I guess I am always more concerned with my corner of the world--our family and friends and community here in Barton. For me, yesterday was not about the election, but about the close of another chapter in my life. Yesterday, was the day Mariah died.
Many of you know, that my dad and his dog, Mariah, have lived with us since 2007. I like this a lot because I am enchanted by and dedicated to the notion of families living together on the same land--kind of like The Waltons. My family is part of my nucleic world of wonder, and I suppose, challenges. The perfect expression of yang and yin, and why balance is crucial, exists right in my living room.
Anyhow, Mariah, like my mother, had cancer. We found out this spring and have been "hospicing" her ever since. She is my dog's sister, and couldn't be more different.
Where my dog is happy and excited, patient and relaxed around everyone, Mariah was more of a serious working dog--a loyal and faithful companion and protector of house and truck. She wasn't always fond of the whole "family living together thing," and needed space and time alone with Dad, so he would take her out driving. She rode shotgun with him to work, the dump on Saturdays, the fire department, Door County, Trapping Conventions, the store, friends' farms and so many other places. They were been inseparable...until now.
That is where my mind and heart have been. In this place of loss and comfort...of holding and honoring. This journey with Mariah over the past months has brought up a lot of small wounds and scars from my mom's illness, and it has given our family time to reprocess and heal. Sometimes, that's what happens. Situations come around again in our lives so that we have another opportunity to do things differently. Mariah's illness gave us many moments to practice patience and compassion and her resilience helped us make time to better witness her life and our own.
Yesterday, my dad called the vet to take her in and have put to sleep. He took her out and let her walk around. She found a large pile of leaves and went and went and settled into their comforting pile warmth (one of her favorite places in the fall). She rested there for a while, looking around and appreciating the spectacular beauty in the air and the softness under her. She got up then and ambled slowly back to the truck where dad gently lifted her onto her bed in the front seat. He called the vet and said he didn't know if she was going to make it. They encouraged him to do what he needed and not rush.
Dad listened to his intuition and decided to do what he always did with Mariah. He just drove around, winding his way through favorite parks, back roads and stopping near the lake to pet and hold her. He continued on driving and talking to her, while she wagged her tail slowly up and down. Eventually, while they were driving through a wooded area with curves through lingering leaves and color, he turned his gaze back to the road and then back to her and she was gone. Her eyes closed, her tail still...her spirit forever sleeping in the front seat of his truck. He drove back to the house and buried her next to her father--another faithful lab and long-term family member.
This experience seems so much more important and meaningful to me than the election results. It has given all of us a chance to express love and devotion, to focus on the meaning and purpose of our lives and our relationships with one another, ultimately, that seems what life is REALLY about. How well did you love one another? How often did you really connect with someone about whom you care? Did you make time to express your feelings and appreciation and did your actions mirror the significance of the relationship?
I would like to encourage you to make time today to talk to YOUR people. Politics is relevant, but family is important. Depending upon what is happening in your life, talking about politics instead of your people, might be like focusing on cake, when you don't have food or water.
Of course, it is all dependent upon our own unique situations, but it seems to me, from what I see happening in the world and all around me, that our political environment might be less dramatic and petty, if we were ALL honing in on PEOPLE. How are you feeling, what are you experiencing, do you have love, and support, are you connected and honored at home and work? These are simple but rich and deep questions to ponder. I hope they have helped you to pause and reflect and maybe even redirect your attention to what really matters in YOUR LIFE.