It's been two weeks now since Jilly was diagnosed with a tumor on her spleen. She was weak and tired and maybe in pain. But now, she's the jolliest of Jillys.
She feels good. She feels joy. She wonders, what's my problem?
I don't want to lose her. Not now, ever and certainly not yet. The vet said I could walk her but not let her get too rambunctious. No running. No jumping.
She wants to play ball. She's barking at me and throwing the ball at my feet. She's standing in her ball playing spot in the yard holding the ball in her mouth. Wagging. Bowing. Circling. Doing everything she can to get me to play.
She's saying, "Play with me. Now."
I say, "I can't. Doctors orders."
She barks even louder and with more frustration, play with me! I'm too scared to lose her. That I've lost all joy in her sweet, silly ball game.
Jilly wants to play. Now. Today.
The ball game is her favorite way to play. I throw. She jumps and catches and circles back to me. She faces me with the ball in her mouth and barks. When I reach for the ball, she backs away, wagging and barking some more. If I step forward to take the ball again, she runs away. My job is to stand still, ask her to drop the ball and wait. When she's ready, she drops it and the game continues.
Throw. Run. Catch. Bark. Drop the ball. Repeat.
This is her joy. Where is mine? More importantly where is my faith? Faith in the simplest of things in life like joy and enjoyment of things that Jilly and I both love to do. We love to play ball. And we love to take walks in the park and she made it to the park everyday this week!
My sweet, sweet Jilly is trying so very hard to get my attention and I'm not listening. She wants to enjoy the sunny afternoon in the backyard. She wants me to enjoy it too.
"Life," she barks at me is simple, "Play ball." Now.
Her faith in herself is unshakeable. My faith is always shaky.
Maybe that's why faith found its way into my life as my word of the year. I obviously have lessons to learn here. My lesson for this week...is to get over my fears, get into life and have the faith to live it.
That means having faith in Jilly's furry wisdom. Gotta go, it's time to play ball.