Sunday, January 25, 2009

GOD and some thoughts

I’m interested in God and his relationship with the world and my relationship with Him.

I know a bunch of folks who quote OR misquote "good books" regularly… then act horribly to their fellow men and women. These people call themselves Christians, or Jews or Islamic or whatever. They have no tolerance for other faiths or those with no faith at all. A lot of them don’t even know how intolerant they are, so convinced they are living God’s word. Some Christians say they speak in the name of Jesus- and I think- Jesus is doing flip- flops in his grave knowing He is being misunderstood and misquoted.

God is there for people who cannot see or hear. He is there for those that have never read a holy book or who don’t know scripture. God is within us.

My God, loves everyone. He loves believers and non-believers alike. He doesn’t care if you are Black, or Yellow or Brown or White. He doesn’t care if you are gay or not gay. He doesn’t care if your parents are married or not- He just wants them to love you. He doesn’t take sides in a war because both side are all his children. He doesn’t care what you do for a living. He really only wants people to love, know joy, help each other, be kind, be tolerant. We are ALL welcome to the kingdom of Heaven or the life after this life, whatever your belief.

I think sometimes, He must grow so weary of our self-centeredness. We all think He is concerned with our truck that breaks down or an even crazier assumption that He is on the American side in a war. Do we not know how small we are?

Does anyone ever think the homeless guy on the street corner may be a test from God? Maybe He is just checking to see if we love our fellow man- or are taking care of our brother or sister. How many people look at the homeless man on the corner, in the eye? Oh, he’s a drunk you say? So what? He is one of God’s drunks.
My God- is not materialistic. He does not care what you have or don’t have. But He does want you to put one foot in front of the other and do what you can to help people and help yourself. He put us here to learn something. We each have our own lessons. He doesn’t care if you go to church… that is not really his home. His home is in your heart.

Something to ponder: When a miracle happens, or what we prayed for actually materializes, we say our prayers have been answered. But, when a mother fervently prays over her dying child, asking God to let the child live- and the child dies; does that mother say my prayers have been answered? NO. I have never known that to happen.

We use what works for us. We ignore or defy the rest.

I like my relationship with God. It’s comfortable. He knows I love His beauty. I love His animals, His Mountains, His trees, His sky, His stars. I love my family. I try to be a good person. I’m not always successful.

God has never left me, but I have left him a few times. He doesn’t mind- his door is always open. He doesn’t judge me, how could He? I am learning the lessons He put me here to learn.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Best Dog Ever

Smokie has been my lifeline for a long time now. I love all my dogs, but he is special. He is literally the reason I get out of bed on days I don’t want to. He was Nick’s faithful companion when he was going through that teenage angst thing where they think no one loves them- Smokie loved him and he knew it. And he has pulled me out of a case of the blues more times then I can count.
I had two main reasons for getting Smokie- 1. I wanted Nick to have a dog. That was the most important thing to me. I knew that a dog would teach him about love and I really believe every kid should have a dog. 2. I was losing my hearing and couldn’t hear people at the front door. My room mate would come home and I would never hear her come in- it used to scare the crap out of me. I figured a dog would alert me to strangers at least.
So I started my search and as many of you know- when I am on a mission- it doesn’t end until I accomplish my goal. I must have gone to 5 Bay area shelters and never saw the dog for us. On my way home, I stopped at the Petco to see if there were any dogs for sale on the bulletin boards- and to my surprise they were having an adoption day.
I walked straight to Smokie. He was lean but huge. His head was the size of a basketball. He was all black with a white chest and German Shepard features. His ears were like bat ears, standing up and alert. I could tell he was young, and the adoption people said yes- he was about 9 months old. I asked if I could walk him. “Well – he is not really trained. Are you sure you can handle him?” I said I was. I took him for a quick walk in the shopping center and fell in love. He was our boy.
The adoption proceedings were a pain in the ass. They wanted to come to my house- meet my son, meet my cat. Since they forced the cat to meet Smokie they didn’t get along for the first 2 years. I thought the adoption people were all nuts.
When we came in with Smokie, twelve year old Nick was sitting on the sofa. His eyes got as wide as those Japanese eyes could get- and I could tell he was a little afraid of him but that night- Smokie slept on Nick's bed.
Smokie was friendly to people but completely untrained. If the front door opened he bolted. We chased that dog so many times the next five years it was crazy. But he was loyal and he loved us. Sleeping on my bed on the nights Nick was at his dads, then always with Nick when he was home. He was not so friendly to other animals. It took me months of walking him and spraying his face with water to teach him to not attack other dogs. Once he got it- he was the friendliest dog you ever met. He could and did pick a kitten up and walk around without hurting it all.
So twelve years later- Smokie has diabetes, he is blind- like walks into walls blind, and arthritic. He gets two shots of insulin a day and special food and countless trips to the vet. He hasn’t been able to get on my bed for about 3 years now. Some days he barely makes it upstairs, but he does- every night he lies down next to my bed or just outside my room in the hallway. He has two “brothers” now too. Mac sleeps upstairs with us, and Toshi who is downstairs in a crate.
Last night I was sleeping with the TV on as I do every night of my life for as long as I can remember. I take my hearing aides out at bedtime so the TV is always too loud for normal ears. Whatever show was on had a smoke alarm go off- which I did not hear until Smokie- tried to get on my bed wake me up. He could only get his two front paws up there- but he talked which sounds like an old man trying to clear his throat while saying the alphabet –vowels only; and kept hitting my head with his snout- until I woke up. When I realized what was happening-I gave a quick sniff to see if I could smell smoke- then realized it was the TV. I told him- “It’s okay boy.” And he went and laid down next to my bed. Mac- slept through the whole thing! Smokie would have saved my life if it were a real fire. He is the best dog ever.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009

