Our dog Harper is like Pablo Picasso who was extremely prolific having created about 50,000 works of art in his lifetime. Harper Jameek Beckett (the boys gave her that middle name, and I have no idea why) is also quite prolific. She litters our yard with so much poop that I wonder how one animal can produce that much waste. I think she should have been named Harper Picasso Beckett for that reason alone.
Is there any greater love than dutifully picking up someone else’s stinky poop every week? My life was so much nicer when I did not have to bend over, get within inches of feces, collect it like treasure, and discard the endless bags of waste while feeling my life shorten from the act. And how am I rewarded? By more piles of poop. Sometimes when I let her out, she poops, moves over and poops AGAIN. Could she not just get it all out in one mountain instead of spreading the odorous piles across more surface area?
There are about a million other things I would rather be doing than picking up her poop, but I do it. The boys do it (for a fee). Even my husband does it! We do not like it, but we accept that it is part of the package of owning a dog. Besides this disgusting (DISGUSTING) aspect, we also get sweet companionship, unwavering loyalty, and the therapeutic presence of a best friend who will always be there for you. She is also awfully darn cute. Having her in our lives is worth the (endless amounts of) poop that comes with her. To at least 3 out of 4 Becketts, the benefits are well worth the costs.
This is true with so much of life. A Ballerina’s Tale documents the life of Misty Copeland, the first African American principal dancer for the American Ballet Theater. Before that crowning moment, she went through a lot. When you see her dance, you know she is naturally talented. Her grace and beauty are mesmerizing. I pulled a muscle just watching her stretch. Yet this amazing woman faced self-doubt, loneliness, a fractured shin, surgery, and countless hours of hard work and real pain to get where she is today. Despite the great difficulty, I think she would say it was all worth it. It was worth it not just for her personally but for the world at large, for the little girls who now have a role model who looks like them, for those whose odds are stacked against them, and for the ballet world to improve itself in expanding what it considers a natural part of its honored tradition.
People can be even messier than dogs. Loving others can be full of difficult challenges. It can require countless hours of hard work and real pain. It can mean doing things for them when we would rather be doing a million other things. It can put us inches from their poop. But we can choose to stick with them in their prolific crap and believe that they are worth it. This ain’t easy. Having been on the receiving end in so many instances (my family, my husband, my friends, and my God), I am glad they all thought I was worth it. Harper Jameek is worth it, and people most certainly are, too. Choosing what is clean and neat is easy. Choosing what is poopy seems ridiculously stupid. But I know from experience, that the harder choice can often be the better one. Sometimes all we see are the costs, the endless amounts of poop, and to avoid that, we rob ourselves of the benefits (some for purposes well beyond us) that FAR outweigh them.