It Made Me Cry

Confession time. Last night I watched part of an Animal Planet show about dogs and started crying. It was unexpected and I was shocked at the feelings it brought out. It happened during the segment on Golden Retrievers. I saw a couple of puppies playing and suddenly I remembered running with the Big Lug and I just felt this giant, gaping hole. He was a mutant Golden, much bigger than the average. Had a massive head and weighed far more but was more loving than a thousand of them.

Maybe it is because we are moving and I remember watching him patrol the house. Maybe it is because he liked to pretend that at more than 100 pounds he could be a lapdog or because my kids rode him like a horse. It shocked me because I don’t cry easily or much at all. I don’t really know.

But I can tell you that last night he visited me in my dreams. We were both young. I was a twenty something year old kid at the park and he was about two. And in that dream we did what we can’t do together any more. We ran. He was always just ahead of me, but never so far that he was out of sight. He was headed towards traffic and I was yelling for him to stop, fearful that he would do something stupid and get hit by a car.

And then a few dogs started barking at me and he was at my side, tail pointed, deep bark warning them to stay away. At the same time I yelled at them too- told him not to worry that I would find a way out of it for us. But mostly I was secure in the knowledge that the big lug had my back because he always did. Who listened better to my stories than he did. He never got tired or them or acted judgmental- he just loved me.
I have been thinking about something Danny wrote and the words I wrote there.

Brevity and I are often at odds so I will try to sum things up as best I can. My last blog post would be similar to this.

“I have lived, loved and laughed more than I have cried and complained. I have friends that I would die for and who die for me.
I am grateful for those who have walked with me on my journey and hope that they have learned from me as I have learned from them.
There will never be enough time for me to see all that I want to see, do all that I want to do and say all that I want to say.

So these few words shall have to suffice. It has been fun.”

I am proud of those words. They have meaning and significance to me. I am proud of them because I do wrestle with brevity and I feel like I captured the essence of the sort of life I want to lead.  But I am unsettled. Been thinking about those words and wondering if I am living up to the things I shared there.

The answer is that I don’t feel like I am holding up my end of the bargain. I feel like most of it is true but I spend too much time complaining. Too much time bitching and moaning about the things that make me unhappy.  Those who know me best will tell you that I am very hard on myself and that I am being unfair about some of this. Some of the challenges are things outside of my control. They tell me that force of will isn’t enough to change things and that beating myself up isn’t going to make it better. They tell me that I need to let some of that go and just wait for things to pass.

Well that is fine and good but it is not my nature. I am filled with fire that is never extinguished. I don’t just let go of the important things….not easily. It happens but I need to work through it all and eventually a stubborn fool like me comes around. But I need time.

Maybe that is why the Big Lug is on my mind. Maybe he came to visit because he knows things. Maybe he came to remind me that though I may not be that twenty something year old kid anymore I still have all of the potential and opportunity to fulfill that he did. Maybe he came to visit because some promises reach beyond.

There is far more that could be said and will be said but it won’t happen here. Some things aren’t meant for all eyes and ears. Suffice it to say that I am thinking of Orpheus in the underworld and the mistakes that he made. When you find yourself wandering through Moriah you don’t go knocking on strange doors. You keep your eyes open and your head down.

Time for that North Star to show up again. But until that happens I’ll keep walking and remember that the Big Lug still walks with me.

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  1. TheJackB July 29, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    @Billy_Delaney My old neighbor had a Rhodesian ridgeback. He was great. Fun, muscular and loving.

    Very glad to see you here again and most appreciative of the kind words on your blog.

  2. Billy_Delaney July 29, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    Got a rhodesian ridgeback last spring, someone threw her away as a couple months old in the woods near my daughters place. I have always taken in the strays, so she had a home. We are together me and this dog. She is called Lily. Muscles ripple over her body, she is strong and yet sweet. Goes out the door everytime with me, gets in a foul mood when she doesn’t.

    Life ah glorious life, MrJackB coming here to read is like drinking my favorite tea. Billy

  3. TheJackB July 22, 2011 at 2:14 pm

    @MimiMeredith I had to laugh about the eye rolling, looks of boredom and I’ll add the yawn that comes with F2F.

    it really is an excellent venue for communicating with others.

    My latest conversation:

  4. MimiMeredith July 22, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    @TheJackB Much is lost in the interactive nature of electronic communication, but as far as expressing myself…it definitely comes more openly here. Plus, I assume that people on social media only engage with me if they actually are interested in what I have to say. And when they’re not, I am spared the looks of boredom or eye rolling that occurs seconds before they delete me. It’s a great venue ;)!

    My latest conversation:

  5. TheJackB July 21, 2011 at 2:53 pm

    @SeattleDad Hey James. A good dog is priceless- they’re the best friends we can have. I really do have to pick up a copy of the book now. It is on the list.

    My latest conversation:

  6. SeattleDad July 21, 2011 at 12:30 pm

    I am currently reading The Art of Racing in the Rain. I don’t have a dog now, but it kinda makes me want to pick up poop to have one.

    Great post Jack. Moving.

