The precious puppy died. Maybe his little life had a purpose.
On my arrival here in Guatemala two weeks ago, four busy little joyful puppies greeted me vying for my attention. They would lick the salt off my legs after I had been running; they would push to get into the house when I opened the door. Mostly they did what puppies usually do - they made me happy!
Another week went by and one started looking a little smaller than the others; his little tail didn't wag quite as vehemently; he was always the one pulling up the rear. Then Tuesday, it was me who seemed to lag behind. I got the infamous stomach bug here and I had a night of "vomitando". But I took my cipro and slept a good bit and by the morning, I felt much better. But that morning, I looked at the little puppy I had grown to love and he looked like I felt the night before. He just laid there. Couldn't bring himself to give a tail wag. He didn't have the words to complain; didn't have the assurance that of course, he would be OK. His little siblings pretty much ignored him. Maybe it was because I had been sick that I felt so especially sad for him. I wondered if he "knew" that his little life wasn't here for long. I wondered if he "felt" sad or miserable or if there was just no feeling left at all.
One of his brothers has turned out to be particularly aggressive which is good if you've been created for the purpose of being used as a guard dog. He struts around already at six weeks clearly the leader of the pack.
So the whole scene was kind of a mirror of humanity.
Yesterday, we left in the morning to work in a distant place called Sayaxche. We spent the night and came back this evening. The car door opened and sure enough there were now only three puppies. He put up a great fight but finally, he couldn't do it. Hanssel had buried him already in the backyard.
Of course, we see it all the time. We are all created so differently - some strong, some so very weak. Some live a long life and do lots of great things; others are gone before they get a chance to even make a choice about anything. But weak or strong, I guess our lives can still make great impacts - even if we're just a 6 week old puppy.
That little pup's life made a difference at least in my life. He made me smile; he made me laugh; he made me cry and he made me angry at the injustice of suffering and death before it's intended time. He reminded me of all the pain and injustice that I sometimes see here. He also reminded me how sometimes the most vulnerable can bring others the most happiness.
And then tonight I read this poem and it seemed to pull all my thoughts together. It's written by Pulitzer Prize poet, Mary Oliver
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-- the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down--
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don't know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn't everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?