Lessons From a Friend

“Life can either be a burden and a chore or a challenge and a joy”
                                                                                              -As We Understood

One thing I know for sure is we will all have challenges in life and sometimes these challenges come in bundles called seasons of life. My last 2 weeks have been filled with challenges. At the top of the list was learning news about a cherished loved one’s failing health.

My 11-year old Golden Retriever, Addie was diagnosed with kidney disease 3 years ago and until the last couple of weeks she had been doing quite well.  This new turn began at mealtime.  I would place yummy homemade food in Addie’s bowl and instead of lapping up every delicious bite as she normally does, she looked in her bowl then up at me to say, “I’m not hungry right now.” After a couple of days of hand feeding and encouraging Addie to eat, it was time to go to the doctor to investigate further.  Her blood work came back indicating the function and health of her kidneys were not good and now at life threatening levels. Our trusted veterinarian advised me that now is the time to begin preparing for the inevitable.

The next several days were fairly uneventful and as long as Addie was taking her medication, she was feeling pretty good.  Then one afternoon, without warning, Addie began showing more signs of the illness.  The days to follow brought on many painful emotions as we her family came to accept the truth of having to say goodbye soon. Then out of nowhere she began to eat and wagged her tail as if to say, “I’m not ready yet!”

Almost two weeks have past and today Addie is on several medications, an appetite stimulant and receiving daily subcutaneous IV fluids which we were trained to do at home.  The first couple days of following this routine seemed challenging and quite the chore.  If I can be really honest, at the end of the day, heavy and burdensome could describe reality if I allow my thoughts to go there.

The mindset of heavy and burdensome

No doubt this life challenge is difficult, but If I remain in the heaviness of it all then I am likely to miss out on any joy that is available.  The joy in all the hours and minutes when she wags her tail, asks to go outside to lay in the soft grass to sunbath or play fetch the ball, bark at the back fence, or be with the family enjoying lots of hugs and pets.  Or the joy in the days when she feels like eating and asks for leftovers from dinner or from everyone’s plate before we are even finished.

I will be the first to admit that I realize Addie’s time here on earth is short, but in the meantime, she is teaching me without realizing……that in these daily challenges…. joy can be found.  I am filled with pure joy as Addie is patient and kind with me as I learn how to care for her.   She is helping me to practice appreciating this very moment. Not the worries of the next hour or tomorrow, but simply savoring this very moment.  Last night she and I sat outside and gazed at the full moon at 1 am counting stars and talking about joyful times spent together raising two sons and navigating life together. She has brought much joy to our family and despite the current challenges, she reminds us every day with a wag of her tail to look for the joy in every day!

What about You?

Do you have challenges in your life right now? Where is your focus?  Do your thoughts remain on the difficulties and heavy burdens?

Are you accepting the challenges as difficult, but allowing yourself to look for the joy around and within?

Do you have supportive people around you that love you no matter what and remind you to find joy in each day?

Stop at this moment and think of 3 things you are grateful for! 

Life is a challenge, but finding joy allows peace and hope to surround us!

“A Joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit saps a person’s strength.”   – Proverbs 17:22


Need some help today finding joy?  I would love to have a conversation with you!

Your life and those you love matter!

If you found this encouraging, please share!