Somehow or other I always procrastinate my monthly post until the very last week of the month. This month that was a very bad strategy. Last week was Rosh Hashanah; today and yesterday were spent making a snap decision to change my child’s school. While the decision had to be made quickly, the process was a long time coming. Over the last year, we grew increasingly unhappy with the school she was in; in the end they just couldn’t convince me that they would help my child achieve her potential, or protect her from playground bullies. The new school isn’t perfect– no school is– but it has smaller class size (only 14 kids vs. 22 in the last school), and the school’s pedagogical philosophy is much more in tune with my own. Still, it’s a very hard transition. For both of us.
So here it is, September 30, I’ve had three hours sleep in the last 24 hours, and I’m so tired I feel sick. 6:15 a.m. comes much earlier than I can handle.
Why, I want to know. Why do people– young and old– waste time on meanness and pettiness and spite? Why does an 11-year-old get run out of a school we chose with such care because kids have to form cliques that include some and exclude others? And the adults, who are supposed to protect the children, make excuses and rationalize the behaviour? It’s no wonder some people eschew the company of people for the companionship of dogs and cats.
But life is too short to hang on to anger and hostility. Forgiveness is critical to mental health and social healing. This Friday night is Yom Kippur, the holiest day of the Jewish calendar, when we ask God to forgive us for whatever we have done wrong in the past year, and pledge to improve our behaviour in the coming year. And it’s important to note that God only grants forgiveness for transgressions between man and God. If one has wronged another person, only the wronged party can grant forgiveness. But very few have the courage to apologize when they know they’ve hurt someone else.
So if I have committed any offense to any of my readers, I hope you will forgive me. Let me know what I did, so I don’t do it again. And we’re going to leave our anger and frustrations behind us, and remember the people at our previous school who did try to help, who were as heartsick as we when things didn’t work out. We might even go back for high school next year. If we haven’t left town for a new life.
This isn’t a typical Dog Park post. That’s what happens when you’re tired and frazzled and life gets in the way of the fun stuff. But this is what life is about too. Change and transition and hurt and forgiveness and hope. And love. For our families, our friends, our animal companions, our communities, and most of all for ourselves. We need to remember that we are deserving of love and respect, and that what is unhealthy and hurtful needs to be left behind. It’s a new year. It’s a fresh start. It’s time to move forward. And may we all be inscribed and sealed for a good life in the coming year.
This post is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Lorie Huston, DVM, whose death today shocked and saddened the pet-blogging world. I didn’t know Dr. Lorie, but many of my friends did, and I saw her name around the blogosphere everywhere. Kristine of Rescued Insanity remembers her as “kind, funny, and smart.” Mary of Tales From the Back Road calls her “engaging, smart, and helpful.” Mel from No Dog About It says she learned so much from her, that Lorie always listened to and cared about other people’s concerns. Now friends are scrambling to find homes for Lorie’s six rescue cats, and those who loved her are coping with the tragedy of her death. Our hearts go out to them. May Lorie’s generosity of spirit and compassion for all living things be an inspiration to others to bring more kindness into the world.