My younger dog Max and I raced down the street on our nightly walk the other day. I feel a strong pull on the double leash from our older dog Daisy, as Max and I are getting carried away with the excitement of being outdoors after a day of remote working.

Daisy was trying to smell a specific area of grass and likes to take her time during a walk. Max is full of puppy energy and can’t get to the next spot quickly enough. He is excited to see what’s around the corner.

Daisy reminds us to slow down. She teaches patience and shows us we all go through things at our own pace.

She has been by my side for more than a decade. I will always wait for her. I know she doesn’t go as quickly as Max anymore, and that’s OK. She is the most loyal being on the planet. I feel bad I didn’t notice she had fallen behind. I feel bad for tugging on her at all.

It’s similar to how we each handle life, the world around us, and the pandemic. I have loved ones all over the spectrum as to how they are engaging the world and dealing with it all. Some are essential workers and have been interacting with the world since day one and others can tell you the exact number of days that they have been physically distancing.

I try not to judge. It isn’t my place. All we can do is the best we can to navigate through this new world while at the same time showing grace and practicing kindness.

Sometimes people are not kind about the choices that others make. They are not patient with the pace other people are going. They forget kindness. People at times put others down and say hurtful things.

I wish we could remember in those moments to be good to one another as each person is going through things that we may have no idea of from the outside looking in. If only we would be patient with each other, not tug on someone who isn’t at the same spot, and to respect the pace of others.

It is hard enough some days to know what steps to take, let alone having to deal with negativity on social media, the news, or from our friends and neighbors.

I could easily feel left behind as some of my friends go on road trips, travel on vacation, get together for happy hours, and gather together as I am not at the same spot as they are yet. What I can tell you though is I am thankful for where I am at. And that we have still embraced life together in the way that works best for the moment we are in with phone calls, videos, yard visits — and with lots of laughs and an abundance of love.

I was emotional when I saw one of my best friends after months apart the other week for a physical distancing yard visit. She has stage four breast cancer and is taking life in the best way she can. I felt closer to her than ever that day as we laughed, shared stories, and loved each other like we always have. Sitting apart in my yard didn’t change that.

She is my travel buddy. We have hugged at the top of the Eiffel Tower and danced in Time Square together. She will wait for me. And I will wait for her.

Our next big adventure will be there when the world is a safer place for us to travel and we are ready.

The thing about life is we may not ever be at the same pace as someone else. As Max and I stopped that evening to wait for Daisy to catch up to us, I realized that is OK. It truly is as long as when we are together, we slow down so we are all walking next to each other.

Melissa can be reached at melissacox2009@yahoo.com

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