Sunday, June 23, 2013
on A BLACK LAB TEACHES ME EVERYTHING IN CHURCH
I slid into the pew about ten minutes after mass had started. I'm a late person. I just am. When I left the apartment almost at the time church started, I figured I'd be much later than just ten minutes, so actually I was delighted with myself.
There was a homeless person in the pew in front of me, laying down, asleep, so there was a massive amount of seating open in that area. An invisible bubble of nonsense protection from whatever it is that people think they'll get from homeless people. For the latecomer here, this was great news, because it meant that I got a seat.
When I sat, I saw it; the flash of a long black tail whip up and around underneath the pew. And then my ears heard a familiar jingle of collar tags knocking into each other. And then out slid one paw, followed by the other, and bang, she was licking my feet. A beautiful black lab hanging out under the pew while her family took in the service. My kind of people. Her mom apologized profusely, but I shook her off. The only thing I could possibly think of to make a relaxing Sunday morning at church better, would be if there were dogs in every pew.
Every time she let out a little whimper, or thumped her head by accident, or jangled, or did one of the many other things that pups do, various people turned their heads, trying to place what the noise was. Add to this, the various screaming children who are either very upset, or are praising god in a way that adults somehow forget after age six. Parents who are shushing and hushing and rocking and reasoning. And then add the many other shuffles and sounds that come with a large amount of humans - jittery, cell phone having, busybusybusynewyorkers - all gathered in one quiet place. And I noticed something: the heads turning, the comments made, the stares and eye rolls and judgements. One couple got me, in particular. They were the first to whip their heads around when the sweet dog made a noise, every time. Yet they maintained a conversation between the two of them the entire mass. And this got me thinking.
Why were they here? To fulfill an obligation? Or because they wanted to be? Were they just punching in and out each week in order to earn enough star stickers to win extra good karma? And then ever further: Why do we do the things we do? Why do I do the things I do? What's the impulse? Reasoning?
I was speaking with a friend last night who mentioned they were considering making a decision based on filling their savings account. Now, you don't have to tell me about money. I'm an artist, for pete's sake. There are many moments where I'm like 'shoot I would be down to do that just to make the money'. Anyway, my answer to this was 'What do you want your life to look like? if you want to be in new york city, then be in new york city. If you want to feel secure knowing you have this check coming in and money being saved, then do that. If you want to move to, like, Atlanta, then move to Atlanta.' If she wants to make money right now, then she should absolutely do that. It's not for me to understand, it is only for her to do. Actively choose and do, based on what she wants for her life. Now, if the answer actually is that she wants to become a deep sea diver off the coast of some island but she's just too scared to pursue it.. well, that's a whole other thing. But if there's no fear, just an actual decision, then boom. There you go, do that.
I think this is one of the biggest blessings and curses of modern day living and freedom. We can literally choose anything that we want for our lives and then make it happen. Sure some choices come with a lot of hard work, a lot of money needed, a huge change, etc, but it's up to us. And there are so many choices, it can be overwhelming and much easier to stay where we're at, doing what we're doing, exactly as we are.
I'm rambling. I do this. I guess what I mean to say is: why are you doing the things you're doing? What do you want your life to look like? What would it look like if you took out a notebook and wrote out everything you want for your life, how you want it to look, where you want to be, heck even what sights and sounds and smells you want (or don't want) - what would it look like? And are you checking in with those ideas?
As for me, I've got a puppy friend here, and a blank notebook, and I believe it's high time to go sit by the water and check in with what I want, what I'm doing, and why I'm doing it. And then mayhaps enjoy an iced treat because holymoly it's hot.
Happy Sunday, friends.