Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"Real" to Each "Puppy"

The only Billy Graham column that I recall ever reading had a heading that captured my eye. If I recall correctly, it read “Puppy Love.” In his column, Dr. Graham responded to a mother's exhortation to “Please set my son straight and tell him in your column that he is too young to know ‘Real Love’. I have tried to explain that his ‘puppy love’ is not real," she explained further "but he will not listen to me. I know that he will listen to you.”

Billy Graham’s response etched itself into my consciousness and altered my perspective on the legitimacy of the viewpoint of others forever. He simply said “It is Real to the Puppy.”

Thank you Dr. Graham!

I hit my thumb with a hammer yesterday. And do you know, it did not even occur to me to say “There are people in this world with far worse problems.” Oh no! What I said was "__!!" Well, never mind what I actually said … that is more than you need know. But, My Dear Reader, I think that you begin to see where we are going here. That throbbing thumb did not get recognized with the cool detachment, of some applied table of relative Sufferings. It consumed all of my attention for not only that instant, but each time that I bumped it against something for the balance of the day. It was very real to this Puppy!

And so it is with all of us. We apply every fiber of ourselves to whatever is served up,on our personal “plate of circumstances.” We do not adjust our response to some scale of presupposed priorities. When that Circumstance is served up, by Life, to us … it gets all of our undivided attention. It has become our immediate responsibility, and we rise to meet whatever it requires.

Then along comes the parade of “Supporters”, the Well-Wishers, those who deign themselves to be our Care-Inflictors. And they come with their endless variety of platitudes. “Well Dear, you know, don’t you, that it could be worse,” or “I see, Dear, but, you know … I knew someone who had a far worse circumstance,” or “Oh my, that is not nearly as serious a problem as ___” (and they begin to fill that blank in with Stuff that amazes you in its voluminous quantities.) What about (I ask) a simple, brief, and sincere “I am so sorry.” How about a tiny bit of empathy! Hey folks … this is the Real Deal to this Puppy!

So today, Dear Friend, I ask not how your pain compares to the pain of others. I ask “Do you have pain?” And if you do … “I am so sorry.” For I would not that your life be aggravated, harassed, or vexed by pain, discomfort, or inconvenience of any sort or variety.

My sixty-two years has blessed me with many and varied pains, confusions, unhappinesses, and miseries. I know how lonely suffering is. And I would lessen and even eliminate all or part of what you are now hosting were it in my power.

What is, most certainly, in my power is my capacity and willingness to love and care about you. So, Dear One, please permit my Spirit to reassure you that you are, most certainly, not alone, right now … in this moment of your reading … You are thought of. Though I know not your name … The One who does know You knows the legitimacy of my care for you. This Puppy loves you.

IMAGES: PuppyDogWeb


lime said...

yep, people need to know their feelings are valid and not something you're going to either mock or dismiss. well, i do anyway...

true story. on 9/1/01 my son was in morning kindergarten. I brought him home at the end of his "day." I admit i was not paying a lot of attention to him as I sat close to the tv with the volume turned way down and the panels of the cabinet out to try to shield from him the worst scenes while I could still follow reports. all of a sudden he began to scream, which seriously jangled my already frayed nerves (we know so many people who worked in the towers or the vicinity). his panic was over a small bead he had shoved up his nose. so i calmed him down and then tried to retrieve the bead through all manner of methods, none of which worked. finally i said we would need to go to the doctor to get it out. the poor kid came completely unglued, "Is the doctor going to cut my nose off?????" I assured him there would be no nosectomies. On that day, a bead up his nose and the fear of his nose being cut off was the most terrifying thing in his world. that was the fear and the problem that needed immediate attention for him, so that's what i dealt with. it was real to him.

PS...we sat on the doc's exam room for 15 minutes, he sneezed and the bead came out. i showed the nurse and hightailed it outta there before they could charge me for the visit.

John-Michael said...

How PERFECT! You have illustrated with the clearest, and most unimpeachable image, the totality of what I am trying to convey. Beautiful! (how far did the bead fly with the sneeze ... inquiring minds want to know??)

[stupid {which I do well} grin]

Thank You Beautiful! You are the mostest Bestest!

An' I Love Ya too!!

lime said...

well, i was trying to spare the details but...the bead didn't fly out. It kind of dangled in a bit of snot that trickled out his nose. hehehe

glad you liked the story.

John-Michael said...

And for those who have run short of those "appetite suppressants" that image should suffice for the immediacy. [grin!]

Thank you for "filling in the blanks", My all-too delightful Lime!

I love you, Girl!

nitebyrd said...

While the point of this isn't really about loving a dog, it is about feeling love. It brought a tear to my evil old eyes because on Saturday, my daughter's beloved dog, died while having his teeth cleaned.

Her pain and sorrow at his untimely passing was visceral. Her father and I held her while she cried her heart out. And while I felt the same pain as she because of the love she had lost, I couldn't help but feel a little joy that she had such a good heart that allowed her to love deeply and without reservation. Her children will be very lucky.