  7. TheJackB July 21, 2011 at 9:09 am

    @MimiMeredith The funny thing to me is that many of the people who know me IRL would be shocked by some of what I share here. In person I am far less forthcoming. It is not that I am intentionally hiding these things, but they don’t really come up in conversation.

    My latest conversation:

  8. MimiMeredith July 21, 2011 at 8:22 am

    @TheJackB I think the way you share your journey and emotions has an impact in a variety of positive ways on the lives of people who may never comment and you’ll likely never meet. I love it! I have shared low spots on my blog that have even resulted in gifts on my doorstep to cheer me up :). I know you’re a balanced guy…that’s why you’re a great dad! But I am surprised you missed the latest Disney made for tv special…Lemonade Mouth ;)!

    Get the book. You’ll love it.

    My latest conversation:

  9. TheJackB July 20, 2011 at 11:17 pm

    @MimiMeredith Hi Mimi. You are welcome to share your bazillion thoughts any time.

    Can’t say that I have ever questioned who my inner critic is but he sounds just like me.

    We are agreed on your second point. We always need to keep pushing.

    I haven’t read that book, but it sounds interesting. I am going to see if I can get it for the Kindle. Dogs are simply wonderful.

    I don’t think I am familiar with Lemonade Mouth. I am assuming that it is a movie.

    I appreciate your thoughts and comments. FWIW, although I am my biggest critic I wouldn’t say that I only picture myself in a negative fashion or perspective.

    I don’t have a problem saying that I am going through a rough spot and that I am not happy about it. I try to be very open with myself about such things because that is how they get fixed.

    The Big Lug would have been pleased with your comment too. Although as a Golden I should add that he loved almost everyone.

    My latest conversation:

  10. TheJackB July 20, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    @bdorman264 Hey Bill. I expect that at the end of this journey many aspects of my life will be different. With some effort and luck they will be as good or better than now.

    The hard part is getting through it all.

    And you are right about dogs, no one nicer, better or more faithful.

    My latest conversation:

  11. MimiMeredith July 20, 2011 at 6:37 pm

    I don’t even know where to begin there’s so much here!! And I have a bazillion thoughts to share. Okay…maybe not, but enough to make you feel that you have, indeed mastered the art of brevity in comparative measure.

    First. Who’s your inner critic? Just wondering. Who does that voice belong to and what right do they have to turn over every misstep when you make so many wonderful leaps forward?

    Second. If any of us ever feels that we have truly met our potential for goodness, than perhaps we aren’t expecting enough of ourselves.

    Third. If you haven’t read The Art of Racing in the Rain, you might enjoy it. Our first family dog, Hunter, was a golden. I loved the book. And, as you know, I love Sage the Wonder Dog. Sage trys to teach me something every day. I wish I knew more people as loyal and loving as she.

    Fourth. I cried at Lemonade Mouth. I cry at coffee commercials. I very rarely have cried for myself. I can count the times, actually. But I am a push over for anything that triggers a tender thought. (I think I was really, really tired when my daughter and I watched Lemonade Mouth, but she won’t ever let me forget that I was crying at the end!)

    Fifth. When you give yourself credit for the things you do well in a day and treat yourself with a little kindness and gentle regard (sort of like you would your child…but I hate using the term inner child because it sounds all woo woo, which I’m generally not), you will find you have more energy to do what needs to be done. When you berate yourself and constantly reflect on what you lack, it doesn’t exactly make you want to rise to the next occasion or risk unbridled joy.

    Sixth. I’m going to stop now. (Sighs of relief all around.) I think you’re a good writer and a thoughtful guy. I’m glad the Big Lug is still breaking through to let you know that life is good and so are you!

    My latest conversation:

  12. bdorman264 July 20, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    Good story Jack, made me a little teary thinking about my dog I had to put down Memorial Day weekend. Dog’s truly are man’s best friend.

    Sometimes it is very hard to just let go.

    Wherever this journey is taking you and this fire within your belly, I hope you find your way and it will be a fulfilling journey indeed.

  13. TheJackB July 19, 2011 at 11:39 pm

    @marianne.worley I get that- they are amazing, these furry friends of ours. They really do so much for us and ask for so little in return.

  14. marianne.worley July 19, 2011 at 11:31 pm

    I have those dreams too. When I remember times past, nearly every point in my life has some connection to a best friend who always listened and never judged. So much joy, so many possibilities. My current Big Lug is actually a Little Guy, and he thinks I can do anything. And he helps me believe I can too.

  15. The3DRenderer July 19, 2011 at 9:55 pm

    @TheJackB – Yes, they do. 🙂

  16. TheJackB July 19, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    @The3DRenderer Thanks. He was simply wonderful. That picture doesn’t portray how massive his head was, but the eyes ring true.

  17. The3DRenderer July 19, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    @TheJackB – I agree with you on that, Jack. Tears are needed in appropriate moments, especially in remembering. 🙂 Glad to know your dog.

  18. TheJackB July 19, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    @The3DRenderer Ah, I am smiling. There is far more to smile about than cry- but life does have its moments. 🙂

  19. The3DRenderer July 19, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    @TheJackB – Anything to make you smile after that cry, Jack. 🙂

  20. TheJackB July 19, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    @The3DRenderer Thank you for the tweet, I appreciate it.

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