Every day I want to be more like my dogs. At least in some aspect. I do not care for the slurping or the shedding hair, but perhaps their ability to fall asleep anywhere and at any time. And in their disposition. Dogs do not give in to cynicism. How do I know this? Comet enjoys collecting more than eating his dog biscuits on his doggie pillow. Perhaps this aging, former shelter dog is feeling more secure in knowing he has a biscuit should he want one. Dexter, on the other hand, might give Comet a reason to be cynical, in that he always succeeds in eating the biscuits out from under Comet’s nose. Comet might complain with a yelp, or block Dexter’s passage through a hallway for a time. Yet one is always eager to go for a walk with the other. Each is optimistic as to their good fortune – that tomorrow they will still have plenty of food, clean water, and a comfortable home to share with their humans.
On the other hand, many journalists, politicians, revolutionaries, and talk show hosts seem to thrive on cynicism. A world in disarray, an uncertain future, and little hope characterizes their reporting, or governance, or grievances. I often take walks to distance myself from the instantaneous reporting of bad times. Writer Ricky Gervais notes that a cynic wants others to be as unhappy as themselves. Actor Jeff Bridges is quoted that a cynic is actually the remnant of a crushed romantic protecting the little life left within them. ( It might be this that makes his characters seem so engaging.)
Thanks to a renewed “leash” on life, my dogs help me rediscover the romantic in my old age. It was our friends who note that we have a responsibility to help others much younger than ourselves remain positive in difficult times. It is not simply that the company of canine pals will provide that security, but convictions gained through Faith, studied and practiced, are life lessons in a balanced, centered life that has little room for cynicism.