My girlfriend Brittany is about a week into her diagnosis with COVID-19. She started feeling under the weather (tired/lethargic) last Monday. Tuesday she started to have body aches, a headache and got up to around a 100 degree temperature (mild fever). We had been traveling together the week prior, so the odds of her getting it and me not were pretty slim. I was around her both Monday and Tuesday when she was having these symptoms. Monday we assumed she was tired from traveling and allergies were creeping up, as they do this time of year for many of us in the desert. We have fallen victim to countless false Covid alarms, so we decided not to instantly “go there” as symptoms crept up (it was certainly in the back of our minds still). By Tuesday night- I had an inclination this could be that very virus everyone’s been talking about finally hitting home. We’ve done so much over the past year, so it’s sort of amazing that it took this long.
I sit here a week later having four negative tests for the virus, while Brittany is still quarantined in the master bedroom. Last Wednesday through Friday she had a hard time doing anything- standing up and walking to the bathroom required the utmost effort. Her stomach burning for a few days straight was probably her most severe symptom. She’s been getting better over the past few days, yet is still tired and a little out of it. Prayers for her recovery are greatly appreciated, while I’ll still be praying that I don’t get it. We had a theory that perhaps I had antibodies, which I found out yesterday isn’t the case. Here is a picture of us in Wyoming on our trip together (pre-Covid), isn’t she beautiful (her heart is even more precious than her stunning looks)!?
A small detail of my new daily routine got me thinking earlier, which then turned into an analogy I’d like to share. With Britt quarantining I’ve had sole responsibility of taking care of the pup- Remington. Those of you that know me already know that I took care of a dachshund for over sixteen years (my Murphy- RIP), so I know what I’m doing. Needless to say, taking care of Remy is similar, yet at the same time entirely different. Remy likes to cuddle, Murphy didn’t really. Although when I was younger I didn’t really want to cuddle- so a regret/curiosity that I have now is whether Murph would’ve been more of a lover if I hadn’t made the decision that I wasn’t really into him being all up in my business (aka- pushing him away more than I should’ve). I regret that, just being honest, but who knows- maybe he just wasn’t a cuddler?! I definitely gave him a lot more affection than he asked for the past few years, so hopefully he realized how loved he was.
Back to my week with Remy. He cuddles, so I’m getting used to that. Our usual “alone time” is when I have my cup of coffee in the AM with him insistent on sitting on my lap. He really doesn’t leave Britt’s side too often when she’s up and around, which I’m okay with. I swear dogs imprint/choose their human- Britt is Remy’s, which is fine because I’m not sure I have the space in my heart yet to be a “dog’s human” right now. He is also a pretty skittish dog, which is a little sad. I’m sure I was for much of my childhood too, so I suppose I try to have empathy for him, but it does push my buttons slightly (honesty). We’ve worked with him a lot, but if a box suddenly shows up somewhere he isn’t used to seeing something (like an Amazon box for instance- yeah we all have that problem), he will literally run in the other direction. He doesn’t like change, instead he likes and craves routine. I suppose we can all probably related on some level (maybe even the running away from change). I’ve done my best to give him love amidst caretaking for Britt (which is pretty much just prepping food and dropping it outside her door). I’ve cleaned a lot. I’ve done all the dishes solo (ugh), and I’ve done my usual work despite being quarantined at home. I’ve even tackled a few home projects, which admittedly is somewhat nice (my den/library is coming along great in the house)!
The lesson- Remy has this kennel where he sleeps. It’s somewhat like a playpen (has a zipper for a door, but is mostly mesh) and it’s a very good size (bigger for him than a king size bed is for me). Every time I let him out of the kennel he JETS out. Those of you with puppy experience know what I’m talking about. All of the sudden the little ball of energy explodes out the cage and doesn’t look back- like he’s been in there for weeks. I decided that I would prefer Remy and me say good morning each day, so I’ve been catching him mid leap out of the cage. I stop him, pet him for a few seconds and help him realize that he’s missing out on an “official good morning” with his dad. Which is me affectionately/excitedly petting him mostly. He still leaps out every day and I still catch, but hey- I’m trying. I mutter something like “good morning buddy, doesn’t this feel good, how’d you sleep, how about we go potty and get dad some coffee?!” Then he JETS out of the room again, not looking back, while making no eye contact- just darts away as fast as possible.
How often do we do that? JET to the next thing. I feel like the last twenty years of my life were like that in a way. I was always onto the next thing. Frankly, I was programed to perform at a young age, as I’m sure many of you were. Somewhere along the way I learned how NOT to relax. I don’t even get much relaxation on vacation, since I’m a business owner and inevitably things pop up (and when they don’t- I have a hard time not bracing for them to do so). Am I the only one with this problem? I merely JET to the next thing, or brace for it, regardless of what’s happening around me most days. And when I try to relax I cannot- or at least I don’t enjoy it much (guilt ridden by not doing more). I’m forcing Remy to stop and enjoy the morning, yet I can barely do the same thing. My way of forced relaxation was supposed to be quiet time in the morning with coffee- yet that’s been tough because my day starts well before the stock market opens each day (guess I’ll have to wake up earlier?!). I committed to doing morning yoga every day this year, which I’ve stuck to despite my bad ankle sprain (don’t text and walk near stairs – ugh). Yet often times I have to remind myself that yoga isn’t just good for the body, it’s supposed to be good for the mind, a challenge for a “type-A” person like myself. Even during yoga I’m not consistently relaxed and mentally calm, but I’d like to be.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that forcing Remy to say good morning while giving him some love has me thinking again about hitting the pause button long enough to give myself some love as well. I also think we need to hit the pause button long enough to feel love from others. The outside world demands so much of our attention, and phones don’t help. I have friends that are probably worse off than I am in this area. I see them worrying nonstop, tackling their to-do lists (while continually adding more). Some are focused on performing for recognition or money, while others are stuck in routines of having their importance tied to their work, or their perception of the world’s view of their success. It’s exhausting and I’ve been there! Perhaps Remy JETS out of his cage because he’s well rested, doesn’t worry, and is genuinely excited. Or maybe he would stop and say hi to Britt if she was opening his door, and I’m there to serve more of a purpose of simply letting him out (kidding- kind of). I cannot remember the last time I rolled out of bed worry free, despite my effort to Surrender to God each day. I do know this though- as I read The Old Testament currently- God rested on The Sabbath, and He commanded the Israelites to do the same. Where did we unlearn how to genuinely rest our mind, body and spirit? Perhaps I’m the only one? I’m guessing not.
I don’t write this with some solution in mind. Frankly I’m open to ideas. I will say this though- I feel like I’m more aware of my inability to truly slow down as much as I’d like- which is a healthy step. I walked around much of my life eyes wide shut to this theory that we need rest and peace, not always action and distraction. I’m going to try to find more peace and contentment. I realize God is a major part of that- spending time with Him. It’s the shedding of guilt that I should be “working” or “more productive” that I really need to work on, as it ruins joy. And the idea that if a client calls I need to instantaneously respond I’d like to shed as well. I guess I’m programmed a little like a people pleaser still (recovering), and I don’t want that getting in the way of my own self-care and peace.
Well that was Remy’s lesson to me. Slow down. Enjoy the moment. Allow myself to be loved and show love to those who really matter most. Don’t sacrifice peace to appease others. Shed the conditioning of guilt that comes when I “check out” of work, the world, or social media. God first always- as I don’t think I’d want to be too busy JETTING through life to feel His love or miss His guidance!
Much love. – Dustin