Shady in the Picture


Recently, I was taking pictures of the interior of our house. While doing this Shady kept following me around, I would have to shoo him out of the way to take the shot. I wondered if it was in someway his silent protest.

Since a puppy, he has only known this house. There is a tinge of guilt, when I think this house could be sold in a matter of a few months, leaving Shady a new place to learn how to be. New rules, neighbors, and spots to walk would no doubt be our new norm.

Growing up, I was in the same house from Preschool to my Senior year of high school. This brought a lot of stability to my friendships and I would never want it anyway, but the world is different now. Our neighborhood is full of third places.

If you have never heard of third places, they are the places you hang out with friends outside of work and home. Often it is a coffee shop or bar, but it can be anywhere outside your home or work, that feels like community.

As I thought more about Shady constantly following me, I realized he was following me. Suzanne and I are his only source of life and recreation. He could care less about this house, as long as we bring the long line of friends through our new place and allow him to be part of our pack.

I was challenged by this thought, “Who else am I leaving out of the picture?” When I thought about it, I realized that there are a lot of people who have not experienced community in the way that I have realized. How can I bring them in? How can I make them know that they matter? How can I value our differences? How can I give others a voice? How can I stand up for injustice?

I just get in the picture and stand strong.

I just use my voice to advocate.

I just listen carefully,

without need to respond verbally.

I just allow my soul to feel the pain that others suffer,

As I place my feet in their shoes.

I just know that everyone is broken,

And in need of other broken people.

I just let them know,

That no matter what they are my friend,

No matter where I am,

I love them and they matter.



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