The faithful followers of this blog (all two of you) will have noticed I haven't written for a couple of weeks now. That's because we got a new puppy, and suddenly little things like writing - or showering - or breathing - are overwhelming to me. I haven't slept more than an hour at a stretch since we got him. I hadn't realized that having two dogs at once would be equivalent to having one-year-old quadruplets. But he's a sweetie, a charmer, and once we're past the leaky puppy stage, we'll be dandy. He's a cocker spaniel mix named Brio, which is Italian for liveliness, vigour, energy, and enthusiasm. His name fits.
My kids are happy about the addition to the family, and my husband has been a patient trooper. But the shake-up has made me wonder: what is it in me that feels compelled to stir up calm waters? Why can't I leave things peacefully status quo? Things calm down for two minutes and I feel the compulsion to plunge us back into the whirlwind. "Gee, the McKendrys haven't had a catastrophe for a couple of months now. Let's get a puppy!" Or renovate the house. Or move. Or go back to school. Or bring home another foster kid. How about a pyromaniac this time? We haven't had one of those for a while.
My husband is the quintessential practitioner of Zen. He's in the moment. He's content. He's not yearning or striving for life to be different. There's nothing he wants or needs. He's peaceful. I wish some of that would rub off on me. But if it hasn't in 26 years of marriage, it isn't likely to. So I will go on shaking things up, and he will patiently come along for the ride and help me pick up the pieces when my latest disaster explodes in my face.
I don't think Brio will end up being a disaster, though. He climbs up to drape himself across the back of my neck, snuffles in my ear, pants his sweet puppy breath, and beats me with his tail, and I am filled with love for this fellow sentient being. I guess, in a way, that is also Zen.