Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Morning After

This morning after Christmas Day, I'm sipping coffee from a Black Dog pottery mug given me by my dog and cat. How they manage to get out and do any shopping always amazes me. People often comment, with a smile, when they see my dog sitting in the driver's seat of the car, "Who's your chauffeur?" Either there's more to this than a joke or the two of them have figured out how to call United Parcel Service.

What's even more amazing is their choice: it's precisely the same mug I admired a few days ago and said nothing about. The Black Dog is a tavern located on Martha's Vineyard, a little island off the coast of Massachusetts, and you can purchase a variety of items, including sweatshirts like the one they also gave me, emblazoned with their logo . I'm assuming, however, that both came from the Black Dog store located in the Old Port. The cat gets sea sick enough just driving in the car -- I can only imagine what he would have been like taking the ferry out to the Vineyard.

On the other hand, it's also possible they contacted a more Northern Source. Christmas morning, they're both difficult to rouse and I've long suspected they were up late socializing after I've called it a night. I say this because the eggnog and cookies I left for Santa (well out of the reach of canine and feline snackers) were gone yesterday when I got up. That still doesn't explain how they managed to choose the one I liked.

You're probably chuckling over all of this as am I. But it really has a deeper purpose. If the road to hell is lined with good intentions, as I mentioned a few days ago, then cynicism is its doormat. Disillusionment is not the necessary corollary of adulthood and maturity. We all experience disappointments and loss, but becoming hard of heart and having our vision of life and the world darkened until we watch, suspiciously, for pain and hurt at every turn is tragic.

Any blow struck for goodness is always, always better than giving into despair. To paraphrase the 16th century church reformer, Martin Luther, the devil flees in the face of our laughter. Obviously, humor alone isn't going to solve the world's problems, but the optimism that lies beneath it and suffuses into our ways of thinking and dealing with one another can be transforming. Speaking for myself, I can always use more of that.

(Photo of Black Dog pottery mug by the author)

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