Ahhh, we made it to the last Monday of 2020. I don’t know about you, but I am very reflective this time of year. It is especially true as we finish a difficult year. I had to hit PAWS as I reflect on finishing this year well.
Despite the amount of time and work I’ve invested in training Louie, he has one consistently bad behavior. Once someone enters my home (beware!) and is settled at the table or on the couch, he will charge after them if they make a move to stand, much less walk. Obviously, this is unacceptable behavior! No one believes Louie does this until they see it happen.
Louie and I have discussed this problem: we have asked neighbors to practice with us; I have been extremely firm with him when he goes after guests; and finally, I’ve removed him from the situation. Yet this behavior persists.
I know he is territorial, which I attribute to the fact he has it so good in my home he doesn’t want to share. But at this point, if Louie were my employee, I would fire him!
That seems harsh, doesn’t it? Yet, we do that in relationships all the time. If he were my friend who had a different perspective, would I “unfriend” him, disengage with him, or talk about him behind his back? The worst year ever is coming to an end. Will I crawl into bed on December 31, pull the covers over my head, and hope we’ll magically move into a better year?
Not many of us care about ending this year well—we just want it to end. We may recognize that an ending is imminent, but instead of doing the hard work to end things well, we lapse into fear, insecurity, and pride, which leads to reactionary responses. Often, we want to eliminate the “poison” as quickly as possible and find an easy solution. I am reminded of the saying, “All’s well that ends well.” Endings are necessary, and a “good” ending is essential. Even if things have not gone well, ending a chapter in our lives in a positive and growth-promoting way can be the best soul-care we can provide for ourselves and others.
What does it look like to end well?
- Do your best to be kind for starters. We could all use a bit of kindness right now. I love the verse in the Bible that says, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” Romans 12:18. Good advice which is challenging to follow.
- Oswald Chambers said it best in his devotional, My Utmost for His Highest: “There is always at least one more fact, which we know nothing about, in every person’s situation. The first thing God does is to give us a thorough spiritual cleaning. After that, there is no possibility of pride remaining in us. I have never met a person I could despair of, or lose all hope for, after discerning what lies in me apart from the grace of God.”
- Before judging others, take time to look within ourselves and see what can be changed.
- Don’t burn bridges and try to avoid bitterness and regret when relationships evolve.
- Think of who you can be kind to this week.
As for Louie, of course, I will not unfriend him and will continue to work with him, quirks and all. What is impressive is how Louie behaves when he visits with children and shares the message of kindness. And he certainly has missed being around school children. As we end this year well, Louie and I look forward to visiting schools once again very soon! In the meantime, Zoom calls and brief outside visits will have to do. Happy New Year, everyone, and end this year well!