Sunday, July 19, 2015

Love Embodied

I had the privilege of being asked to write a poem for this morning's church service.  The theme was the healing power of animals so, of course, I had to write about my buddy Mo-Man.  

Below, a picture of Marshall (clearly the most important thing here), the text, and an audio file of me reading it (at home, not at church).  Enjoy (particularly the picture.  That's the only really important thing!).  

Love Embodied

I went to 7 years of higher education
1 year of internship
and 2 years of postdoc
and I'll still
never be as good a therapist as Marshall.

Marshall is a 26 lb, white, curly haired,
black nosed, floppy eared,
4 legged bundle of love embodied.
He's not too sure who his mother was
has never had a father figure,
he had a rocky beginning that made him
scared of life itself, but now
this guy is perfectly well-adjusted.

Like Marshall, the best therapists teach us
how to find joy in the smallest things and
that unbridled excitement lies in the ordinary -
things like car rides, toilet paper tubes, dirty socks...
they teach us that we should fiercely protect
all we hold dear
even if it means barking at the mailman,
the neighbor, the squirrel on the porch,
they remind us
that our hearts are worthy of protection,
that we deserve
a deep and abiding knowledge that we are
worthy, and loved
if only because we walked in the door.
His tail
says more in 5 seconds
than I can in my entire 50 minute session
and as full as my body gets
with passion and love and more empathy than my skin can contain
my butt just does not wiggle,
my ears do not flop,
and thus I have no hope
of ever measuring up.

Marshall, I tell him,
some days this life is just
too much.
He nuzzles his head under my arm
crawls into my lap
rests his head against my chest
stares into my face
then sighs, satisfied with his work
as if to say
This right here
is what the whole world needs.

I'm not one who often
takes advice from those who
roll on dead things or
smell others bottoms upon first meeting,
but I try to learn his simplicity as he
enters my space gently
looks at my face with soul-filled eyes,
reads my body and settles in to say:
we'll just sit here then,
feeling what we feel,
until we're ready to move on.
Don't worry
I'll keep loving us in this moment,

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