A few months ago, I learned about Hal Elrod’s philosophy of “Can’t Change it!” He has been through some hellish times and each time he is given bad or difficult news, he gives himself five minutes to react and then he accepts his new normal. It works so well for him, that when he was told he would never walk again, and it did not send him into a less than a positive attitude, his doctors were concerned he didn’t have a hold on reality. Myself, I typically have given myself about 24 hours to be “human” and then I pull up my big girl panties and deal. After reading about this new way of thinking, I decided to implement it in my own life. When trivial things happen, I try to remind myself that I cannot change it and then move on. But what about big things? How does that work?
Last night was one of the scariest nights my husband and I have faced in a very long time. Our fur-baby, Chaucer, lost the sight in his right eye a few months ago, and the left one has cataracts, but we figured he still had a few good months or maybe a year before he would lose his sight completely. Yesterday was a normal day, everything seemed fine, I went to a cake decorating class (I will probably post about that tomorrow), and came home to a very happy boy. Chaucer gets overwhelmingly excited when one of us is gone for any length of time, and returns; this was about 8:00 pm. He went to sleep in his bed that is between Jason and me, everything was fine.
About 10:00 or so I was ready to head upstairs and get ready for bed. Part of my ritual is grabbing Chaucer and letting him out before we go up. I asked him if he was ready for bed, he opened his eyes but did not do his normal acknowledgment…no biggie. I grabbed him and placed him on the ground and he was not right. He put his paws out and was almost laying down, reminded me of what a drunk person does when the room starts spinning. He seemed disoriented and was not responding to me when I spoke.
I got Jason’s attention and he watched as I tried to get Chaucer to do something normal, without success. Finally, Jason picked him up and took him out. We then sat on the couch with him, and it was clear to us, our boy was completely blind. Jason found an article on SARDS, which explained that sometimes it happens, a dog will go blind without any warning.
As we sat there on the couch, trying to grasp this possibility, tears streamed down my face, while my heart was braking. You see, it has not been that long since my sister and brother-in-law had to say good-bye to Chaucer’s mom, Sassy. She had gone blind, lost her hearing, and basically gave up the will to live. In my mind, this was the progression. However, the article that Jason found stated that just because they have lost their sight does not mean they cannot live a fulfilling life. You teach them some commands, and you get toys that make continual sounds. This was somewhat comforting.
We grabbed our boy and went upstairs. He was understandably shaken, and very clingy. He slept right under me the entire night…I did not sleep much. However, once we turned the lights out, the tears were still coming and I thought to myself, I can’t change it, I need to let go of this. So I sat a 5-minute timer, and I sobbed. I was angry with God because just that morning I had prayed for Him to protect Chaucer’s eyesight, I was angry at life because there is no justification for this. About 3 minutes in, I stopped the timer, I figured I had actually had 30 minutes previously, but I am still learning. Then, I let it go. This was going to be our new normal, and it would be fine. He would still be ok, and he would still be able to function, we would just do things a little different.
This morning, we woke up, and Chaucer can see again. We have no idea what happened, or how long he will have his eyesight, but for now, he’s in his spot, looking out the window at the view he loves. Jason and I are grateful that everything is back to normal, but I am taking this opportunity to learn. Life throws curveballs at you, and you have to learn how to handle them. You cannot always fall apart, and you cannot always let it bring you down. Learning to accept the things we cannot change is difficult, but in doing so, you open yourself up to more joy, and chances to see new possibilities. Is it easy, nope, but it beats sitting in the dumps for weeks and months on end.