When Covid started, I kept seeing all these people getting dogs. I was like “JP, all these people are getting dogs because they’re stuck at home hahaha, how interesting is that. We will clearly never get a dog because we’ll be too busy resuming our jet-setting lifestyle as soon as this is over. Also, dogs poop all over the yard.”
And then…with 13 days to go in this difficult year, a puppy arrived at our home and joined our family. Turns out, never say never has become quite the theme in my life, in many more ways than one.
Meet Saint Maker Savaryn!
We call him Saint, but his full name is Saint Maker because he will help us grow in virtue. Also, every time we call his name, which is a lot, it’s a reminder of our main objective- to become Saints ourselves!
Saint is a fluffy cuddle ball who loves pretending he is a great hunter, cuddling, licking peoples’ faces, and sometimes tinkling on our floor.
I am not a dog person, but I’m slowly warming to him. I like seeing the kids take him outside to go to the bathroom. I don’t completely mind when he’s tired at night and rests his little warm fuzzy self on my lap. JP has promised to brush his teeth daily so he doesn’t get stinky dog breath as he gets old.
JP is very sweet with him, too. He grew up with dogs and loves them even more than I realized. It’s cute to see my full grown husband walking around with the little fluffball Saint. They’re already becoming good friends.
Reflections on the Year
There have been less distractions this year- in terms of places to go, things to do, people to see. And it’s given me so much time to look at the life right in front of my face with clarity. Because of this, one of my biggest take home messages of the year has interestingly been an intense reaffirmation of how often the most worth-it things are not the easiest.
Growing in holiness is hard, raising children is hard, writing a book is hard, loving selflessly is hard, homeschooling is hard. But they are are really, really important things that I value, and this year, I found myself often reevaluating how I can be more intentional in all of these areas. Each is an act of love, in a very particular way, so, really, with all of these things so very present, and my own flaws so very exposed, the question has truly become: how can I love better? Especially inside the domestic church that is my home.
I’m much more impatient than I would like. I grow weary quickly with my family. I can have unrealistic expectations or not give someone the benefit of the doubt. I’ve fought battles against my own insecurities this year, particularly with writing. Once- when realizing I had to undertake a huge revision on my second book- a really, really important one that would make the difference between getting the book right or not- JP found me on the floor of our closet crying a little. This story mattered so much but I didn’t know if I was good enough to do what needed to be done. I was so scared! But, in time, I stood up, pushed through the uncomfortable feelings and got to work, one word at a time. And now I’m on the other side of that revision and am so very proud and excited to share that book with the world!
Which brings me to another big takeaway of 2020. Life isn’t about avoiding uncomfortable feelings at all costs, or even about avoiding suffering. Both of those things are part of life, and this year has given us all a lot to be uncomfortable with, or to bear as suffering. We cannot avoid those things, even in a ‘normal’ year, but in 2020 we all had to confront it on a global scale. What do we do when uncertainty hits? What do we do when we suffer? How can we take those things and use them for good-or to make the world a better and more hopeful, loving place?
Happy New Year
I wish everyone who reads this blog a Happy New Year. I almost was going to wish everyone a smoother 2021, but I think it’s better to wish everyone a 2021 that brings us all closer to God, to Love, to living as Gift of Self. God knows what we need to be holy, and it’s our job to accept whatever he brings.
Even if he brings you a puppy that likes to tinkle on your floor. 🙂