An Effort Well Worth It

This morning I opened my inbox, and a post from “A Winsome Journey” was there to greet me. Maybe you know Jess? Like myself, she’s an animal lover, and not just your run-of-the-mill animal lover; I’m talking llamas, chickens, goats, lambs — you name it, she probably owns one. It’s a regular barnyard fiesta o’er yonder. Jess is very generous with her photos, capturing heart-melting shots and humorous expressions stamped across her furry family’s faces. This morning, however, the post was solely dedicated to her sweet dogs, Seamus, Finnegan, and Lexi. Go on over and have a read. It’s short and sure to brighten your day.

So there I was reading her post, all misty-eyed, when I realized my own sweet furry baby, light of my life, sparkle in my eye, was sleeping not more than a couple feet from me, all coiled up like a teeny-tiny snail. And there was this instant rush to my heart; you know, like when you enter a drug-store and that overhead fan blasts you in the face with warm air — like that, but in a good way.

I must admit that, in the midst of my health issues, my mood has been greatly affected. Bella, while not mistreated, hasn’t been given a whole lot of attention lately. After a night of restless sleep or zero sleep, constant worrying, and an overall general frazzled, discombobulated Β being, the last thing I wanted to do each morning when I released her from the bathroom where she sleeps, was to stop and pet her, hold her, or snuggle her and tell her how precious she was to me. No, I wanted coffee. (And maybe someone willing to drop a boulder on my head and see if that put me to sleep.)Β My mind, a melted D battery, was convinced that spending any amount of time with Bella took effort, was work; and in my state of degeneration, I did not have the energy for work.

. . . . .

Other than God, my husband, and my writing, my pup is likely one of the greatest sources of joy in my life; and somehow loving her had been reduced to “work.” I had forgotten how just looking over to find her blinking affectionately at me, sleeping atop a pillow, or there resting beneath the comforter — a recumbent, shapeless lump — relaxes me; that scooping her up and tucking her silky acorn head beneath my chin, stroking her downy white chest, how that calms me; how when she raises her head and looks up at me, subverting all her instincts by offering only the tiniest of licks when she is entirely capable of drowning me in saliva, I am brought joy. Real joy, the simplest of all pleasures, the only cure I know of remedying nearly every single ailment, both emotional and physical.

Not on purpose, but I had elevated worry and stress over joy. And then, once the stress had abated some, it was now time to shift things into high-gear and make-up for all that time lost while being sick and incapacitated. There were e-mails to get to, clothes to be washed, pants to be mended, groceries to be bought, and writing? What’s that? Hm, I think it goes something like sitting at the computer for consecutive hours and putting thoughts down on paper. It’d been so long, though, I couldn’t be sure. So, now in overdrive, I allowed the time-theif to convince me I had not a second to spare for joy.

I believed him, too.

It’s a natural reaction, we all do it, but a serious prioritizing was — is — in order. Whatever may be going on in the day-to-day humdrum, struggle, or chaos, nothing is so grave or imperative that I cannot take a moment to love and appreciate the Good in my life. Nothing may get done — scratch that. Nothing I consider productive or advantageous might get done, but I will have made room for love. And love, my friends, is what sustains me. And you.

So, I’m wondering if I am the only one? Busy, depressed, distracted, overwhelmed, dissatisfied? I bet you if you look to your left or your right, or maybe pick up the phone and make a call, you might find the cure. If you’re doing fine in that department, wonderful. Emotions are like seasons; they arrive to deliver pleasant tidings or wreak havoc, but they never remain for very long. If you’re enjoying the former, enjoy it. If not, if you feel at all wearied, heavy around the shoulders and neck, tight and prickly behind the eyes for no reason or possibly every reason, then I invite you to do as I did.

Hoping you are filled with Light and Joy this day,

~ Cara

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

34 thoughts on “An Effort Well Worth It

  1. I always hug my pups or love my kitty when I’m really, really down. Sometimes, their silence, their devotion, their expressive ways, the way they love no matter what, is all I need. I’d be lost without my furbabies.

  2. I talk to him when I’m lonesome like;
    And I’m sure he understands.
    When he looks at me so attentively,
    And gently licks my hands;
    Then he rubs his nose on my tailored clothes,
    But I never say naught thereat.
    For the good Lord knows I can buy more clothes,
    But never a friend like that.
    …need we say more???
    Give your Pup a snuggle from me…Thank you so very much for your kind, sweet words. You are an angel beautiful girl!

  3. Beautiful Bella, I’m sure she knew you are going through some stuff, and when you were ready you’d look to her and remember the joy you give each other. And yes, I love Jess’ Misty Maples Farm blog and her post ‘The Constant Factor” was wonderful πŸ™‚

    • You are right, Ella: she most certainly knew mommy was not herself. She was patient with me during this last month and never held a grudge when I remembered to pay attention to her. I am so thankful for this love.

      Hoping you are well!

