An odd couple, would you say? The small lamb bought in a village in Ireland with a Love tag, supporting a smiling cow made by a friend. They bring to mind, when living on 100 acres in Ontario, how my English bulldog, Paddy, made friendship overtures to the cows grazing in the field. Paddy thought everyone was her friend, and wiggled with joy when passersby stopped to admire her. She was a bridge builder, bringing smiles from those admirers.
There are many inspirational and delightful odd couple stories, both fact and fiction; such as in the children's book Charlotte's Web, where a spider (Charlotte) saves a piglet (Wilbur), who asks her why she did it. You have been my friend; that itself is a tremendous thing, said Charlotte.
A tremendous thing was part of a recent interview about a scruffy little dog with short legs that built a bridge to a man's heart and changed his life. Dion Leonard was running his seventh ultra-marathon through the Gobi Desert - a self-sufficiency week of 250 kilometers over grueling conditions in extreme heat - when he was joined by the little dog. The story is about her running with him and how, despite his determination to win the race, he stopped to help her across deep water and shared his meager rations. On the last two days, knowing she couldn't survive the mountainous terrain and final double marathon, he arranged for her to be driven to the end of the day's race, later learning that she sat in the heat, watching and waiting, until seeing him and running to greet him. Eventually, Dion was able to overcome hurdles to take her out of China and bring her to his home in Scotland, appropriately naming her Gobi. Their bond fits the song by Naomi Judd, Love can build a bridge between your heart and mine ... don't you think it's time, don't you think it's time. Surely, it was Divine Timing for Gobi and Dion!
Finding Gobi is more than a heartwarming love story between a man and a dog, but one of courage, survival and healing. Leonard had an abusive and volatile early life, left home at 14, earning money wherever he could to live and continue school. His running was his mental therapy to overcome the negative demons from his past, turn his life into something positive and be the best he could be. The moving CBC radio interview with Anna Maria Tremonti can be heard HERE.
During our lifetime we experience a mixture of emotions with circumstances, friends, relatives and business associates. Some are peaceful and others traumatizing, spinning us into a whirlwind of angst that forces us to dig deeply for inner strength. Yet, my experience is that it was the challenging ones that brought about my greatest spiritual and personal growth, often taking me in a new direction. So let us not berate ourselves for something we, or another, could or should have done, but remember we are each a beautiful unique Divine Gift, doing the very best we can.
The late author and poet, John O'Donohue (1956-2008), asked an elderly man living in the mountains in Ireland to share his wisdom. He replied that in his twenties he made a bargain to always remain best friends with himself, that he had made mistakes but had never broken that bargain. What great wisdom! Let's give ourselves that gift, to always be our own best friend for, as Charlotte said to Wilbur, that itself is a tremendous thing.
Thank you for journeying with me. Until next time, many blessings ... Namasté!
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
Apt. 202 - 1655 Martin Drive
Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada