There are a lot of things in a dog’s life that are uncertain. What we eat, when we eat it, when we go to the bathroom, and when we go for walks are circumstances mostly controlled by our people. We are at the mercy of our people for so many things that I’ve come to see my people as my constants in life. They are everything to me. And, as it is my life’s mission to bring optimism to life, I find there is wisdom in uncertainty.
I’m convinced this is a lesson lost on the birds in my backyard. I heard them talking incessantly to each other this morning in the tree outside my bedroom window. They were arguing about the weather, which is expected to fluctuate in extremes again from sunny and warm today to snowy and frigid tomorrow. In my experience the only way to silence them is to scare them away. Off they flew as soon as I got outside this morning, leaving me alone again to contemplate existence in peace.
As I watched them scatter into the morning horizon, it was almost as if an old medieval proverb came to life before my eyes. I’ve never cared to understand it before, so it took me by surprise to find myself reflecting on the meaning of “a bird in the hand is better than two in the bush.” Though it is thought of as cliché to some people, the idea behind the phrase is that it is better to embrace certainty than take a chance and lose everything in the process.
I’m not certain of a lot of things, but I find an odd solace in that truth. Sarah Ban Breathnach recently reminded me in Simple Abundance to give thanks for truths like this. “You know what you need to do today, not tomorrow,” she writes. “Take another look at your life. Give thanks. Accept your circumstances. Give thanks. Count your blessings. Give thanks. Above all, have faith in yourself and Divine Change.”
That faith may not come easily, but I would rather take a chance on faith than embrace certainty.
“One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time,” French writer Andre Gide advised.
Well then, I say bring me that horizon.
There isn’t much in terms of physical risks to take in a dog’s life, so I chose to risk what I can control: my perspective. The fruits of my heart and mind are certain to me.