Those of you who know me personally, know that I have a small house dog named Ace. I got Ace at one of the lowest times of my life, right after I filed for my divorce. I was sad, lonely, depressed, angry...just a ball of emotions. I put on a good front for the outside world, but no one knew how I really felt and that I cried at least once a day. One day, I was scrolling through Facebook, and one of my friends had his picture on there, and I fell in love with his little face right away. Unfortunately for me, she had just gotten him from one of her friends, so I didn't think think that making him a part of my family would be a possibility. About a week later, she contacted me and asked if I would be interested in taking him because she wasn't able to spend as much time with him as she originally thought and with him being only 3 months old, it wasn't fair to leave him alone as much as she had to. I jumped at the chance. So here we are, two years later, and Ace fits right in with the family. He seems to have taken on the personality of the house, he is a free spirit, and he's the boss of all of us.
Two days ago, I took him outside to do his "business" and as I was coming out of my building, there was another dog owner at the bottom of the steps with his two big dogs. Ace sees them, and takes off running towards them, but I locked his leash so that he couldn't reach them. The other dog owner informed me quite emphatically, "my dogs attack, THEY ATTACK!!" My response was, "Ok...go out before me, and when you get ahead of me a little, I will come out." So I waited for about 15 seconds and went outside. He was up the sidewalk with his dogs about 50 feet away from the door. As dogs do, they all started barking at each other, and I recognize that this is normal behavior for dogs who don't know each other. I had no worries because just as my dog was on a leash, so were his. My dog went down into the grass and just as he was about to relieve himself, I happened to look, and the leash to one of the other dogs was just laying on the ground, and the dog was just standing beside the owner. Both dogs and the owner were just looking at us. I quickly moved to get back inside of my building, but I fell before I could get all the way inside. When I turned around, the bulldog was at the door and coming into the building!! I scurried to get up, and when I did, my instinct was to scoop Ace up and hold him above my head so that the dog couldn't get him. By this time, the owner was inside with his other dog, and both dogs started lunging for me and my dog and the bulldog actually jumped up to bite Ace, and bit my finger instead.
I'm telling this story because I got a revelation out of it. I look at Ace as my gift, and I protected him at all costs. How far will you go to protect your gift? Whatever your gift is, what are you willing to sacrifice to cultivate it, nurture it, and protect it from harm, or exposure to the wrong element? Sometimes, it may mean not letting any and everyone have access to you. Don't feel guilty, you're not being standoffish or funny-acting, you're just protecting your gift, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. You don't have to engage in every conversation, or run in every circle to prove how down to earth you are. It's absolutely OK to take a break, sit back and reflect over choices you have made and make changes as you see fit. If I give someone a gift, and then I notice that they aren't taking care of it, or if they are mistreating it, I would be hesitant to give them anything else. That's they way we should look at the gifts we have been given. Take care of it...you never know if this is the only gift you will get....don't mistreat it under any circumstances.