March 16, 2021 Hope Has a Cold Nose

For the Audio Version, click play above

Dear readers,

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language.  And next year’s words await another voice. – T.S. Eliot

The power of perception,  

The power of our starting points. 

Perhaps when you read the quote by T.S. Eliot you immediately thought of 2020.  Maybe your first thought was of what many are referring to of this week.  It marks the one-year anniversary in which life became “unprecedented times”, times unlike anything any of us had ever known. 

Or maybe you are still trying to find some sense of certainty amidst a long journey of uncertainty and reading next year’s words await another voice strikes a nerve.  How can you even begin to think of 2022 when I am still trying to find a foothold with 2021 might be the words you would like to mutter to me. 

The power of our starting points.

In how we choose – consciously or subconsciously – to see and hear.

Ginger rescued us in December of 2014.  Ginger came into our lives approximately 3 months after our dear Roo left Earth, and about 9 months earlier than our plan to get another dog.  Roo was not a service dog, but she was my best friend and my soul mate through a significant walk of darkness on my life journey.  Prior to Roo’s cancer diagnosis, my husband and I had thought we would always have a German Shorthair Pointer as part of our home.  When Roo left Earth, I was certain any future fur that decorated our home could not be the German Shorthair kind. 

Roo sent Ginger to us, in all Ginger’s glorious mixture of maybe whippet, maybe retriever, maybe the shelter just didn’t know for sure, but certainly no semblance of Shorthair in Ginger’s wonderful tan and white coat.  My husband and I knew we were gaining a complete home again, but we did not know we had gained a thief.   Ginger stole our hearts and proved to me that we are not just blessed with one lifetime soul mate.  We can be blessed to have more than one, if we choose to open our hearts, see, and allow. 

Fast forward to November 2019 and I find myself driving to Indiana “just” to look at a female puppy with the potential she would come home to be my husband’s pheasant finding partner.   I enter a building and look down into a meet and greet pen containing two puppies.  One is bouncing like Tigger, and the other is sitting watching “Tigger” and watching the kennel owner and me with these most intent, watchful, drink it all in eyes. 

I quickly learn Tigger has a destiny with owners a few states away, and I think oh, good luck dear owners making that long drive home with “Tigger”!   I bend down, reach out my hand palm facing up to the other puppy, who very quietly, gently, puts her chin in my hand and I think she is the one!  She will be perfect as my husband’s bird finding partner. 

After all, that was my starting point.  Finding my husband his bird finding partner. 

Not another Shorthair to steal my heart. 

I am not sure who has been the ringleader in further teaching me what Roo initially started.  There is always more than we initially hear and see.  Actually, I think it might just be a conspiring among all three; a certain Shorthair pointing angel above, Ginger, and a joyful, curious, comical, scatterer of shorthairs throughout our entire house again – aka Kutana – who has not put her quiet, gentle, chin in my hand since that first day we did meet!

Who knew she finds nibbling fingers on a hand as if they are a pacifier much more comforting, Or fun!

Always more than we initially see!  {smile}{laughter}

Recently I was in dialogue with someone who was feeling significantly conflicted with another individual.   As I listened to her share this part of her story, I found myself dancing that dance of grace between opposites as I discerned if I would be demonstrating compassion and understanding by sharing a part of my story or if I would be robbing this person of what was most important in our moments of dialogue – that her story was the only story that mattered.   If I shared, would I be offering a reframing that she might see her story differently?  Or would I be sending a message that I was listening to talk and not listening to listen? 

I opted to share a part of my story, which was about a person I had been significantly conflicted with in my life.  I shared about how this person was far from being my close friend, yet I had come to view this person as my best teacher – for we learn best through opposites after all, and we learn best when it is a challenge, or so I believe.   I shared how at one point, after this person was no longer in my life, I came to understand that during our relationship, when I was certain I was not good enough to be this person’s best friend, this person had felt during our relationship they were not good enough to be mine.   Though we thought we were on opposite sides of a spectrum, we were both starting from the same place of “not enough”. 

I cannot help thinking that so many of us think we are starting from different places with others, when in actuality, we may both be feeling a fundamental similarity.  

Like.

Worthiness.

Or not.

At the very beginning of the pandemic’s unfolding, I was deeply moved by a post a stranger had shared on social media in which this stranger was struggling with how much attention was being given to what was at the time a very small percentage of deaths related to the pandemic.  Their struggle was because in comparison, the number of deaths at that time did not begin to compare to the twenty-two veteran suicidal deaths per day.   Their starting place was why aren’t more people upset about the level of hopelessness that is stealing life?  

As someone who deeply values hope, whose heart hurts at the thought that people reach a point in which they feel more hope can be found in not living, I can appreciate the starting point for this stranger.  I recently read that every 40 seconds someone in the world dies by suicide.   In the time it has taken me to write what I have thus far, that is 135 lives.  

If you have taken 15 minutes to read this far, that is 22 lives. 

There is always more to hear and see.   What else can we see and hear to bring more hope into the world?

Perhaps new starting places in how we are listening and in what our eyes are looking for.

Each one of us sees in others what we carry in our own hearts – Ralph Waldo Emerson

May wellbeing continue to hold you in its tight embrace.

Sincerely,

-Christine

P.S.  I would like to ask each of you for your help.   Let’s pay it forward.   If you find even one sentence in this update inspiring in some way, please share it with another person who comes to your mind.   In doing so, I cannot help thinking we cascade further ripples of hope into the world.  In advance, thank YOU for sharing! 

Also, I had the sacred privilege of being interviewed by the Doggy Diva Show for a podcast that aired this past Saturday, March 13th – Canine Veteran’s Day!   Thank you to the Doggy Diva Show for featuring Hope Has a Cold Nose!

You can listen by clicking this link below:

https://audioacrobat.com/play/WMJbRv8f

Listening, Empathy, Awareness & Dignity: LEADership Through Storytelling & Companionship

https://www.gonzaga.edu/school-of-leadership-studies/news-events/leadership-through-storytelling-and-companionship

To purchase Hope Has a Cold Nose:

Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/s?k=christine+hassing&ref=nb_sb_noss_1

Barnes and Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/hope-has-a-cold-nose-christine-hassing/1137781095?ean=9781982255282

Balboa Press:

https://www.balboapress.com/en/bookstore/bookdetails/811622-hope-has-a-cold-nose

or you can contact me: https://christinehassing.com/contact/

For additional impactful and powerful information regarding the healing impact of service dogs, please visit https://www.northwestbattlebuddies.org/a-vision-of-hope/.    

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