I met artist and poet and woman of a gajillion talents Angie Ledbetter on Facebook back in January of 2011, and she is, in fact (though she may not even know it until she reads this) one of the very reasons that I decided to return there, and on my own terms.
(Speaking of that, so far it seems to be working really well for me. Miracles may never cease.)
Anyway, Angie has made a resolution to post a photo and some food for thought every day in 2012. The picture she posted yesterday hit me at exactly the right moment and really got to me. Talk about the teacher appearing when the student was ready…
It was a picture of her dog, Bandit, with something curled up beneath him as he sat basking in brilliant rays of sunlight, shining on him and a gorgeous wood floor.
The caption with the picture said, quote:
“Sometimes you have to drag your own blanky into the sunshine.”*
My jaw dropped, and I believe I was actually pointing at the screen the way people do when they've seen something they can't quite believe they've just seen.
This reaction was not due solely to the sight of such a distinguished poet and writer using one of my favorite informal words in the world, “blanky”, (because that is what I called mine as a child, of course, as well as the many I crocheted for charity before my eyesight went) but because the concept was so profound yet explained so simply and perfectly it is nothing less than the whole of the very lesson of what it takes in life to find any sense of happiness.
Lincoln may have said “People are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.”
Tolstoy may have said “If you want to be happy, be.”
But neither of them really tell you a lot about the process of actually getting closer to it; whereas the quote from this poet, captioning a picture of her beloved dog and followed up by some chat in comments in which she told me that the dog doesn’t just move his blanket once but will continually drag it from spot to spot following the sun as it shines in different places- THAT smacked me right between the eyes like the proverbial suction-cup arrow.
I wanted to thump myself on the head as I thought, “DUH! Doggie figured out what you should have years ago. You can't just move your blanky once and expect to stay warm. You have to keep at it.”
You can’t just dream happy or wish happy to be happy. You have got to go after it and follow it when it tries to slip away. Otherwise, we could be consigned to a life in the cold, and the darkness. (Not that I think Angie would ever let her baby get cold, I'm talking about me now, the dog is just fine.)
I’m not saying it’s easy to follow happiness or that I’ve mastered the art, by any means. But I sure as hell am working on it.
The sun holds still for no one, neither does life.
It changes. People; friends, even, come and they go. Our health changes (BOY does it change for some of us...) and we age. Some dreams grow and others die. Same with love. The thing is, if we're sitting around and counting on someone else to 'drag our blanky into the sun' then we are going to be sorely disappointed, and bitter.
I don’t want to be either, at the end of my days.
So grab an end, my friends. Let's pick up our blankies and chase the warmth together.
I'm with you, Bandit.
*(quoted with gracious permission of Angie Ledbetter)