  4. Bella is a precious gift! It’s undeniable how the love of our furry babies brighten our day and bring us such joy, but it’s also scientific. A study done by the University at Buffalo proved that owning a dog or cat controls blood pressure better than ACE inhibitors and according to another study AIDS patients who do not own a pet are 3 times more likely to report having depression than the patients who do have a pet.

    So whenever you’re not feeling up to par, take a big dose of Bella. She’s good medicine! πŸ˜‰

    • I am a HUGE believer of such studies, Lori. Time and time again, I have seen how animal-human interactions bolstered one suffering from illness. Animal therapy continues to be an answer — and cure! — for those with ongoing physical and emotional impediments. For me, I’ll find myself wanting to come home and see Bella, even when I am having a wonderful time out. Having something to love gives me a greater capacity to do so. πŸ˜‰

  5. Dogs are so perceptive, Bella knows you’re not feeling well. Give her a good rub on the belly from me when you’re better, which I hope is soon!!

  6. I needed to hear this! My dog, Lucy, is my constant companion normally. You made me realize how neglected she has been lately. We used to have a dog named Bella, so I love her name. πŸ™‚ I am glad you are feeling better. You are absolutely correct – love is the most important thing to contribute to your day. Hope the rest of the week is a great one!

  7. Cara, you write so beautifully!
    i sometimes feel similarly, when i come home from work, am hungry and tired and just want to see and speak to no one- i sometimes don’t dote on my kitties like i should. i quickly give three pats on the head (one per cat πŸ˜‰ ) and go to my room… however, when im sitting on my couch, and am just blah-ly staring at nothing, trying to unwind and relax, in come one after the other, those adorable, loving furballs. they literally drown me in head-bumps, purrs and fur, and i can’t stop smiling…
    honestly, i know how it is when you can’t sleep, and you have a ton of things to do, but can i give you a piece of tiny advice? when you let Bella out of the bathroom in the morning, pick her up, squeeze and kiss her. won’t take you more than a minute, but it will give you so so much! there is something about a warm furry loving body held against you, that will just make your morning and day so so much better.

  8. Cara, loved this and Jess’s post. I love the way you share where you are in life, and constantly focus on making it through, with love and the Lord.
    Bella looks so vulnerable and small, but I suspect she can be fiesty? We have two dogs, both small. The smallest can bristle all over at people she considers intruders. So glad there is so much goodness in your life, and that Bella looks to you with trust.
    Toodles, dear!

    • I often wonder how people make it an entire lifetime without the Hope that comes from Christ. Even with it, I can feel desolate, despondant, and weary. It’s not easy keeping one’s eyes constantly fixed upon the Lord, but there is little gratification in easy things.

      Oh, yes. Yes, yes, yes! Fiesty is her middle name. Very territorial and protective of her people. In fact, we have been staying at my parent’s house, and though at times she is very affectionate with them and has found them to be a food source, she will still give a few warning barks when one of them enter the room. And it’s not even her house! She is my precious, but she is also my precious pain in the butt sometimes. πŸ˜‰

      Hope you’re are well, Maria!

  9. I don’t know everything you’ve been going through sweet friend, but I do know you have a beautiful gift. A gift for touching hearts with your words. You’ve touched my heart again Cara.
    I know there are great things coming your way. Stay strong, stay steadfast. Sometimes basking in the quiet is all our soul needs. Taking time to reflect often leads to clarity and direction. It’s not selfish, or self centered, its necessary. Something that took me much too long to learn. Hugs to you dear friend!

    • Thank you, my friend. I appreciate your words as always.

      Much has been going, and consequently what has kept me away from the internet lately. I hope to update soon, but that remains to be unseen for now. Until then, I trust in the Lord to guide me and sustain me.

      Hoping you are well and happy.

  10. So true, ” Emotions are like seasons; they arrive to deliver pleasant tidings or wreak havoc, but they never remain for very long.” I have days when I feel down and days when everything is all sunshine but in all, it is comforting to know we have our love ones to be there with us. Adorable picture. Have a blessed day.

  11. Bella is beautiful! Having a pet (especially a dog in my opinion) is such wonderful therapy. To them, it doesnt matter who you are in the world, what you do, what you look like, how much you earn, what you wear..just as long as you treat them well they will give you unconditional love.
    After a terrible day at work, there is nothing better than walking in the door to a wagging tail of your puppy. You have to leave stresses at the door because they dont understand. They react off emotions and your comment “emotions are like seasons” is perfectly true. Now four seasons in one day is certainly true with me sometimes!
    Let your puppy & your hubby take some of the load and relish their love!
    Hope tomorrow is much better xx

    • You are so right, Melly! Nothing like coming home after a crummy day to the wagging, happy tail of someone who loves you no matter WHAT!

      I am working on leaving stresses at the door, letting go of what I cannot control, and giving my loved ones an opportunity to have all of me, and subsequently handing over my troubles and trust to the only One capable of imparting true joy in my life.

      Thanks for stopping by! Hope you are happy and well,

      ~ Cara

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