Music Monday: Dancing with Life

I believe in facing “what is” head on and learning to dance with the reality I’m handed… with one exception. Even though I know that loving someone or something is likely to end in, I chose to ignore the inevitable consequence and do it anyway.

About a year ago, when we were on our way to pick up our new yellow lab puppy, a friend commented that he couldn’t
understand why anyone our age would get a puppy, fall in love, and get so attached when they knew how the story would likely end. He wondered why we would invite such heartbreak when we could avoid it all together. He commented that he had experienced such pain in the past, was positive he couldn’t bear it again and so would intentionally avoid it. I totally understand his position. Totally. And, I couldn’t disagree with it more.

Life is risky. Love is riskier. Period. If we love anyone or anything, we can and probably will get hurt, experience grief, and feel pain. Sometimes we will see it coming and even though it is hard, it will make sense to us. Sometimes we will not see it coming, and it will blindside us with a sucker-punch to the gut that will take our breath away and temporarily make us question the benevolence of The Universe.

Choosing not to love because of the potential for loss is like refusing to drive because we fear being involved in an accident. If we miss the risk, we miss the freedom. If we miss the pain, we miss the love. If we miss the rejection, we miss the opportunity. If we miss the loss, we miss the life. We have to love like we won’t be hurt… even though we might… whether it’s a job, a child, a friend, or a puppy.

Last month, my friend’s prediction came true. Our sweet Shiloh wandered out to the highway on our Ranch and was hit by a car. We were dumbfounded and heartbroken and couldn’t catch our breath for days. Thinking about doing it all over again and loving another sweet puppy seemed utterly impossible, but we knew enough to simply give our shock and grief some space and time to flow through. And it did. We really are so much stronger and more resilient than we think.

A few weeks later, when Tom told me that our breeder had posted a new litter of puppies from Shiloh’s sire and her mom’s sister on Facebook… I knew he was healing and beginning to move from the past to the future once again. What choice does he (or any of us) really have but to eventually move forward with living? Everything’s in motion. Life is fluid. And love is worth the risk.

So … please say hello to Sierra… our newest little “risky business” of love. She’s already her own little personality, and yet we recognize the likeness of our sweet Shiloh in her face. What a gift.

Here’s what we don’t know:

  • We don’t know why Shiloh was taken from us so soon.
  • We don’t know how long we’ll have this little soul in our lives.
  • We don’t know which piece of furniture we’ll lose next in the process of puppyhood.

Here’s what we do know:

  • It takes courage to love and be loved fully.
  • We’re grateful for the beautiful time we had with Shiloh and for the confidence she gave us about how to raise a well-adjusted, well-behaved, and good-natured dog.
  • We’re crazy about Little Miss Sierra already.
  • New love of any kind breathes life back into a home and that includes new furniture, new lovers, new babies, and new puppies.
  • Our hearts are resilient and wide open, and apparently with unending room to love again and again and again. 

On this Music Monday (always the first Monday of every month), I’m resurrecting one of my favorite tunes, The Dance by Garth Brooks, which speaks to the tradeoff of living a full life and enjoying the profound gifts of an intimate relationship… even if the inevitable end of that time is painful.

Missing the pain means missing the dance. It’s one of life’s great tradeoffs. I hope you choose to dance.

Garth Brooks – The Dance

“Looking back on the memory of
The dance we shared ‘neath the stars above
For a moment all the world was right
How could I have known that you’d ever say goodbye

And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance

Holding you I held everything
For a moment wasn’t I a king
But if I’d only known how the king would fall
Hey who’s to say you know I might have changed it all

And now I’m glad I didn’t know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance I could have missed the pain
But I’d have had to miss the dance

Yes my life is better left to chance
I could have missed the pain but I’d have had to miss the dance”

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