My dog seems to have such a great life. From the moment he wakes up to when he goes to bed at night, he does what he wants (most of the time). He gets the attention he needs when he wants because he demands it. He gets to play, run around, chew sticks, eat, and of course sleep whenever he feels like it and wherever he wants. What’s most attractive about his life is he seems to LOVE it. He does nothing that we might say adds value to life – although he’s very existence adds value, I think. He’s certainly not changing the world or finding a vaccine for Covid-19.
During this lockdown Covid-19 crisis I’ve been watching my dog all day. He’s fascinated with everything – he smells everything, and it seems like it’s a new interesting smell every day – not the same toes he smelt or licked yesterday. Everything seems exciting – someone opens a packet of anything, and he comes running with his tail wagging in pleasure and anticipation.
There are a few reasons I’d like to be like my dog at the moment.
Firstly, he’s content with how life is. He’s not going to the park so much or seeing his other dog friends but he’s perfectly happy to run around the garden and make his own entertainment. Of course, he doesn’t usually get to go drink coffee in coffee shops or go to the cinema or restaurant, but the point is every day is the same for him and he’s not bothered – in fact he seems to relish in each new day.
Secondly, he just wants to be around people. He doesn’t need to do anything, although sometimes it’s irritating when he drops a tennis ball in front of you to play. Most of the time though he just wants to be close, to connect, to feel another living thing next to him. As I’m writing this he’s sitting at my feet in the kitchen after a little wander around the garden. It’s something I will not take for granted after this – the privilege of just being with others, sharing company and witnessing life together.
Thirdly, he’s not worried about the future. He doesn’t worry about where his food comes from or whether he will be able to work again. He’s not worried about his clothes or being bored or his mental health. Of course, this point falls down a bit as Max is a dog and doesn’t need to worry about those things. However, his ability to be content and to just be is because he doesn’t worry about those things. I must admit I am worried, and I have faith in a God that I trust will bring us through this. I know for many they may not have that faith, but we can rely on the fact that it will end.
Max is sometimes frightened though of some irrational things – the lawn mower and hair dryers in particular. The lawn mower only has to come out of the shed and he’s barking and attacking it. I wonder why? He’s even bigger than it but something about it evokes an emotional response.
There are many things during this lockdown that have evoked an emotional response in me and I’m sure in you too. BUT through it all, at the end of the day I’m going to try to be like Max – be content with how life is, be grateful to just be in the company of others and not to worry about the future but trust instead.