Patricia Kadick: From the love of dogs and stillness

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 4, 2020

By Patricia Kadick

Don’t you love those unexpected encounters that open paths that delightfully coincide, not collide. 

So often for me it begins with a charming dog. I’ve had only house kitties for years. So I am captivated on daily walks by dogs. Yes, all dogs. And when he or she is leading a friendly person, that makes it even better. Sometimes, people don’t want to be bothered. They’re actually not on a walk, rather fulfilling a duty. It saddens both me and the doggie. 

Special acquaintances, even friendships, come to mind that have started from dogs. There’s Jason — who now walks three good sized pooches – Ziggie, Millie and Darby. To say I love them is an understatement, and it does feel reciprocal, especially with Ziggie. Plus, I get to share fresh baked bread, cake or cookies with Jason. It’s my way of saying thank you.

When I first met Winnie, a black Shih Tzu puppy and now all grown up, who would have thought her entire family would become dear to me? 

But today fills me with a sweetness from a connection that blossomed this past year. A pandemic in a way creates a level playing field in that we’ve all been put on alert — from virtual schooling to wearing masks to public distancing and open fear of illness and each other. To say it’s wearing on the sensibilities is also an understatement. Particularly when views can be diverse. People haste to conclusions and blame, as if on fire. And it’s all mixed into an election year.

Laurie and I met maybe eight months ago. We’re both early day walkers. She is walked by two sturdy dogs – Gracie and Frank. Yes, they walk her. First we say hellos, then “a nice day” and “have a good day” and move along to sharing little details. 

At first, we tentatively shared thoughts on a variety of subjects: personal experiences, race, politics, cooking, writing and bits from the Holy Bible. More often than not, we shared a tribute to God’s goodness with the wish to see the glorious good happening — which it is — acknowledged. We were sharing with an unspoken goal of being up-beat. Grateful. Expectant. Joyful.

It turns out we both appreciate writing. The Bible’s story feels close to each of us, so I sent her my last blog post, the one on Hagar with her angel encounter. Later re-reading the entire biblical version, I was reminded of Hagar’s name for God: “Thou God seest me.”

The next day, as we paused on a tree-lined path in our local cemetery, while of course talking to Frank and Grace, I told Laurie of Hagar’s naming. The idea of God seeing each of us felt tangible, without even saying so. Then, Laurie asked if I knew that the word “selah,” often following a Psalm, meant to pause and reflect. I didn’t. But I loved it.

A West Coast friend of hers “had felt the spirit say: listen. Listen and pause.” And it had felt important enough to her to tell everyone. Surely, Hagar had paused listened and was cared for — not once but twice. Many times no doubt.

For me, pausing listening means be still — not always easy. But shut out the noises of hate, haste, fear, speculation, the he/she said. Hear the quiet. Feel love flowing and embracing, petals soaring, breezes lifting hair and spirits that propel smiles and grace. Pebbles tossed in lakes send purposeful ripples knowing not where, nor caring.

Author, poet, pastor and spiritual healer Mary Baker Eddy invitingly wrote, “A higher and more practical Christianity, demonstrating justice and meeting the needs of mortals in sickness and in health, stands at the door of this age, knocking for admission. Will you open or close the door upon this angel visitant, who cometh in the quiet of meekness, as he came of old to the patriarch at noonday?” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” page. 224). 

Jesus delighted, “Knock and it shall be opened unto you!”

Patricia Kadick lives in Salisbury.

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