New Years should be a good thing. It’s a chance to renew, start fresh. You can choose to bring all the old garbage with you or you can say to yourself: This is a New Year... and I am going to do things differently.
For at least the last forty years, every New Year I tell myself, this will be a good year. Sometimes I’m right- sometimes not. I remain hopeful though and that is probably the key thing.
My mothers family was in a car accident on New Years Eve in 1939. The four of them, my mother, her brother and her parents were driving south on Mission. St in San Francisco, near the “top of the hill” when out of nowhere came a car to their right, hitting the front right side of their car. It killed my grandmother, broke both of my mother’s legs, left my uncle in a coma for months and injured my grandfather’s back; pain he would feel for the rest of his life. The driver of the other vehicle was drunk and ran a stop sign. I don’t know if he lived or died or was ever punished. But I suspect if he lived- he was not punished as much as he should have been.
For years- all my life I think, my mother would not celebrate the New Year. Instead she would start the year off depressed and inconsolable. Somewhere a long the way- I must have decided to start the year off fresh and no matter what was going on, to look at the New Year as a new beginning: With hope.
This year, I admit, that may be difficult. I’m trying to sell my house in a crappy market so I can go back to California and be near my family. The housing market is bad right now and that is my profession so I have no money coming in. I’m a little overwhelmed by the daunting task of packing up a four bedroom home all by myself and transporting myself, one 13 year old, blind, diabetic dog, an arthritic dog and a crazy, energetic puppy, across the continent. Do you know how many pee/walk stops that is? At least one every 3 hours.
I want to show my son though- I want to show him that no matter how bad things get- that I get up every morning and I put one foot in front of the other. Because the minute I give in, or give up it will get worse. Giving up is not an option. Sometimes it takes more backbone than I think I have- but I do it anyway.
I’m an even keeled person. I’m seldom exuberantly happy or so depressed I can’t get out of bed. I go for daily walks and meditate to find my inner strength or on some days, find my story. I look for beauty in nature and occasionally find it in people. I have friends and family whose hearts are so beautiful I think I am the luckiest of all to know them.
If I add it all up…which I try not to do- I may have had more bad years than good but, I am hopeful. Not na├»ve or ignorant, just hopeful.
I think 2009 is going to be a good year. I know I may lose someone I love it seems I do every year, maybe a dog, maybe a friend, maybe a family member. I know I may have bad days and some good days. I know I may have days I want to write but can’t find any words, or days I want to play but have no one to play with. I am hopeful.
Happy 2009 to all of you.