My dog meeko used to have some of the strangest habits about him, God rest his soul. The usual menagerie of dog traits were there. Walking, eating, sleeping, pooping. The usual. But he sometimes acted in the most curious manner. My parents used to describe it as how Meeko was always on the wrong side of the door. Eternally looking for something better. He would be sitting with us, then beg and plead to go outside, then once outside he would beg and plead to be inside. Seemingly this dog could not be pleased, nor could he seem to find a place where he was profusely content with himself and his position in the overall scheme of life in general. Odd. At least for a dog. My current dog is generally independent and happy to be just about wherever it is she happens to be, as most all dogs are. Meeko was one of a kind, possessing almost humane traits. Which is what ultimately got me looking back at my childhood pet. As I continue running this race that was set before me, I find myself growing increasingly apathetic to meeko’s mindset, since it seems, I have become the very same way.
I never wanted to be this way, in fact, I spent a good portion of my life consciously attempting to avoid this and be content. As pretentious as it may sound, I had been very driven as a youth to succeed in the highest manner. Attend a US military academy, become a fighter pilot, and move to become a liason between the US Air Force and Lockhead Martin. A lofty goal, which as of today I has not yet been achieved (I havent given up hope just yet). I wouldn’t take failure as an option, and quite frankly, I felt I couldn’t fail. I had to move up out of my current condition to something better. Always better. Better friends, better jobs, better clothes, better life. For those of you familiar with my current path in life, (as I presume any one actually reading this is) things don’t always work out. In fact, they often come crashing down, hard. And it sucks, majestically blows. When things just fall apart (chinua achebe reference for you literary nerds out there)it’s really easy to find yourself on the wrong side of the door. I don’t know why meeko wasn’t content, and I probably never will, but I certainly could understand him a lot more. You want to feel sorry for yourself. You want people to reassure you, to help carry the burden with you. You don’t want to be alone, because if anything, the easiest disease on earth to catch is sickening loneliness. You want to be around friends, family, you want to be loved, I wanted to be loved. It really becomes the only thing you care about. You change your style, personality, body, attitudes just to help make things better. You believe things can get better, that they must. You get ‘greener pasture’ syndrome. That there is always something better out there, something beyond what you might already have, something that is ultimately superficial and meaningless, but better it seems. The other side of the door.
Im not going to lie. What I described was me 110%. I wouldn’t have written it if it wasn’t me. As the acclaimed author and philosopher joseph campbell wrote, you have to travel through the belly of the beast in order to find success and happiness. There really is no other way it seems. What I couldn’t see, was that I was already out of the beast, but I kept telling myself I wasn’t. I don’t want to rant on forever, and it seems this post has lost a lot of its literary focus, but I got a lot of things rolling through my head, and sometimes you just cant keep them off the paper (or screen I suppose). Long story short, I already had everything I could ever want or need, and it wasn’t available at H&M or REI. Its no secret to anyone who knows me that I am quite religious person, and that my faith is very important to me. So if you are the type of person to write anyone who attends church and has faith off as a bible thumper, maybe you wont like this, but for me, my faith is what gave me clarity in a time that was pretty dark and difficult. I had become cynical as can be and found very little joy in my life. I felt that my joy had to come from getting trashed with friends from my estranged university, or spending money to impress people. To buy respect and garnish my manliness in a self depriving shield that cut me off from the world and those around me. I didn’t see things as they were, I saw them as what I viewed them to be. And what I saw devastated me. A 21 year old friendless college dropout who really had no good options left. A boy dealt a mans cards, and not willing to call or fold. Just hoping that by sheer luck or grace of someone else’s doing, I might somehow come out on top. Countless waves of good faithful advice came pouring in, and I rejected it all in place of a foolish cynical outlook. Now back to my faith. I had always been a christian, but not always a good one. I looked to honorable men in my church for guidance help, and they gave it. Everything was always right in front of my eyes; I just refused to see it. I started growing in my faith again. I looked back and listened back at sermons that were influential in my initial coming to Christ. And it helped immensely. I opened my eyes finally, and saw that everything I could ever need and want were right in front of me for the taking. Jobs, money, clothes, parties all come and go with the changing of the tides, but day in and day out, faith, family, and good friends are there for you, and let me tell you, that piece of mind you get when you finally realize that is beyond comprehension. This most recent trip to my Marquette reminded me of that. You sit at home sometimes, wallowing in self deprecating pity, and remind yourself how lonely you are. But real friends don’t just bail on you when you suddenly drop out of school per-say. Nor will your family, and most importantly, nor will your faith. Its expected for man to falter countless times on the road of life. And unfortunately many will not get up. Its those that do, those that keep the faith, those that run with endurance no matter how painful it may be, that find what they are looking for. I didn’t want to get up. I wanted people to feel sorry for me. I wanted to helped. I wanted a miraculous recovery. I wanted what was on the other side of the door. I was willing to give up a lot for those other doors. Even all that I had in front of me. Luckily, all that I did have in front of me reminded me of what was important in my life. And that’s what has saved me from my worst enemy, myself.
Obviously my journey isnt over, and im not going to lie, I have no idea what the future will bring, and I’m certain I will stumble again and again. I just hope that when those times come, I wont forget that I all I ever needed, I already have. And nothing is worth more than that. So it seems meeko couldn’t find comfort in a bone at times. But even with all his flaws he had always remained a loving companion until the end. It looks like I should have taken notes back then. Man’s best friend indeed.