One of the first things I learned in preaching class, a whole lot of years ago, was that it’s not a wise idea to tell stories about your family from the pulpit without their willing permission.
This is often true for blogging, as well, so — just to be clear — Luther and his 4-footed sisters are totally ok with my telling you about our learning event last night.
In fact, I think Luther’s pretty proud!
We did half an hour of aerobic grooming, he and I.
Now, we’re not talking ready for Westminster but we are talking significant progress for a Newfoundland dog born in Michigan attempting to adapt to summer in Atlanta.
Luther didn’t learn grooming in the abysmal puppy mill from which he was rescued. It’s taken him a while to warm up to the idea.
And, because it’s still kind of scary for him and very close to the floor for me, we probably don’t do it as often as we ought.
I was thinking about that as I brushed four, maybe six, entire Pekingese dogs worth of hair out of Luther.
Here’s what I realized:
After all the knee surgeries and the back episodes and the cranky neck and shoulder, I’ve become quite the expert at stillness.
I think it goes even farther back than that.
I grew up in a time and place in which Children (especially sweet, girl children) should be seen and not heard.
Where Keeping the Peace meant staying out of whatever it was. Rather like telling the dogs to leave it! when they’re eyeing my quilt or pondering barking at the traffic.
Not good or bad, per se.
Just not the only thing we need to learn.
In fact, there are lots of moments when sitting quietly, barely breathing, in hopes that nothing will happen, may not get us where we want to go!
So, last evening, after a pretty busy day that involved things like customer service people at the domain name market (which I would generally avoid!) and a coaching call which turned out to be great, I put a pot of soup on the stove to warm and dragged my little wooden Uncle Epictetus stool up beside the dog bed in my studio space.
I turned on some inspiring music and laid out tea along with the slicker brush, a comb, scissors, and treats.
Suddenly, I had three big dogs willing to play along!
Luther, however, didn’t make it to our recent spa day adventure, not being ready for strangers and dog brushes, so he was up first.
We started with the easy stuff. Back, shoulders, chest. And worked our way along to ears and tail which did require a couple of quick snips with the scissors.
I was exhausted, but still able to get up, which is a good thing.
Luther was pushing the edge of anxious and the soup was hot so we quit while we were ahead.
We didn’t make it to the belly, today.
But soon there will be another day when I’ll decide that a bit of intentional action might turn out better than keeping the peace.
And, in fact, that they’re not actually mutually exclusive!
Which is a good bit of noticing in the midst of aerobic dog brushing.
Then they all fell asleep and peace took over again.
Which is also worth noticing.
Next up, marathon Swiffering!