Sunday, August 17, 2008
Lessons To Be Given
I’ve had an abundance of time for thinking this week. Hours on the Allis as I mow the pastures. And plenty of time picking eight wheelbarrows of manure every day in an attempt to keep the flies to a minimum.
In all of this thinking time, I’ve thought about the lessons that Keller brought to us. The lessons of how to be happy. That dog, even with his body ruined by a mean human and blinded by neglect, found happiness here. As a Human Being who is hearing anger and unhappiness and searching and discontent and dishonesty all around her, as I’ve thought of him I’ve wondered, “How did he find happiness with all the burdens on his skinny little shoulders? Where did his happiness come from? Where did he find his joy?”
In my thoughts and pondering of those questions, Keller has brought to me the secrets that he was intended to bring to us all. Perhaps this was his big purpose. Maybe not – maybe something all together different was his big purpose. Time will only tell us that one. But for right now, I have some thoughts and life lessons for all of us from observing Keller’s unending quest for his happiness....
Lesson #1: Choose to be Happy!
Keller was happy because he chose to be happy. Not because he carried his pains and unfulfilled wishes with him. Now he had wishes but he, like many before him, showed us how they are happy when they shed the regrets and live in the moment. Keller chose to see the good and overlook the bad.
Even though he was stuck in a bad situation, he noticed the cool water in his mouth, the sun on his shoulders, the food in his tummy, and the love from his girlfriend, Spirit. He treasured the companionship and freedom he found here. And he bounced right back to the good even after experiencing the pain of klunking his head on the trailer or walking right in to the truck.
Keller was a perfect example of “the glass being half-full instead of half-empty”. His take on everyday events was to not get buried in the bad and carry those bad feelings around with him, allowing them to fester and overtake his day. No, Keller would look for the good and cherish that time. Big lesson from a little blind dog.
Lesson #2: Have Passion to Give You Purpose!
Passion was important to Keller. He was passionate about his horses. He had never met horses prior to coming here – I could tell that from our first venture to the barn. Smelling them and feeling their breath he soon realized that these “dogs” were indeed very big! Oh my! They were big, big, big!
And his passion grew to be purposeful with these horses. It was his job to herd them and keep them in line. Even walking Handsomer from the old barn to the new barn had Keller on full alert and herding to the max! This dog had a passion and lived that passion every time the opportunity arose!
And this passion fed his need for purpose. When herding his horses, Keller was whole and complete, regardless of his physical limitations. Regardless of opinions about him. In his heart, Keller was a winner when he was with his horses and “keeping them in line”.
Lesson #3: Feed the Good Wolf
There’s an American Indian folklore about a Chippewa elder who told his grandson about the battle that goes on inside of people’s minds and hearts. He said, “My son, the battle is between the two wolves that live inside of us all. One is the Wolf of Unhappiness. It is fear, worry, anger, jealousy, sorrow, self-pity, resentment, and inferiority. The other is the Wolf of Happiness. It is joy, love, hope, serenity, kindness, generosity, truth, faith, and compassion.”
The grandson thought about what his elder had told him and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf wins?”
The old Chief simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Keller fed his Wolf of Happiness every single day.
Lesson #4: Don’t Believe Everything They Say About You
Keller went against the norm, against the tide, against popular opinion and did what was in his heart. He didn’t listen to those that told him there wasn’t a way or even listen to those whose opinions were against his passions. He did not disregard them, he simply did not chose to accept them and take them on as his own. Keller listened to his inner voice and did what was the best for him without causing harm to others.
When you and I are faced with decisions that go “against the tide of popular opinion”, we must listen and recheck our personal compass. What is our decision based upon? Do we have the energy and the passion to take on the challenge? Will we be content in our new direction if those who disbelieve leave us? Is this change going to help our surroundings and those creatures that live around us?
If we can answer these questions honestly, then our decision will be based on those principles that create happiness in us.
Lesson #5: Take Care of Important Relationships
And finally, Keller took care of the relationships that were important to him. No matter how busy herding he was or how ill he was, Keller took the time to show appreciation for those that were important to him. He fostered and took care of his relationships. A simple kiss to Little Man. A resting head next to Babee the Cat. A nudge to me. Or time to sit and “watch” Spirit perform. Each of these were important to Keller because the creature was important to him. And in taking the time to show these creatures that he cared for them, he made himself happy.
What a dog! Giving us all the life lessons of happiness! May we all learn from this little creature of God’s who came with such a huge task to complete in such a short time!
Enjoy the journey of each and every day,
Sandy and The Herd