June 2021 Hope Has a cold Nose

Dear All,

Every life deserves a certain amount of dignity, no matter how poor or damaged the shell that carries it. – Rick Bragg

Her authenticity includes a tail that is meant to position itself in a straight line directly out from her body when she is on point at a bird.  Or sometimes an occasional squirrel.  Or a turtle.  {smile} Yet there are times in which her tail points straight up into the air, as if a flag waving.  Every time it does, it is because Kutana is happy.  

It could be something she is doing.  Like discovering something new in her yard that moves inside a hard shell and then stops moving as soon as a friendly, curious, VERY energetic Kutana  with very fast moving paws starts investigating by flipping this hard shelled new “toy” on its back, picking it up in her mouth, and then dropping it down an embankment before I can get Kutana’s attention with “No!” and rescue what I am now certain is a dizzy from somersaulting panicked painter turtle!  

Sometimes her tail wags simply by hearing Goooooood gggiiirrrrlllll!  I can see her body fill with pride, and then I see the wheels in her mind start to turn as she starts to hurriedly look for what else she can do to repeat what she just did so that she can receive another Goooooood gggiiirrrrl!  

Her sister Ginger adds a little sway to her happy tail wag when she hears me say my version of “good girl” to her.  Yes sir, she’s my baby. No sure, I don’t mean maybe!  Since the first night Ginger came home after rescuing us when we met her at a shelter, I have sing-songed these words of endearment to her.   Ginger does something else along with her tail wag and sway.  She turns her head and gives me a smile.  

Pride.  

Dignity. 

A feeling of being worthy. 

A feeling of worthiness we give others.

In the words we say. 

And the actions we take.

A couple of days ago I was spending time with a dear friend, and we were talking about…life.  {smile} More specifically, one particular portion of our conversation was about what gets said when someone passes from this lifetime.  My dear friend wisely shared how when she hears He or she was so young! she wants to say, no, he or she was seventy-four years old.  How about let’s say instead what a good life that person lived!  How about if we say they had been hurting for some time; thankfully, the pain they were in has now ended and they are in peace.   Let’s give them dignity for the life they lived. 

Perhaps her words resonated because of my starting place in listening to my dear friend.   I have this perspective that how we hear others speak is based on where our hearts our starting from in listening to what is being said.  

My heart was already starting from a place of giving worth to a life lived.

Even if, or especially if, that life ended in pain.

A few weeks ago, I received a text from another dear friend sharing with me that she had just received news that one of her friends/ coworkers had taken her own life.  First my heart went out to my dear friend.  For many reasons.  One, that my dear friend was experiencing yet another sorrowful moment.  From my vantage point, she had been having her share lately.   Two, I could only imagine what it was to walk in her shoes of shock.  Of sadness.  Of helplessness. 

And a small step of gratitude.  And thankfulness. 

That the news was not about her son who journeys with P.T.S.D. 

I have known there have been times in the past she was afraid that his pain would become too much for him to bear.

And then I went to bed thinking about my friend’s friend – a veteran who had reached her end of hope.

I woke up the next morning thinking about the veteran who had reached her end of hope.

I kept thinking about this someone I had never met who I am certain lived an extraordinary life.   Yet was she being remembered with dignity for all that she had been before the last millimeter of the dash between her years (birth – death) contained the letters s u i c i d e?

Or was she now being remembered for her brokenness?    Would her legacy now become a fulfillment of what she may have most felt when she was alive?   If she had felt fragmented and unable to feel a belonging with the world, would her memory in the minds and hearts of others now be stamped with the certainty she was damaged and “different’?   

The place from which our hearts start from in how we listen.   And in the actions we take. 

To find ways to give dignity to the brokenness people feel before they reach the end of hope.  Like pawed feet and cold noses who unconditionally accept without judgment and walk beside veterans on their healing journeys with P.T.S.D.  

And if we learn of someone who reached their end of hope, let us give them dignity by looking past the last millimeter of the dash before their death to compassionately celebrate the extraordinary life they lived. 

There is nobility in compassion, a beauty in empathy, a grace in forgiveness – John Connolly

Sincerely,

-Christine

For an interview featuring Hope Has a Cold Nose, please tune in to Channel 8, Monday, June 14th at this link:

Welcome to The Authors Show® | The Authors Show (wnbnetworkwest.com)

If you have enjoyed this month’s message, please pay it forward to others.  They can also subscribe to future emails by visiting www.christinehassing.com     Namaste.’ 

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