The first half of his life is a mystery. We’ll never know what he experienced, or how he interpreted it. The wounds, the hurts, the sadness…. loneliness. Yet, we do know the second half of his life. It was with US.
April Fools Day, the road trip to meet him was long and tedious. Upon arrival, amidst his shaved body and sores on his skin, I saw into his transparant eyes. He was a keeper. A deep soul. That boy named Duncan was to come home with us that very day.
Four years of life had gone by previous to our meeting. We never knew what he had been through, nor will we. Often I envisioned he was stuck in a cage for those years. His habit was to have his head propped up on a wall, or he’d secure himself under the four legs of a chair, so he still had the sense of familiar four walls, invisible or not. I suppose my interpretation could be wrong. Nonetheless, someone had given him up, and he was mine to love, learn, and befriend.
His walks were a delight. The most conscientious walker. If he sensed I was walking to the left, he’d immediately switch his gate to accommodate. Right? Oh, he was immediately on it. He’d look over his shoulder to see if I was stopping, or pausing. His obedience to please was unbelievable.
Yet, he had a bubble of protection he’d wear. He’d keep his independent distance, had a 3 minute tolerance of loving and petting. He didn’t know any different. Who were we, anyway? He’d probably never learned true closeness.
For 4 years, we had this tender wise soul named Duncan. During those years from 4 to 8, his acceptance and love for us was as gradual and strategic as his mannerism to love another loving creature. That boy LOVED a kitty, children, a turtle, or a fish in a river, without one pinch of desire to harm or chase.
His precious mode of operation was to spend days, weeks, months, earning trust of another living creature. Watching him earn the trust of a neighborhood kitty became predictable lessens learned from his patience. It was life changing. If only mankind would learn from our furry companions.
Duncan was patient, and he knew it would pay off. No different than how we as humans would best approach a hurting person, Duncan would keep his perfect distance, not too close, not too far away, in order to gain notice, but not enough to chase his desired targeted friend away. He wouldn’t push it to the point of the kitty running or escaping. He stayed distant enough to gain awareness, but not jump the ‘assuming’ gun.
As he tenderly would inch over weeks, a tad bit closer, unassuming, he’d turn his precious head as if he wasn’t wanting the attention of that distant kitty, even though I knew what his ultimate goal was…. that Kitty’s friendship and closeness.
Humans should note such behaviors. Rather than chasing away a hurting soul, maybe the wisdom of tenderness, patience, growth of slow inching … trust without any harm, would bring others back close to us. The sadness I see in human relationships is how one may wish to trust another, only to find that they couldn’t trust them at all. Harm in words, deeds, actions, cruel comments, selfish motives.
Duncan’s wisdom came from his own experience. His growth of closeness with us was slow and steady. He had to learn that our comforting hand that pet him, would not ever cause him harm. Food would always be there, walks were offered consistently, and comfort when needed was quickly given. Year one, he would tolerate a bit of closeness. Year two, just an inch or more of holding, touching, petting. Year three, he was more comfortable than the last…. so much more willing to sit close, fall asleep in our lap, year four..
Ah yes. Year four….
Our precious boy got sick. At first, we didn’t know what was going on, but he was NEVER in trouble for throwing up on the carpet, or waking us up at night. He slowly was unable to walk the distances we did before, so we accommodated by not leaving him behind, but by putting him in a stroller that he could still enjoy the outdoors, but not be overly exerted, as he simply couldn’t any longer keep up. His knowledge and belief that we were there for the long run, brought him to a place where he rested knowing he was in the most tender, loving hands. His walks in his stroller in the sunshine….. warmth on his face was as warm as the love we had for this precious boy.
Isn’t that how we should be to others? Compassion, patience, kindness. Understanding of how the other feels. Giving hands of assistance and comfort. Never causing harm or hurt. Never harming the precious soul and spirit of another.
When it was time for Duncan’s last breath, I was there. His weak body was now resting completely in my arms, knowing he was in bathed in absolute unconditional love. The compassion shown had won over his total heart and soul. His deep eyes now looked into mine with absolute reciprocated love and adoration. Trust. Understanding. Warmth, respect and belief in each other’s hearts.
Tenderness and precious kindness is the answer to so many distant relationships that are strained. Forgiveness for those that transgressed upon us. True deep apologies given from those that have caused harm. Slow, steady gaining of trust and respect. One inch at a time, mending distance and broken promises. Healing lives instead of hurting them.
My wise boy was a true teacher of wisdom.