Always Room to Improve
Our dog Suki is psychotic. At least when it comes to me. She constantly growls at me not in a I am going to bite you way but in a your presence gets on my nerves way. I do not fear the dog she is small compared to me and her teeth are unhealthy. She also feels a need to avoid me at all cost. She scampers away whenever I am near. She will not even go out the back door if I am sitting between her and the door. She will even do this when her prime motivators of food and I gotta pee are at stake. I have fed her special snacks, discipline her when she has growled at me, spent long times petting her as she trembled under my strokes until she stopped. But she still does not like me and growls away. I have learned to live with it. She is a pound dog and I do not know what has come before.
I have a rocking chair. It was my favorite Father’s Day gift ever. It is ergonomically perfect for me spiritually and physically. I sit in it and I feel better. It is the only thing that I own that makes me feel this way. Of course, in the narrative of this story Suki chews the wood on the chair permanently scarring it. When my wife told me this I was sadden and angry. After sitting in another chair assessing the damage I got up quietly and walked away to catch myself. Suki was in the room where I usually sit and she panicked when she saw me and started her frantic bouncing and pacing from the other side of the dining room table from end to end anxiously waiting what am I going to do. Sometimes she will growl to let me know she is not pleased. I usually ignore it. But today the psychotic dog was doing her psychotic thing and I lost it I threw a book at her and hit her. Not a big book, definitely not an expensive book. I am a bibliophile after all. For a period of about an hour I raged at her not to scare her but to make my wife know I was not pleased at her dog.
My friends always expect more from me than I can give them. Sometimes I do not take charge in that manly way which would make my life and theirs easier. I am too much about consensus to do this. Sometimes I do not believe in a philosophical ideal or social practice as they so want me to do. Sometimes I am not good enough to pull off the things they expect me to do professionally or spiritually. Sometimes I let the other side win because the fight does not seem worth it to me. Climb your ladders control your little fiefdom it is such a small matter to me. And for the most part this I have learned to accept will be the eventual end of their expectations and sometimes the closeness of our friendship. But there our times when I am by myself I will weep and tears will fall deep in my soul that I was not good enough to make the things I knew to be the right come into being. I am no Mother Theresa or Martin Luther King Jr. That is not an excuse it just is.
The night after Suki chewed my rocking chair I had a dream. I process a lot in my dreams so I try to be aware of them. In the dream I am playing football and we are playing a team of Nazis in a holocaust camp. I want to beat them so bad. I take the ball (of course I am the quarterback) and get the defense to come to me and I toss the ball at the last minute. The awaiting teammate has the field clear for them. It is the perfect option play. The runner is free I chase after them to block anyone that might tackle them. I am pull my hamstring but I push ahead to ensure a touchdown. The runner starts calling out to the crowd for friends who are always there cheering them on. But today they are not around. I am shouting for them to not be distracted but to keep running and score the touchdown. This is all happening in slow motion replay in my dream. The runner suddenly without warning runs out of bounds to his friend’s house to check on them. I am angry at him and chase him into the courtyard where he has finally found his friends. His friends welcome him even though he has obviously interrupted a ceremony. The ceremony is the unveiling of a statue of a mutual friend of all of us who has died while doing the right thing. I wake up.
I am a religious anarchist. Religion is only good when it offers improvement of the lot of humanity and myself. If we put most of religion on a scale of justice it would fail this assessment; especially Western Christianity. Those churches who are neutral in the damage they are doing or harmful should die out and leave humanity alone. Jesus spewed out of his mouth the lukewarm church of Laodecia and judges harshly the church of Ephesus for losing its first love in the book of Revelation. I believe you must live your convictions, even when they hurt or make no sense to anyone else as long as they are not harmful. If you do not live your convictions you are not living at all.
I owe Suki an apology, she was disciplined and that should have been enough. I owe my wife an apology by wanting her to feel the pain her dog had caused me, And I owe my daughter an apology for setting an example of how not to be in this world. I have to plan out these apologies because I am no Mother Theresa. My faith must make me act and be useful to me and humanity or it should die.