I currently live in a home with two cats, but that’s me being more of victim of circumstance rather than choice. Cat shows up, it has babies, your kids go nuts – the story writes itself.
Yet, when I was a child we were a dog family. On the days we would pretend to be good dog owners, we’d take him for a walk ( for some reason our dogs were invariably male).
We did not use a leash, because we were kids and my parents really didn’t care, and it was fun to watch him run. Our top dog was Prince, a beautiful German Shepherd. He was our pet, our defender, and our friend during a tumultuous childhood.
Prince would gallop about the neighborhood, gleefully chasing small dogs and cats that presented themselves. He would also pee. He’d pee on everything. Understand that this was before the time of leashes and pooper scoopers. No one did that. That was what grass was for was the wisdom of the time. Things were so much simpler those days.
Anyway, I remember Prince running about the neighborhood, peeing on tree after tree, and my mother telling me that he was marking his territory. When he’d come back from these marathon sprinkling sessions, he’d come back to me and I swear, Gentle Reader, that he was proud of himself. Prince would smile. He’d run around my legs, jumping around, and he clearly he wanted positive affirmation, since he had marked so many acres of land.
I was teen and had just a few years back had my Damascus moment. I saw things now through the lens of a believer and I recalled if this peeing on trees might be how God sees our accomplishments. We climb the corporate ladder, we don’t, we fight and fight to get from stage to stage and you have to wonder what God thinks of it. Does He care you get that promotion? Or even that dream job?
You might anticipate a No here, but its YES! Of course God cares. He doesn’t care about the accomplishment, but our happiness. I’m not a prosperity gospel kinda guy necessarily, but I believe God has gone through a lot of trouble to create us, with billions of lines of code (DNA) and countless years of guided evolution. It took a great deal for us to get to this place. How can we not follow our dreams and go for it?
So back to Prince. My dog’s saliva dribbled from his smiling face, and he wanted me to be proud of him. I patted him on his head, and I was so happy for him. I couldn’t care less about how much territory he scored – that was not why I cared. I cared because my faithful pet cared. It made him happy.
While I’m not about to claim any right to happiness, I do believe its okay to have a good life, and modulate your journey to speak to your heart.
Love is someone being as happy about your happiness as you are. Prince showed me love in this fashion as have others in the prevailing years. This is why all careers are equal to God. He has His own plan. Even if you aren’t religious, this perspective applies. When your kid or your spouse or your friend come up to you panting, thrilled about something they’ve done, be excited for them. Understand that loving on them when they’re happy, cheering their accomplishments, is demonstrating love at its very core. Everyone wants to have someone be proud of them. When they don’t make it, remind them that all of this accomplishment syndrome stuff is a silly hamster wheel. That their happiness is beyond all of that, because in the end it doesn’t matter how many trees you’ve peed on.