A beautiful quote in this series that is willing to go the distance and let us all know — that it’s all going to be OK:
There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness. We must [feel] what it is to die, Morrel, that we may appreciate the enjoyments of life.
Live, then, and be happy, beloved children of my heart, and never forget, that until the day God will deign to reveal the future to man, all human wisdom is contained in these two words, ‘Wait and Hope.’
― Alexandre Dumas
tags: hope, inspirational, wisdom 5689 likes
“Wait and hope.”
Who can’t love an optimist like Dumas? Who can’t love this quote, in all of its depth and and wholeness? Context is immaterial here; but I’ll explain it anyway: Morrel is a shipbuilder who was very kind to Edmond Dantes, the protagonist in this amazing book. I’ll stop here about how that story goes. If you’ve never read it, do.
This post is several days late. I apologize; I had this whole 30-day series locked up. Then this happened:
The last day I wrote posts for this blog, I made a to-do list because we were going to be traveling to New York to see family. That day was 1/9. I didn’t have “adopt rescue puppy” on that list. I really didn’t. But as things go in my world, this quote, the very last words of it, in fact, apply to everything that happened.
In true Molly fashion, I will manage to dovetail all of this to try to make sense without completely hijacking this quote.
First, we named the puppy “Charlie” after Charleston, SC, a place my family loves to go and which shares the same state where Charlie was found. I will tell Charlie’s story soon; it’s a great one, and it encapsulates Dumas’ quote perfectly, but I don’t have all the details yet. Suffice it to say that “Wait and hope” captures everything that happened to that puppy and to my family.
I don’t know who rescued whom in this little deal because that 13# ball of fur has stolen our hearts. The good news is that The Murph is doing well; they were playing on the deck today in the sun and had a really great time together.
Ahhh. I thought this moment might never happen. It only took three days!
We really got Charlie for Murphy; he had grown sad and lonely seeming. He is almost six and I had been thinking of getting him a buddy for a while but these things don’t always work out for me and we know how shitty my cats are in general. I find myself gravitating to the new possibilities that Charlie and Murphy can create for our little family and also for my writing. As fun and wonderful as Murphy is, he was all alone and he is a really good dog; no antics since his Flour Incident years back:
Charlie however, creates a whole new opportunity for writing about pets; he is a good dog, but he will never be like Murphy, who is docile by nature and has not at all shown the cattle-dog and herding instincts that Charlie is already manifesting. To Charlie, we are all cows. Or sheep. He’s already figured out the humans around here.
My son was looking at Charlie so kindly the other night, with softness and amazement and awe. I caught him and said, “What are you thinking about? You look so happy.” He said without hesitation, “Charlie. He’s already changed our little family just by walking in the door here. He’s so great.”
I smiled at him and said, “Yes. He’s a good little dude,” and then did everything I could internally to keep myself from winding up anxiety and fear because the moment was so pure. I didn’t say anything, but I had to wreck it: “What if he doesn’t live all his years? What if he gets hit by a car? What if Murphy hurts him? What if he hurts Murphy? What if it all …???”
I’m a pro at screwing up my own bliss. Here we were, in this new-dog coccoon. The weather was rainy and blech but the puppy didn’t care. Water beaded off his shiny who-knows-what-he-is coat. His little paws, webbed like Murphy’s, patted at the puddles on the street. He was taking it all in: licking the blades of grass, snapping at low branches on the euyonomous bushes outside the house like how Indiana Jones cracked his whip, bounding from a stick to a leaf to a puddle.
I compare them, Murphy and Charlie. Murphy is fantastic and regal and loyal and so smart. I trained him to whisper a password before we let him eat his kibble; he gets on his hind legs for “Say your prayers, rabbit! Or I’mma gonna blasssst yuh…” and begs us not to “shoot” him. He’s gentle with children and he loved my mother, especially her chips. On our walks, he prances and smiles at me midway through. He stalks squirrels, ducks, geese and cats. He’s got “heel” down, but he hates to do it. He plays “jump high” when we walk up our driveway. He lays behind me whenever I write. He’s a Great Big Love.
Charlie fumbles about. There isn’t a smidge of pride in his little soul. He’s truly a miracle of survival. His mother was an amazing mom. He likes to nip at our ankles and yell from his crate like a boozer on a rant outside a pub from which he’d just been punted. He pees every fifteen minutes and drinks his weight in water. He constantly tries to make love to Murphy’s face or tail or ear. He tumbles down the gentle slope in our front yard and runs painfully slowly on his tiny 6″ legs and massive paws but his ears bounce and flap in the wind he creates and to him: he’s flying. But he does one thing, a major thing to me anyway, that Murphy has never done: he gives kisses and he wags his tail like crazy when he sees you come in. He cries when you leave without him. He feels the feelings. Charlie’s got soul.
Murphy has soul, but Murphy is a thoroughbred and we know how some of those blue-bloods can be…. Murphy was “designed” and and whelped in a heated barn under warming lights in the dead of winter, and selected by us five weeks before we could take him home and we visited every weekend and he was safe. If his mother couldn’t nurse him, another dog could. Charlie…? Charlie is from an enTIREly different stock and circumstances. ComPLETEly different… and I’ll write about that soon. Charlie is a miracle. Charlie makes Murphy happy. Charlie is a gift to all of us. Having wee Charlie is like having a new baby in the house; everyone speaks a little softer and kinder.
So then when it’s quiet, I hear myself worry about them. If it’s not them, then it’s the condition of the house (three boys + two dogs + two cats + me + husband = basic chaos). Or how I haven’t been the best cook lately. Or how I haven’t populated this blog in a while, or that I’m really behind on this series. Or that the laundry is at DefCon 2 right now. Or that I’m not practicing yoga enough. Or that I’m not writing enough. Or that I should really be kinder to myself, which invariably creates a cycle of “YEAH! YOU SHOULD BE KINDER TO YOURSELF! WHAT THE HELL’S THE MATTER WITH YOU?” and “WHO ASKED YOU TO BUTT IN?!”
And then this quote… “There is neither happiness nor misery in the world; there is only the comparison of one state with another, nothing more. He who has felt the deepest grief is best able to experience supreme happiness.” I say to it, “Yes. Deep grief and total happiness; this is life.”
That’s all we can do, anyway, right? Feel the feelings and wait and hope? In the meantime, we can do our best and pay our taxes and face our fears and chase our dreams, right? Anything less is not living.
So I’m at another point where I feel like a decision is waiting to be made. I can keep doing what I’ve been doing and stay where I am; or I can push myself through the wax paper and really take myself to the next level and start doing something. Get back on the treadmill and under my meditation shawl. I can start really writing, do a little blogging here and there, but really … do what I’m here to do, which is tell my story, keep telling it, watch it grow and tell it some more, but in the final analysis: live without fear.
I read a really clever piece in The New Yorker, “Downton Abbey With Cats.” It’s short and surprisingly deep and existential and it got me thinking, if everything is a repetition of something before, but just in new packaging, what are we (I) so afraid of when we (I) don’t take that leap? I can tell you this right off the bat: I’m afraid of isolation and being misunderstood. Writing a memoir, about my “deeply complicated, richly complex and dynamic family” per my therapist, has to be done in a way that I know I’m capable of doing, but I know I’m going to piss some people off. But it can’t be helped. So I need to do this; plus it’s through my filter.
I can say this much, if I’m not here, that’s where I am. If you want to reach me, drop me a comment here or at any other post and I’ll reply. I don’t know what else to say other than I’m sort of tired of forcing myself to write about other writers. I’m interested in writing other things entirely.