Sick

Max has been a little sick the past couple of days. This morning I awoke to quite the mess around my apartment, though I’ll leave the nasty details out.

As I mentioned in the last post he also has an ear infection and I imagine the two are somehow connected. Nevertheless, the poor guy can’t seem to catch a break right now.

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I wish I knew better what was wrong so that I could do more than just clean up after him. I want to fix his problems and make him healthy. I keep thinking, if I only knew more about dog biology I could examine him and fix what is broken.

Sure, there is the internet with all its vast wisdom and I’ve definitely checked to see what others have done when their pets exhibit the same symptoms. But I still feel inadequate. Despite all that advice I cannot simply fix him.

Through this process with Max, I have been forced to realize this is the same way I approach similar situations with other people. I want to examine, know and fix. Whether it is a physical problem, a psychological one, or an emotional or spiritual one, my first reaction is to provide an answer or a cure. Even if that is not what is most needed or expected.

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And Max, as far as I can tell, does not blame me. He does not expect me to fix him. And that gives me both comfort and the realization that my role is not to fix him. My role is to be there for him through the mess and sick.

I’ve learned this role not only through these moments of Max’s sickness, but also in my own sickness. I have been ill several times since owning Max and even fairly recently. During my sickness Max could in no way provide a cure. In fact, he was often less than helpful in tugging my weak body around on walks. But at the end of the day, he was there for me. His presence gave me peace even as the sickness raged inside me.

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Max has taught me that in these moments of sickness, presence and love are what matter most. Too often I rush for a cure (and often before I really know the problem) rather than focusing on being a comforting presence. True, finding a cure is important and necessary, but it is not the only thing that needs to be provided. There are appropriate avenues for finding cures and often that does not include me directly. While that frustrates me, I have learned through Max that everyone can offer loving care in those moments of sickness.

So thank you Max for caring for me and teaching me that I can be a caring presence for you and others even if I don’t have all the answers or cures.  Thank you for teaching me that I don’t always need to fix, but that I can always show love.

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