I pick these two photos as my favorites because take a look at Max - in the first one, he's running! And in the second one, I caught him mid-prance, playing with his puppy, Belle (you can see a bit of her in the foreground.) It hasn't been more than a month that we thought his running days were over - he was limping so bad. We just knew he was on a downhill slide to being totally lame, thanks to his elbow dysplasia (ununited anconeal process).
He's still limping, but would you believe the cooler weather has helped? Most days, he's frisky and, at least once on our walk, he initiates a game with Belle, letting her pounce on him, bite his leg, and play the way dogs play.
I have to turn and walk away. Just like I did when my oldest son and his friends pulled out those dang boxing gloves.
But there's another reason I chose these photos as my favorites...but it will take a little more explaining...bear with me, please...
The rain surprised me this morning...a pouring rain that washed through the Hollow. I thought our walk was washed away with it, but moments later it had slowed to a drizzle.
A drizzle the puppies and I can handle, so I grabbed an umbrella and started down the road. I never even opened the umbrella, though - by the time I hit the road, sunlight and gray clouds were battling it out in the sky.
As it so often does, the sky mirrored my turbulent mood...sunlight struggled behind the clouds, illuminating the edges, try to break free of the persistent gray veils...doubt, worry and questions blocking my view of answers, resolution and peace.
They're the same dark clouds that pop up every now and then, trying to figure out what the hell I'm supposed to be doing with my life. What should I focus on with the little amount of "dream" time I have? Is it enough to accomplish anything with? What is my dream, for that matter? What should it be? I'm 51 and still trying to figure it out.
Oh, some days I know. Some days I'm sure of it, full of confidence and determination. Then other days, like this morning, I wake up wondering if I've just been wasting a lot of time.
A friend thinks I should focus on photography, start promoting myself as a wedding photographer or take portraits. It flatters me that she thinks I could possibly do this...but I know enough about photography now that the glitches in the idea glare down their noses at me: I don't have the right equipment; I can't afford the right equipment; I don't have the knowledge. I don't have the time to gather the knowledge.
(I subscribe to half a dozen photography newsletters that I neatly file in a folder in my email inbox, for later...when I have time to read them...)
But the thing is, that's not my passion. Photography is an obsession and a stress-reliever and I want to get better and better...and if I can make money at it without a huge time investment, that's great, but my dream has to do with writing.
Most of my writing time I spend on this blog. I love blogging - it brings in a little bit of money, plus it's my old-time hobbies of journaling, scrap-booking, and letter-writing all rolled into one. But I'm left with just a small portion of time for my book, which is supposed to be my Big Thing.
But when I look at other blogs...oh, geez, it makes me wonder why I even bother! Should I just quit and focus on my book? Or should I give up the book altogether and focus on my blog? Then I stop to pay bills, and think, should I forget them both and just focus on finding a second better-paying job to help us get out of debt?
(Is your head spinning yet?)
My faith steps in here...I truly just want to do whatever it is I'm supposed to do. If I can figure out what that is...
(Lord, I'm listening!)
I didn't fall into total despair, don't worry. I'm used to this battle - I've gotten pretty good at stepping to the side as a bystander.
It's a good thing, because the sun and clouds took turns all day, both inside my head and outside. I still haven't heard any trumpets or a loud voice announcing clear instructions. And at this point I don't expect to.
Last night two friends told me they enjoyed reading my blog, and I believe them. I have friends tell me that sometimes and I know they don't really read it. Some of my best friends don't read it. That hurts a little, but reading blogs takes time. I don't get to read all of the ones I enjoy every day, either, so I guess I need to cut my friends some slack.
But through my blog I've met some fabulous people and discovered some wonderful blogs. I believe it's a path I'm supposed to continue along, at least for a little while.
I really don't believe in coincidence anymore...I think I'm supposed to trying to juggle all of these things, my blog, the book, photography...even my drums..although I don't see the benefit of it. Perhaps the end goal isn't my success at any of it, in the world's sense of success, but just the path they lead me along...the people I meet along the way, the lives I touch, the lives that touch me.
So that brings me back to the photos of Max. In them I see a dog who ignores a handicap to go after something, still believing he can catch it. I see a dog who ignores his pain to play with his puppy because he knows it makes her happy, and because of that, it makes him happy.
Don't give up the chase. Make others happy.
Damn, he's a smart dog.