Saturday, August 29, 2015

Eli. Lesson Three.


The 7 Teachings of Eli
Lesson Three

Suggested Pre-Reading:
Lesson One
Lesson Two

"Whoa, Dude!" I said to Eli (which I now realize wasn't the most respectful way to address a guru). "Watchoo got on?"

He was wearing a baggy sweater on a day hot enough to fry an EggMcGreasy on the sidewalk. Why would someone do this to poor Eli? It wasn't dangerous enough to let him fend for himself among moving traffic; he had to do it while fighting off heatstroke.

But closer inspection revealed a kinder truth. Eli wasn't wearing a sweater. It was a ThunderShirt--a garment made to swaddle a pup, easing his fear of things that go boom in the night. 

Welcome to my epiphany:

Someone out there cared about Eli--and had wanted him to feel safe during last night's storm. 

Aaaand, now I have to confess to something I don't much like about myself. When I see a dog on the loose, my first thoughts toward his human caretaker can be less than charitable. This person: isn't watchful enough... must not love this dog very much.... maybe shouldn't even have a dog. 

The thinking is ridiculously hypocritical, since my beloved Madeline had once been homeless for an entire week--as a result of my gross misbehavior.


Allow me a quick non-Eli story.

Madeline had reached the ripe old age of six months without the mildest interest in leaving the yard. So, in my haze of false security (read: stupidity), I put her outside all by herself, just long enough for me to clean up a mess she'd made in the house. Surprise! She wandered away. She did what dogs do--because I had done what no human should ever do. 

I spent the next seven days searching and weeping, weeping and searching, until the Universe figured I'd learned my lesson. I located my girl at an animal shelter some 10 miles away. 

Okay, but how does this relate to Eli? Y'see... I don't consider myself a terrible custodian of animals. I'm an attentive custodian who blundered terribly one day. Yet here I was, assuming the very worst of Eli's person. 

The ThunderShirt made me wonder if I'd been judging the guy unfairly--and the next 20 minutes of our journey would prove that I had been. 

Until that part of the story unfolds, allow me to share what Eli had just shown me in the third of his seven teachings: "You can judge a person's character by his greatest mistake, only if you're comfortable being judged by yours."

Today I'm going to think about someone in my life who made a bad first impression on me. And then I'll take a moment to feel grateful I gave that person a second chance.

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