“Only yesterday our vet told us that our sweet Golden Retriever is very ill, and tonight we’re supposed to go out to dinner with some friends. I’m torn, because we’ve been scheduling, canceling, and rescheduling this dinner for six months, and part of me really wants to go. But part of me is dealing with the loss of the family dog. What I’m aware of in this moment is how often I need to put my soul aside in order to carry on with the demands of life. We all do. Life goes on, despite our personal struggles. You lose your father on a Wednesday; corporate America expects you back at the office Monday. It’s hard on the soul.”
First of all, for those readers who have never had a pet that is part of their family, know that its death is a very real loss, I mean like a person loss; it can be very hard, very sad, and as in the case with someone we love, a pet’s death requires grieving.
Author John Eldredge is using the dilemma occasioned by the imminent death of his dog to make the point that there are some things that touch us so deeply, that they require our whole hearted physical, emotional and spiritual presence. And there are, at the same time, responsibilities, demands, and requirements of a personal and professional nature that can make it difficult to honor matters of the heart and soul.
How are we to manage such unmanageable situations? How are we to negotiate what seems impossible? How can we be true to who we are and still show up at the office on Monday? There is no hard and fast answer to questions of this nature, for they are not to be answered as much as they are to be lived. Every situation that presents us with this type of dilemma is an invitation to recognize the reality of our deepest self. Because life is full of practicalities, it’s easy to function only on that level. But when we realize the importance of our soul, we can at least begin to take it into consideration when we encounter conflicting demands.
The title of the book quoted above is Get Your Life Back. Many of us have given the lion’s share of our life – our time and energy – to external realities, but have not honored our whole self. Perhaps it’s time to take our life back, lest we regret not having done so until it’s too late.