Suldog said...

You're a lovely person, John-Michael. I wish I had half of your compassion for others. I'm sorely lacking in it, sometimes. Every night, when I say my prayers, I realize what an incredibly blessed life I have, but during the day I tend to forget rather readily, and give some of my fellow humans less attention than they deserve.

By the way, since you were at my place today, you saw my little joke about doing a column about puppies, etc. How nice to come here and find such a thing, for real :-)

God bless, my friend.

John-Michael said...

Darling NiteByrd, Though I know that You spoke it in a completely natural, and comfortable absence of awareness of a wondrous Truth ... your "Her father and I held her while she cried her heart out" reveals a mountain-top panorama of understanding into how your very fortunate Daughter has "such a good heart that allowed her to love deeply and without reservation." In that one paragraph, you unconsciously asked and explained the answer to your wonder. She has the Heart that you and her Dad have infused into her with your own freely expressed and openly shared Hearts. I am overcome with loving admiration and respect for your Family. And for the marvelous Gift to this world that I share with you ... of your Love's sweet Power.

Please do me the honor of delivering my compliments to your Husband for his role in your life, your Daughter's life, and the corporate life of your very-healthy and alive Family.

I truly Love each of, and all of You!

John-Michael said...

Darling SulDog ...Your delightfully sometimes-acerbic veneer does little to disguise your own lovely Heart.(Your championing of
Crystal McKee's cause comes immediately to mind.) And (I had might as well tell You directly since I have told others behind your back [or whichever quadrant of your Person happens to be appropriately situated to make this lame statement apply]), you are the single soul who I am looking forward to finagling some way to see when I do the train trip through the Adirondacks this October. I enjoy a wonderful sense of kinship with who You are. And do hope that we can manage to meet.

You have given me a great sense of personal pleasure with your very gracious expressions. And I am grateful.

(You will, no doubt, find comfort in the fact (or something that can be substituted for fact) that each of the Puppies shown here had thorough background checks and physical examinations done to satisfy all current and proposed future approved standards for certification as "non-Nazi puppy dogs" including [but not limited to] indepth colo-rectal scans for the presence of swastika tattoo

I love You Jim!

Corey~living and loving said...

Another wonderful post. I love that I can always come here to find something to touch my heart.
Thank you!

John-Michael said...

I am so glad that I made a "Corey & Sugar Bear" page in my "Blogging Friends" photo album. Now, when I see your name, Sweet Friend Corey, my mind's eye conjures images of your group of photos along the fence, and by the truck, and a WHOLE BUNCH of Sugar Bear. And I feel like a proud old uncle adoring his Family. For, My darling, that is the place that you pleasantly occupy in my Heart. Family. And I do, so love You!

Annie Peake said...

This column brought to mind my favorite interviewer, when she interviewed her guest on pain and sufferring...and they said they thought that, if people were given a choice of all the pain and sufferring they could have in the world...that they would choose their own...that which they have and live at the moment. To me this makes sense, (but I am not sure whether it has total relevance to what you are saying this morning).

John-Michael said...

How does that old addage go, Annie, My Darling? "Better the devil that You know, than the devil that You don't know." (or something like that.) Anyway, Sweetheart, I do like the perspective that you spark my mind to work with. Thank You, Dear One.

I do, indeed choose to Love You ...(and it is an easy choice!)

keeper of the chocolates said...

timely words for me. thank you. from the deepest part of my being...thank you. i so needed to hear these healing words.

God bless you today!

Crystal said...

Oh I love the pictures! And Go Billy Graham! I've always believed that there are MANY different levels of love and that they are all just as important! GOOD post!

John-Michael said...

You and your "Puppies" will have stories of these exciting days of growth, discovery, and fresh awarenesses to share with each other as a result of this, and the next few years. Exciting times will, no doubt, abound.

Thank You for allowing your Self to be a part of my Self. I love You.

CrazyCath said...

Never a truer word spoken. There isn't much I could add to what is already said here. Love Lime's story too.

John-Michael said...

Shelbi, My Precious (and you really have become precious to me, from the first instant of your revealing of the fathomless depth of and quality of your heart-satisfying character) Friend. To have You express so tender and sacredly delicate a thought gives me an humble gratitude for Life's loving generosity in bringing our paths together.

I fully respect Love You.

John-Michael said...

Sweet Lime did, indeed, illustrate the thought in living truth, didn't she, Darling CathDaughter? My sense of delight smiles at the vision of the three of us in the same space. Wow!

Thank You, Sweetie, for making my love for you possible. A nice Gift!

Don Mills Diva said...

Puppy love is pretty darn real and powerful as far as I'm concerned...

John-Michael said...

And "May we ever know, afresh and anew, the wonder and ecstasy of a heart's marvelous expression of innocent, trusting, and pure "Puppy Love." would be my prayer, My Dear Don Mills Darling.

Loving You is a treat!

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