Celebrating Positive Things in Challenging Times
That is the title of a speech I'm giving to the local chapter of the Women in Defense next week.
We know 2020 has been extra challenging.
We've all lived it.
But in this month historically known for it's attitude of gratitude, it's time to turn the tide and celebrate what is RIGHT with the world.
And there is so much right.
No, it's not "normal" right. But it IS right. Right for right now. Right for a pandemic. Right to teach us grace and increase our creativity.
So let me start with something that I am thankful for specific to this year.
I am so, so thankful that my dog Reine came into my life.
Let me start by saying that I am a dog person. I love all sizes, colors, and breeds of dogs, and I have always had one. So when I lost my dog two years ago, I was devastated, but I knew I would get another one when I was ready.
The timing was never right. At first, my husband and I were empty nesters who were gone too long during the day to get a puppy.
So I waited. Sometimes patiently, sometimes impatiently. I wanted a German Shepherd Dog and decided that I was going to actually pay for one (every single dog I've had has been a rescue). I researched breeders, put in a deposit to coincide with my retirement on 1 April, and started learning about how to train a puppy.
Yes, despite always having a dog, 12-13 years between puppies clouds the memory!
Then the pandemic hit, with its work-from-home orders. My last day in the office was Friday the 13th (coincidence?) of March. Once I was home all day, the desire for a dog became OVERWHELMING. I literally had only two weeks until my puppy was old enough to pick up, and I would finally have my dog.
But I couldn't wait and I couldn't ignore what I am referring to as a God wink.
I was talking to someone about my retirement plans and that I had a German Shepherd puppy coming soon. He mentioned that he had two of them, and that they were "a bit much" for him and his wife to handle. AND THEN HE OFFERED ONE TO ME!
Here's the God wink part; he told me her name was Faith.
How could I ignore THAT?!?
Turns out I couldn't and, within 24 hours, I had a 2.5 year old German Shepherd that had been rescued from the basement of a house in Detroit the previous year.
She has scars and she has issues, just like all of us. It took her a while to act anything like a dog, and she's still spookily quiet sometimes. And she is perfect. Perfect for this household (she is very calm), and perfect for me (I am 100% her person and she follows me everywhere).
I literally don't think I could have trained a puppy to be as good as she is! So when the breeder called for me to come and pick up my puppy, I let that puppy go to the next person.
We renamed her to Reine and she has been a large part of my resilience during this pandemic.
I don't have a fenced yard, so I walk her three times a day. Let's just say that I actually lost weight during the pandemic. Plus, it has been amazing to watch the last three seasons pass in my neighborhood as well! There are far more critters lurking about than I ever imagined (we live in farm country).
As I introduce her to new experiences all the time, it takes my mind off MY problems. Focusing on her and doing everything I can to make her successful gets me out of my own head. When I do return to solve my own problems, it's with a clearer mind.
I've discovered parks, and trails, and dog-friendly stores I never knew. I occasionally go to a co-working space to work and I can finally bring my dog into the office with me! That has been a dream of mine, but our dogs never had the right personality for it. She is always a big hit!
So as we start to close the door on 2020 in this month of Thanksgiving, I am thanking God for bringing Reine into my life.
Without the pandemic, I'm not sure we would have found each other.
My challenge to you is to look back on 2020 and find the gem. Focus on the twists of fate that made the circumstances exactly right to make that happen. Isn't that incredible to think about?
Leaving you with this from the lighter side: I would like to thank my arms for always being at my side, my legs for supporting me, and my fingers because I can count on them.