Learning from Others

A friend recently told me about her son Aidan’s art project – designing and then constructing a totem pole. She is amazingly creative – a hair stylist extraordinaire. In telling about the project, she sheepishly admitted to catching herself wanting to commandeer the project. What a gem awareness is!

Aidan’s family totem pole featured himself as a eagle (maybe to soar?), his younger brother as a dog, because he is loyal, his dad as a bear (strong, maybe) and his mother as an owl (wise, I am sure!) His brother really liked being portrayed as a dog. So would I.

Some of the best beings I’ve known are dogs. What amazing creatures! They teach without talking. They love without conditions. Their joy is visceral – from head to tail. And so delightfully contagious. My husband was once healed of a nasty headache when he stopped to watch to dogs playing together. (I imagine the playful bows, tongues lolling out of one side of their mouths, grinning and then racing around each other, taking turns in a back and forth game of tag.)

He was so immersed in their joyful play, the headache just left – evaporated in the presence of good. I am in awe of how powerful good is. In many cultures, it’s a synonym for God. I remember what I was taught as a child – The 5 G’s for God. I taught it to many Sunday School pre-schoolers, too – holding their little hands and gently touching each finger tip saying, ‘God, Good, Guards, Guides , Governs.’ And then having them close that little hand and hold it over their heart, reminding them that this ever-presence, called God, was always with them, in their heart.

In looking in their eyes, I often felt they may have known this, more as a heart-feel than the words I recited – as part of their forever being.

I think my dog knows it as well, without needing the 5 G pointers!

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