Recently a friend was cleaning out a storage space and came upon a tattered piece of paper. Ready to discard the paper, A family member hurriedly snatched said piece of paper out of his hand. “This isn’t trash! This was the first note B— wrote to me!” Knowing his children and that the person mentioned had not grown up to be a treasured friend but was simply a passing acquaintance, my friend was confused. The child explained that receipt of this note meant acceptance in a new school, recognition, and led to a sense of confidence. The paper ended up being discarded after several months but now my friend realized how important what seemed like trash had been. He had found it at a time the same child was going through another transition and finding the note once again led to a renewed sense of purpose and recognition of self.
Our beliefs should give us a sense of well-being, a confidence to go forward in our living. Beliefs that require destruction might be beliefs that need a second or third consideration. We also need to remember that what is uplifting to us or even comical is not always perceived by others in the same manner. Where my friend saw a dirty crumpled piece of paper, his child had seen a memory of hope.
The deities of these ancient mythologies have similar stories. They may seem comical to us but to those living in the times, they offered hope, guidance, and confidence. The roman had deities that protected the home and community called Lares. From an ancient Etruscan word meaning “lord” (more in the sense of protector and not actual Lord), these Lares were honored with niches in homes and statues on dining tables.
The Lares protected much more than just a doorway or entire home. They protected an entire city or region. Often portrayed as twin males in some form of movement or play, the Lares were frequently though to borrow the hounds or dogs belonging to the goddess Diana. The dogs were assist them in chasing away thieves or evildoers.
Arriving in Italy after the Trojan War, Aeneas brought back twin deities known as the Penates. Whether or not they were considered to be Lars, they were seen as protectors of Rome. These two youths were often depicted seated as opposed to the Lares youths which always seemed to be dancing or playing. The Penates were often represented at the dining table and before meals were consumed, thanks and prayers were said to them.
We protect what we hold dear, even if it is a tattered piece of paper. This is the reason many in the United States feel they need to carry and have access to firearms. Sadly, though, another shooting in a public venue has proven that such access can lead to tragedy.
Recently, a veterinarian in Florida had his personal dog I his office. A child made what the dog perceived to be a threatening move and the dog reacted in a manner to protect himself and his owner. Now the dog is scheduled to be euthanized although legal action to prevent such as been initiated. The child was not permanently physically damaged and certainly the parents of said child should have had a better handle on what the child was doing. Not all dogs feel comfortable with young children and even those who do frequently expect them to understand dog behavior – jumping and growling being standard forms of play and communication for canines.
I do not know the man who committed the shooting in the movie theater last evening in a small town in Louisiana. He was almost sixty years of age and Caucasian. No other details have been released as of the time of this writing. The dog in question is a breed known for its congeniality and friendliness. My point is this – There are no guarantees in life, even with the protection of the Lares or God or if you practice daily meditation and live in harmony with nature and man. Life can still get messy.
What we can do and should do is make sure we do not act in such a way that imposes our will upon others without their consent. There is no purpose in living with arrogance or hatred. We as a family of mankind, a race of intelligent beings, can do better than we have been.
Puppies are delightful. They approach live with exuberance and some caution. They slip and slide and get right back up. They bring a smile to our face and give us unconditional love. They grow to being family companions and protectors, much like the Lares of antiquity. What if we grew into being protectors of each other – not with weaponry but with kindness and charity? What is we approached every day with the energy of joy that puppies bring to life? What is we lived a life of puppy love instead one of anxiety, peer pressure, and chaos?
We all are worthy of recognition and acceptance. Comfortable people, people who feel at ease with themselves and their fellow man, do not seek ways to harm, do not walk avenues that maim and cripple both themselves and their victims. What if we treated strangers as if they were already our best friends? It was with the Lares that dogs became known as man’s best friend. Today, I hope as you pass a stranger, you share a smile, give them a little bit of patience, and show respect to all. Today I hope you recognize the love within you and the potential it can offer the entire world. We all need a little puppy love.