I saw a message on a reader board that read: God, let me be the person my dog thinks I am. This message was posted sometime last year and I thought about pulling over to take a picture. I didn’t. I also thought about taking a picture of the condemned building of Saint James Episcopal church which is now nothing but an empty lot. It was a beautiful church. I never took a picture. I considered going to that church when I moved up here but working on Sundays put a damper on that plan. Now the building is gone and the congregation meets at another church space. Sometimes I consider joining them. Would that help me be the person my dog thinks I am?
At my gym was a message on the reader board about exercise being an antidepressant. This I know is true since I started going to the gym in January and have become more serious about exercise. I do more than walk the dog now, although I do still walk the dog. Exercise has helped stabilize my mood and helped me feel better about myself. Of course, my mood is not entirely stable and sometimes my family still thinks I should take pills. I am not always the person my dog thinks I am when I walk with him. Then I feel guilty for being a bad human, an imperfect human, if I happen to yell at him for pulling too hard or trying to go after something, like a rabbit. I must forgive myself and do better next time.
I just finished reading a book of stories about compassion by the Dalai Lama and one of his translators. There were many good stories and many good insights. The stories remind me of just how imperfect I am and how compassion is important. Over and over he mentions how we must have a warm heart. No new leaders or policies will change the world. People must warm their hearts and be more compassionate for anything to change. Is there hope for this? Sometimes I feel like there is information overload and I can’t take in anymore data. Sometimes I’d like all the extra items around the house to just vanish. Perhaps it is lazy of me to want to simplify my surroundings without going through the effort.
Compassion for animals comes easy to me. Compassion for other humans less easy although it goes along with my job. Compassion for those closest to me is different and becomes cloudy and it is where I struggle the most. I pray that in my head I can compliment rather than criticize and find praise rather than find fault. I pray that I can be warm and compassionate not only to those I care for at work but also to those who share my home.
In a letter, I mentioned to my grandmother my thoughts of feeling overwhelmed about the state of things in the world, wondering if there is any hope for us. She reminded me that I should narrow my focus and be present where I am. She wrote: “Brighten the corner where you are.”