Max defies whatever fleeting control I have over him multiple times a day. Sometimes I think he means to do so and sometimes not. And I guess that, if nothing else, this behavior of Max has taught me over and over how little control I have over things around me outside of how I prepare for them and respond to them.
And Max’s most consistent defiance of control? Pooping.
As they say, everybody poops….
I guess it seems like an overwhelming frequent activity of his because I am present for every single one of his poops. The only time I am not present is when I am away and someone else is taking care of him. So, the only being besides Max with whom I’ve been present at a greater percentage of lifetime poops is myself.
I’ve gotten to where I can more or less predict when and where Max will poop. He, like many of us, likes his routine.
Before we got in synch though, it was really frustrating. I often think I’m busy and that I don’t have time to dally waiting for the…um…you-know-what to drop.
After we’ve more or less gotten in synch, it is still often frustrating. I still think I’m busy and that I can’t always dally waiting for, oh you know the rest.
But you really can’t control bowel movements. I guess you can kind of control your own, but you really can’t control another being’s.
I’ve wanted so desperately to make Max poop at a certain time in a certain place (right by the trash can), but I had to give up on that dream immediately.
And that lack of control has taught me more than anything that “bowel movements” happen. Things don’t always go the way I want them to or imagined they would. Often my life, and this world, is a mess, and no matter who is responsible, the grass simply isn’t so green anymore.
Nevertheless, my experience with Max has made me realize I can be prepared for those moments and react to them appropriately. I can enter the situation with an attitude of service and willingness to clean rather than an attitude of flinging the stuff around or troding straight through it. I can dispose of it well, even if that means I have to turn around and go back the way I came or go a completely different route than I had planned.
Moreover, Max has taught me that often cleaning the poop up is a delicate procedure. It is all too easy to miss part or smush it into the ground more. Once the poop has dropped it is volatile and though it can be uncomfortable dealing with it, it must be handled with patience and delicacy.
But ultimately Max has taught me I have to do something. Poop happens and I have to respond in some way. I can leave it – that is an option. But then I have to be prepared to step in it some time later.
So thank you Max for teaching me that poop happens and that while I often have no control of such crappy circumstances, I do have the option to respond in an appropriate way. Thank you for teaching me to clean up the poop in this world rather than making a bigger mess.