SKUNKS AND DOGS

By Lisa Huddleston

I think I am going through an identity crisis! I’ve always scored high on the controlling or “bossy” end of every personality test I’ve ever taken until today. Today I took the Enneagram test and scored as “The Peacemaker” with “The Investigator” and “The Helper” rounding out the top three.

What? Who have I become—or who am I becoming?

Until recently, I would have blown these results off as just being an error, but now I’m not sure. Today I wonder if maybe I have changed. And I don’t think that would be a bad thing.

Dogs gotta be dogs.

As I’ve noted before, I often have to see something multiple times to really get it, and the lesson I’m currently being taught is that I am not in control—not of others’ happiness nor their health nor the world’s condition nor the lifespans of the animals in my neighborhood. I am not in charge.

This weekend the dogs found a skunk’s den near the driveway in the ditch under the iris bed. It is a place in which skunks have built before, and both Chuck and I knew what would happen if we let nature take its course. So Chuck tried to keep the dogs away. Every time the dogs headed down the drive, he would call them back until I finally said, “Are you going to be out here watching them every time they go outside? Because I know I’m not, and if we aren’t, then the dogs are going to dash down there and dig that skunk right out of the ground.”

Chuck looked at me for a few seconds then said, “You know what? You’re right. There’s nothing we can do about it.” And so we just relaxed into the patio chairs and drank our coffee. About 30 minutes or so later, Dottie came running back up the driveway with purpose in her steps. Yes, she had been sprayed right in the face, and she couldn’t wait to share it with us. And, yes, it was upsetting, but it was inevitable. Dogs chase skunks. Skunks spray dogs. And that’s part of what makes the world go round. Could we have stopped it? For a little while, we could have—but not forever. We are not in control! Dog nature and skunk nature ruled that situation, and there was nothing we could do effectively to change that.

And that’s the truth about so much of life. No matter how hard we try, we can’t stop every bad thing from happening. And it shows wisdom to stop trying to control what is not mine to control. Yes, I have my choices to make and for them I will strive to be responsible. But many, if not most, things do not really fall into that category. And just maybe I am finally learning to make peace with that.

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