Celebrate

Hi, I’m Max and I like to party.

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Max is always ready to celebrate. We had people over at several times this past holiday season and each time Max came to life. He would be half asleep on his bed, not expecting anything special to happen. Then the door would open and in came people he has seldom or never seen before, and he popped up and was immediately a whole new dog.

It could be that Max just loves human attention…well, that’s definitely a primary reason. But I am still inspired by Max’s ability to always be ready to celebrate something.

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In a lot of ways, this past year has not been one of celebration. The news cycle has worn me and many others down and I have felt more disheartened and anxious about so many things.

And yet, each day I get home and Max is ready to party, ready to celebrate.

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On one hand, he has taught me that it is easy to celebrate when you are ignorant of all the sad things going on in the world. But he has also taught me that the escapist lifestyle is not a good path to follow.

So, I’ve been searching for some other lesson related to Max’s celebratory demeanor. And I have found that Max has also taught me that there is good in the world in the loving presence we share. That is worth celebrating. That is worth offering to others.

Max has taught me that things are never going to be perfect, but that in whatever is going on, there are people (and dogs) to love and share life with.

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While this kind of celebrating does come from a privileged place, I don’t think it is sugar coating otherwise crappy realities. Max has certainly taught me to mourn when things are sad and he has even been there for me in the downs of life. But Max has also helped me cultivate an underlying joy that guides me to celebrate the love I experience in my life even when it can be hard to find reasons to by happy.

Max has taught me that celebrating love and shared life does not always have to come with tail wagging. Max is certainly exuberant every now and then, but also I know Max celebrates in the more mundane things, like mornings laying by my feet as I get ready and evenings as we all watch TV.

And I have noticed that he is celebratory even before he receives anything. He is happy just because we are around each other. I think Max celebrates being able to show me attention as much as he is happy to receive it. Max has taught me the joy that comes with both receiving and giving loving attention and presence.

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As I look back on the past year, I am grateful to remember all the times Max celebrated our time together – the ways he shared love just because we could be present with one another. And as I look forward to a new year, I hope to celebrate more of that presence and love with Max. I certainly hope it is a year that brings more joy and light in the darkened places of the world, but regardless, Max has taught me that there is a love worth celebrating and highlighting in this world over and against any darkness.

So, thank you Max for celebrating with me. And thank you for teaching me to look for and celebrate the love I can give to and receive from others this year and every year.

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Birthday

Max’s birthday was this week. He turned four years old on November 8.

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And for the second year in a row, I completely forgot until several days later. This year I even thought about it the week before and double-checked the day, but when Sunday got here, I did not remember at all. And it shouldn’t ever be a difficult day for me to remember because it is the day before my sister’s birthday.

You can see how sad he is that I forgot.

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Actually, if he was disappointed, it was probably just because Sundays are very busy for me and I don’t get to spend much time with him on those days. I’m sure if he understood or cared about his birthday, he would let me know. Either way, he seems to be fine with a little extra attention and treats whenever they come his way.

But Max did teach me how bad I am at remembering important things like birthdays. While I don’t care much for celebrating my own birthday, I do like celebrating with others. I never intentionally put those things out of my mind; I just have a terrible time remembering them.

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So, Max taught me that since I can’t remember these things on my own, I should show I care by doing whatever I need to remind myself of these special days. I can be more intentional about putting them on my calendar and taking time every now and then to think forward and backward in time to see what I recently missed or what is coming up.

Max has taught me that such effort is a form of caring for those important people in my life and it leads to powerful ways of expressing that care.

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He taught me that remembering what is going on in people’s lives does take some extra time and thought, but that it is worth it to show the people in my life that they are important.

He taught me that celebrating others, like any form of expressing love, requires some effort. And the effort does not detract from the authenticity of the celebrating, but rather adds to the expression of care.

So, thank you Max for teaching me to put in a little more effort to remembering the important people in my life and the significant things about them. And I am very thankful that you have been on this world for four years and in my life for most of that! Happy Birthday!

Simple Things

Max has a keen knack for enjoying the simple things in life, like…

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Fresh air on the balcony

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A good meal and the occasional treat

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Fun toys

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Destroying fun toys

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A good belly rub

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A good head rub

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Chillin out on the nice cool tile

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Gazing out the window

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A refreshing walk

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The random scent of a bunny (and all the other smells outside)

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Just being outside

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An afternoon nap

A nice romp on the couch

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Wrestling

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And ultimately spending time with someone who loves him and whom he loves.

 

Thank you Max, for teaching me to enjoy the simple things in life and for enjoying them with me.