Thursday, July 07, 2005

Anticipating the Best...or Worst?

This weekend reminded me of just how much Baxter, Elsie, and Ridge anticipate good things.

When Don pulled out the leashes, the dogs lined up (tails wagging and barely restraining themselves) in anticipation of the long walk to come. Baxter and Ridge, the more mature of the three, could keep themselves in check enough to sit and wait patiently for Don to clip on their leads (see photo above right), ; Elsie, on the other hand, just couldn't resist standing, wiggling, and wagging her tail.

No matter how obedient or restrained the dogs were, we could still tell they were ready to go and eagerly awaiting the fun in store.

It was the same thing on the lake.

Whenever Don threw a training dummy, all three focused in the direction of his throw, happily and expectantly awaiting the dummy's landing. Then they'd take off galloping at first, then swimming hard in the direction of the dummy's splash.

No second guessing. No hesitation. No doubt or fear. Just pure enthusiasm for their task and for what was to come.

I wish I could be more like my canine kids: happily anticipating the good to come, no matter what; full of enthusiasm and energy and expecting only the best.

Life would be a much more pleasant adventure if I did.

Truth be told, I don't. I'm much more a pessimist than optimist (though I wish I weren't). I'll consider ALL the options, even the worst.

Take Don's returning to Ireland this weekend for example: I'm not thrilled at the prospect of his flying overseas after the bombings in London earlier today. Instead of anticipating a positive outcome for his trip (he's been on dozens of uneventful business trips), my mind floats to the "what ifs." The likelihood of anything terrible happening to my husband while flying overseas is next to nil; but it's still a possibility. So that's what I anticipate.

Silly me. Two thousand years ago Jesus said, "Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?...Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:27-34, NIV)

Today, Baxter, Elsie, and Ridge remind me of the same.

I think I can learn something from my carefree canines: focus on the moment, anticipate the best, greet life with enthusiasm, and don't worry about tomorrow.

I suspect I'll sleep much better for it. They sure do.

'Til next time,


Kiwi's Mom said...

Great post Joan, as a military wife I should carry that verse with me 24/7. Hugs, Lisa.

Joan said...

Kudos to your husband, Lisa, for his willing service. I have the greatest respect for the guys who so faithfully serve our country. My dad was a colonel in the army; I have a little bit of an idea of what a sacrifice it is to serve.

And blessings to you, holding down the home front. It's tough to be a military wife.

When Don travels I think often of the military families who wave goodbye to their loved ones for months, even years, at a time. I only ever have to say goodbye for a couple of weeks at time, and I don't have to fear (usually) for my husband's safety.

I have nothing to complain about, I know. Forgive me if my worries seem petty compared to what military families go through (they must seem that way).

As Don travels, I'll remember you in my prayers.

Oh, and Kiwi, sweetheart that she is, seems much like our Elsie. They're wonderful dogs.

Blessings, Joan

Anonymous said...

Around 1992 when the IRA was routinely setting off bombs, my daughter was an exchange student to Wales and often traveled by train to visit friends in England. Of course, I was "on nerves" on those weekends. But she told me she would not forgo her travel because to do that would mean the bombers had won. That sums it up best for me!

Joan said...

You are absolutely right; I couldn't agree more. To allow the fear of what terrorists might do to keep us from living free (including the freedom to fly to other countries) would mean they had won. And we can't let them do that to us.

So Don continues to fly, and I continue to pray, knowing full-well that fear or worry won't accomplish a thing.

Your daughter sounds wise and mature. It's amazing what we can learn from our kids!

Thanks for the comment.

Kiwi's Mom said...

Oh goodness Joan, I would never feel that someone else's worries were petty, as if I'm entitled to be "more" worried or something. I wish I were as articulate as you are and could describe how I feel about this (because other friends have said similar kinds of things to me when their husbands travel); it’s just that all of life is filled with risks, and as the poster above said we cannot let the terrorists win by changing the way we live. And the way I feel about life in general, and my husband’s job in particular, is that I cannot let my fears win. Your worries about your husband, like my friends’ when their husbands are gone, cannot be compared to or measured against my worries. Darn it I’m stumbling now on what I’m trying to say… oh I hate it when I can’t put my feelings into words well… just know that I worry about my husband even when he goes for two weeks of training in Missouri (but I admit not as much as when he’s in the Middle East), I guess it’s just part of loving them. I’m going to quit now with this!!

And I agree with you that Kiwi and Elsie are alike, the destructor sisters! Thank you very much for your post on Kiwi’s possible new future, it’s true that I am feeling grief – see you can put things into words so well, most of the time I feel like the village idiot!!!!! :)