Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Magical Thinking

Magical Thinking

Be it skepticism, hubris, or a gray-green combination of both, for some reason I have always avoided the self-help section of the bookstore.   I’ve never quite been able to stomach being told that “men are from Mars”; never bought the promise that I could “think and grow rich”; never spent one second worrying about “who moved my cheese”.  And frankly, I rather resent being told how much better my life would be if I just “tidied up” my room.  

That said, I do turn to writers I respect when life lands me on rocky pathways they themselves have trod.  I hunger to know how they handled those jarring switchbacks life can throw; how they managed to put one foot in front of the other on those days when all you want to do is stop and sit down.

So when Edward suddenly died last August, I turned to C.S. Lewis and Joan Didion.  From Mr. Lewis I was comforted to know I wasn’t alone in the realization that grief felt so much like fear.   When Ms. Didion shared the magical thinking that haunted her during the year following the sudden loss of her husband, I knew without doubt I was experiencing similar feelings.

I knew all autumn that getting another dog would be a good idea for Apple.  She missed her roommate.  But, like Ms. Didion, a nagging thought clung tight to my soul:  If I allow another dog into my house, into my heart, then that will mean Edward is really and truly not coming back.  I knew, as Joan Didion knew, that this thought was nonsensical.  But I can tell you it was as real as daylight.  Oh, I looked at dog rescue sites on the internet.  But every face I saw seemed like an intruder on my grief.  I still wanted Edward back.  I still do.

And then, a couple of weeks ago, from a rescue in Missouri, I saw a face I couldn’t ignore.  There was something in the eyes.  Something in the soul.  I contacted the rescuers and filled out an application, knowing our chances were slim as we lived so far away.  But for some reason, even with loads of applications coming in for him, we were chosen.

So last Friday, very early in the morning, The Songwriter and I set out to get our new family member,
 feeling every bit as nervous as blind dates.
It was love at first sight.
For both of us.

Meet Andrew.
He’s eleven weeks old and those paws tell us he’ll be a big boy.  He’s cheerful, curious, and he’s settled into The House of Edward like he’s lived here before.  From the looks of things, he’s mostly Landseer Newfoundland, with perhaps a wee bit of Border Collie throw in for good measure.  He will be like unwrapping a present each month; we have no idea what he’ll turn out to be. 

This will always be The House of Edward. 
 When the next book of essays comes out later this year,
 it will be Edward’s face on the cover.
But I’ll share Andrew’s life with you all on occasion.  
How could I not?
Just look at that face!

C.S. Lewis

Joan Didion

For those of you from Instagram 
who are looking for my essay on the Spacious website,
 you can find it HERE.  
Spacious is a "movement of folks who want to create ways to bring people together to banish loneliness and foster deeper connections and community". 
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