Friday night I laid awake anticipating Oliver. Now that I think about it, this is the first time I consciously made a decision to get another dog, albeit with some arm-twisting from my daughter. My dearly departed best friends, Lydia, a Beagle-Cocker mix, was a birthday surprise; and I sort of inherited Bear, a Sheppard-Husky, and Ben, a Yellow Lab. Who in their right mind would consciously choose to be tied down, saddled with intensive training, property damage, higher food costs and vet bills that rival my own medical expenses? It certainly would not be me, the Mother of Perpetual Responsibility. But Lydia, Bear and Ben, each in their own way, quickly won my heart. They all taught and comforted me through the joy and sorrow they brought into my life.
Saturday morning, Yellow Lab, Oliver entered my life. And I have an inkling of what he has come to teach me. Last week, Wisconsin Public Radio’s Joy Cardin’s show titled, “Gaining Power Through Letting Go,” featured Judith Orloff, author of “The Ecstasy of Surrender.” I felt Orloff’s use of the word surrender very inviting. She said surrendered people know when to let go and when to control. Since much of my life was spent struggling against abusive power, I never understood surrender as the positive force it can be. But I do now recognize coming to trust in the slow work of God, with worries surrounding my aging parents’ care, was ultimately true and positive surrender. What if I just, up front, surrendered myself to all the joy and sorrow this fragile little being named Oliver will now bring into my life?
It’s hard to imagine anything cutter than a 9 week old Labrador puppy. He had his first vet appointment today and lit up the office with his cuteness. I was relieved the vet was not concerned with his frequent scratching and very loud snoring the minute he nods off. Surrendering to whatever Oliver brings into my life makes letting go of worry and dancing with joy seem so much more possible now.
What if we all pondered the ecstasy in surrender?