Wag More | Bark Less

This isn't just about appreciation; this is about how bad things tend to strike in threes (or even fours), and how everything happens for a reason: obstacles are placed in our path so that we learn, grow, change, reach, experience.

 

I saw that on a bumper sticker the other day and found it absolutely charming. It seems a great philosophy for life, does it not? Think about it: Appreciate more. Be grateful. Complain and argue less. I love it.

But this isn't just about appreciation; this is about how bad things tend to strike in threes (or even fours), and how everything happens for a reason: obstacles are placed in our path so that we learn, grow, change, reach, experience.

It's been a strange week. We had one night off in six entire nights of shows, and saw that one disappear when a band got into town a day early. Rather than lament the sleep and rest I had been looking forward to, I decided to come into it with an open mind: new experiences on tap. And it turned out great. The band—The Elevator Band, from the U.K.—turned out to be a great bunch of guys, and we had two days of fun with them camping in our living room.

By Wednesday, though (Valentine's Day!), Jim and I were exhausted. We had a show that night (of course), and it was fabulous—Matt Hopper and Leeroy Stagger, we love you; sorry the crowd couldn't have been bigger, but at least they were appreciative—but we hid in the back, tired.

Thursday, a friend of a friend, a woman I'd done work for, passed away. We knew it was coming, but still: there it is. I'm still coming to terms with the infinite nature of life and spirit, and death is a major change, at the very least.

Friday, I spoke with two friends and learned each of their marriages was in trouble. One marriage was longstanding, the news surprising; the other was very new. The latter will more than likely end well, but right now, all is most certainly not well, as she has moved out until he gets help. Yikes. Makes you feel both grateful for your own life and almost guilty for thinking that, you know? The day was complete when I learned a former coworker's house had burned to the ground; she, her husband, and their three children lost everything.

Today was the wake and memorial service, and as I sat through it, I was mentally fighting everything the pastor said. It was Baptist; I, obviously, am not. The guy kept saying she was dead, her life had ended; that we all need to prepare for death, as it could come at any time; that life is unfair and no one can explain why some of us suffer and die prematurely.

I wanted to scream. I wanted to tell her kids, "She's not gone! Your mother's always going to be here with you. She lives on through you; her spirit will never die." But of course I did not; it wasn't my place.

I agree that we need to live each day like it could be our last, figuratively speaking; we need to follow our hearts and our passions, take jobs we can be proud of, spend our time with the ones we love and not those who bring us down. But I don't see (or at least I'm trying not to) death as an end so much as a change. I do believe the spirit lives on; I do believe our loved ones who have shed their physical body are still very much here with us.

I also believe this blog entry has gotten too long and far too serious. So back to the title then, shall we? Wag more, bark less. Be grateful. Appreciate. Enjoy. Have fun. Don't fight (or, at least, choose your battles).

And by all means, listen to music that moves you, not that which some corporation has decided you need to hear. I'll leave you with a short list of what's moving me; may it inspire you, as well:

John Boy's Courage

• The Daybreak Boys

The Colour

 

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