I don’t want to alarm anyone but I often talk to myself. I say, when caught in the act, I am talking to George, our little Yorkshire terrier but that’s not really the truth. I do sometimes talk to him, of course, we live together in the same house along with the man of the house. I am a modern woman, if somewhat worn, therefore when I say my husband is the man of the house, that implies no sovereignty, superiority or dominance. To clarify in today’s age of sensitivity regarding the use of common language, I am the woman of the house, my spouse is the man of the house and George is the sovereign in this house. We’re all gratefully under the omniscient eye of God. As for all this current kafuffle about gender identification, I know for certain, because I am a registered nurse, George is a male and my spouse is a male. I am a female. Okay? Everybody clear on that? Let’s move on. As to God’s sex, we don’t have time to go into the highly intellectual, seminarian invasion into the Dead Sea Scrolls or the original texts of the Bible, be they in Aramaic or Hebrew. Maybe we’ll do that another day, but I doubt it.
I also talk to myself more frequently than I am willing to admit; like, well… all the time, however most of those conversations are, quite honestly, mostly directed toward God. I don’t find that at all unusual, do you? Doesn’t everyone talk to God? Even individuals who don’t believe in God speak to Him. Haven’t you noted during times of crises, tragedy or even during coitus folks cry out, “Oh, God,” or “God please help me?” Most of my conversations with George and with the Lord have to do with everyday living, thankfulness, questions of safety and suppositions to get some help down here…quickly sometimes.
“Georgie, shall we go outside and water the geraniums today?” I know, the single word “go” is enough. He is jumping into the air the entire time I go to the BR, where he is circling my feet, while I wash my face and brush my teeth. He is down the stairs while my cane and I descend slowly as I look for my sandals. Other days I try to avoid all these shenanigans and say nothing and simply do the morning ablutions and stumble down to the kitchen and run water into a huge old empty plastic water jug. George who has the hearing of a hidden microphone placed by a World War II spy, hears the water hitting the plastic and is quickly beneath my feet. The jig is up. We’re going outside. When out there he is barking incessantly at any leaf blowing down the street, any local cat that saunters by and particularly becomes apoplectic if someone rides by on a motorcycle or bicycle while I tell him to stop it. He ignores me.
Now, I know George is not going to answer me but he does, however, have an extensive vocabulary, reads my facial expressions and brilliantly understands my tone of voice. That last bit is usually for his own preservation. Like many animals he is instinctively compassionate. Isn’t a good lick on the nose as loving as it can get? As smart as this little ten-pound creature is, (who should actually weigh nine pounds) he is not completely housebroken. That is our fault. During that vital training time period, we were dragging him from pillar to post as I was getting radiation treatment a hundred miles from here. We took an old, washable bathroom rug with us to preserve the motel carpet and any fines and he “goes” on that. Yes, we tried the paper pads but he felt those were only for chewing and would leave us a nice, neat little pile of the absorbent paper, stacked nicely in haystack shape. When I become frustrated with this situation I remind him, “Georgie, I’m sorry you have such lousy parents who didn’t train you properly but we do love you.”
My morning begins with a conversation with God as I thank him for being alive and being able to get out of bed. I often ask for that help due to stiffness, pain and sheer morning fatigue. Some days I need a good talking to myself because I have a quick bit of envy for the “good old days” when I could crawl out of bed without pain or regret. I never popped out of bed. I was never one of “those.” I need the grace of God to crawl out now. Disappointment can often fill my heart as I feel pain in my back and most other joints but a quick retort to myself makes disappointment disappear. The memory I also suffer from metastatic cancer usually brings me upright because I feel gratitude for each day I can rise to see the sun, rain or whatever is awaiting me. George is downstairs with his human Dad who rises with the sun, much earlier than I do. All I have to do is stumble to the top of the stairs and ask and my dear man brings me a hot cup of coffee. I know, I am blessed. George usually pops up the stairs because he knows I’ll be drinking a bottle of Ensure and he will get to lick the inner lid.
As far as my conversations with God, it’s not a one-way street because I know He already knows what I’m thinking, but out of courtesy, fear and sometimes wavering faith, I have to converse with him out loud. I try to keep my conversations with God unspoken when I’m in public. I somehow fear getting carted away if I find myself standing in the meat aisle saying, “Oh thank you Lord, they have baby back ribs on sale today.” I confess I have been known to mumble beneath my breath while shopping, more than once. I am also one of those people who are always getting approached by other shoppers. It always happens that someone wants to know how to cook something, where something is located or just wants to pass the day with a smile or chat.
As far as George is concerned, he hears from me out loud, in a whisper or in a hug. There are many ways to converse, to show our love and concern and simply to show comfort. I know, like you, I need a lot of the latter on pain-filled days. My poor husband has lived with me in this condition for two-thirds of our married life and I know he becomes fatigued with the complaints. I do try to keep them to a minimum, but some days, I think I will explode and splatter the walls if I don’t “let it out.”When conversation turns to weeping, all three listen to my inaudible words with, I believe, consternation. At these times, George and my spouse are confused, and helpless feeling. I’m pretty sure an omniscient God isn’t any of those. I know He knows the why, the because and the future of my suffering. I’m very independent and always try to do things for myself unless I have learned through pain and ignorance, on my part, it is something I should not be doing. Stubbornness is not a bad characteristic to have, but I have learned it must be tempered. George is stubborn to the point of being a bit obsessive/compulsive. When he goes outside he must re-enter to my right; if you’re a pet owner, you know what I mean. He will return to me any treat or bit of food that is too large for him to swallow. He does this bit by burying it or usually, by pushing it back to one of us. Yorkies have very small throats, you know. He must have bones at a certain time, his doggie vitamin and homeopathic meds for his eyes, after bones, then, later on his dinner.
I have a friend who rescued a cat who must eat at 4PM and 4AM. Why do we give our animals so little credit for having higher intelligence? I’ve told George often I believe it is because we must feel superior to them. Now, really, don’t we get a clue in the fact a dog’s lifespan is usually 10-15 years and they seem to get “it” all done; their learning, loving and enjoyment, whereas we supposedly superior mammals might never accomplish a farthing of intelligence or wisdom in 70 years of existence. I know we don’t complete our loving before we die. If that wasn’t true, why do many of us leave a wake of confused loved ones behind when we go. Love is interpreted so subjectively by humans. Pets just take it very simply. You either love them and show it or you don’t. If you’re happy and you know it clap your paws.
It’s lovely to have a pet to chat with in this life. Our fellow humans can become worn and fatigued by our constant complaints but, if you’ve noticed, never praise for them. Pets let you and me prattle on and have such loving eyes as they follow our movements, emotions and follies. Humans have limitations to their compassion and understanding. I believe they cannot fully understand another’s pain or grief because they cannot feel it. Life is always perceived through human eyes by their own somewhat prejudiced view of what life should be…of what you should be. Pets just want love, play and food. Movement comes easily and is usually enjoyed. Whether they understand the words I speak or you speak, doesn’t really matter. They know the heart, the intension and the pain or joy behind those words. Humans are often confused or misled by words. Enough prattle from this writer today. Just remember my friends, dog is God spelled backwards. Talk on.