home alone, and we constantly search for green spaces for Kevin to run. And, I bug my local barista every other day to put puppuccinos on the Starbucks mobile app. Many of my priorities in life have shifted, except I’m still getting my PhD.
Kevin has been a blessing in so many respects. He has given my husband and I focus. He has united us as a couple and as a family. He is our main priority. Yes, he can be exhausting and needy and aloof and stinky, but he makes us laugh, gives us reasons to smile, and has shown us we can love more. Moreover, he has taught us the importance of acceptance and kindness.
In life, we all have a Kevin. We have something that brings us joy, comfort, frustration, peace and kindness. Throughout life, we have something that gives us meaning and purpose. We have something that helps us realize we matter, and we have experienced something that expands our heart and love.
We all have something that makes life worth living. We all have someone who makes us laugh. We all have a something that helps us remember we are alive.
While so many of us are focused on the negatives surrounding us, we forget that someone loves us, wants to be our friend, and who puts a smile on our face. We disregard the importance of connection, kindness and happiness. Not everything is perfect, but within those flawed moments of life, we have a choice. We can be present or we can be absent. We can see problems or we can find happiness. We can care about others or we can wallow in loss.
Compassion comes from generosity, acceptance and empathy. Compassion comes from caring about others, being kind, and finding peace. Compassion comes in many forms, but imagine if we started teaching our children about compassion now. What would have changed in your life if compassion was taught in school or in the principal’s office or during World History? Would there be mean girls or cruel pranks or homophobic rants?
Compassion is a choice just like the crap we are currently exposing our children to. Why not do things differently? Why not be the change you wish to see in the world?
Compassion starts with a bear hug. Compassion is taught by showing others acceptance, generosity and kindness. Compassion must start somewhere. Why not with you?
Photo Courtesy of Author