Tonight, I was sitting at my desk, working on the edits for my upcoming Christmas novella, Jingle This!, when I heard strange sounds coming from the kitchen. They sounded suspicious enough that I decided it was worth extricating myself from my fuzzy blanket to see what was going on. When I walked into the kitchen, what did I see? My 70 lb dog standing on the kitchen counter (with all four feet!), with his head in the sink licking the dinner dishes.
Now, some of you are thinking, "Holy cow! I would freak! That dog should be relocated immediately!"
Normally, I might agree with you. But instead, I just leaned against the door frame and smiled, enjoying the moment as he finally looked up and saw me, and then wagged his tail, and then proceeded to carefully walk back across the counter, step onto the kitchen table, and walk across the kitchen table to say hello to me.
Why was I enjoying the moment so much? Because when I rescued my dog from a shelter 3 months ago (courtesy of Shultz's Guest House, an amazing rescue organization), he was 20 lbs underweight, all skin and bones. He had hardly any fur because lack of food and stress had made it all fall out. He was tentative in the house, afraid of the noises in the kitchen, and not interested in food. It took weeks for me to get him to start eating regularly (I tried everything I could think of to make his food appetizing), and even longer for him not to be afraid of the thudding of the dishwasher of the clank of the dishes. He wouldn't even take treats out of my hand, because he was too stressed to eat.
Over the last three months, I have watched him evolve from a reserved, skinny dog into an ebullient, dynamic bundle of love and energy, with a beautiful coat and solid, well-padded body. So, as I stood there watching him eat out of the sink. I was filled with such joy, because that sweet boy would NEVER have done anything like that three months ago, or even a month ago. But today, he's interested enough in food to go scavenging in the sink, and he's got enough courage and spunk to climb up on the table and go on off-roading adventures in the kitchen. He has come alive, and his spirit is soaring again, and that's why it was such a beautiful moment.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in the "should's" and "should nots" in life, that we get too focused on the "rules" and doing everything right, that we forget to see the sheer beauty in moments that maybe, at first glance, don't look so beautiful. I am so glad that I was in the frame of mind tonight to see the joy and beauty in the moment, because it was a gift that is still making me smile.