Everything you go through grows you – Bob Sima, “No Mud, No Lotus”
On Monday night I had the honor of hosting a special event to launch my friend Rebecca Whitecotton’s latest book, Pull Your Self Together: A True Story of Alternate Realities, Spiritual Healing, and Dimensional Wholeness (available on Amazon). All of the book launches I have attended have consisted of the authors reading excerpts of their work followed by Q&A. This one, like the book itself, was a little different. Besides the reading and the Q&A, we had a mini-interview between Rebecca and me, testimonials from early readers, and a beautiful performance of “No Mud, No Lotus” from Bob Sima and Shannon Plummer. Rebecca includes “No Mud, No Lotus” as one of four theme songs in her book, and it was exactly what I needed to hear that night.
You see, my heart has been feeling bruised and tender. A week ago we had to have our little Westie, Bailey, put to sleep after 11 years of companionship and love. Many of you reading this knew Bailey well. When I held writing workshops at my home, she greeted everyone at the door with enthusiastic barking, often long after it seemed reasonable. Once we were seated in the writing circle, she settled down in the middle of the rug and went to sleep. Sometimes she wanted to jump onto the ottoman, and I could see writers glancing up over their notebooks to silently urge her on (with her short, stocky build, it usually took her several tries). When she made it, there were smiles all around the room. On occasion, she would erupt from her slumber and startle us all with a piercing bark in response to a sound none of us could hear. But mostly she snoozed away, content to be in the circle. Sometimes there was a noxious odor that wafted from her area of the room, and I hoped the others wouldn’t think it came from me!
With all that drama, you might be wondering if the writers actually enjoyed having Bailey around. I wondered that sometimes, too. But whenever my husband took her for a drive or she was away at the groomer’s when they arrived, they would always ask about her. She was as much a part of the circle as anyone. I know that when we gather again in person her friendly, spunky presence will be missed.
Today we received Bailey’s ashes in a beautifully carved rosewood box. There have been cards from her regular vet and her cardiologist. There are poems and prayers and condolences from friends far and near. And every day my husband and I feel her absence, which is almost palpable. But we have countless memories of her funny antics (she loved chasing a flashlight beam and the vacuum cleaner), quirks (she walked with us better off the leash than on), favorite things (popcorn, cucumber slices, going for a ride), and camping adventures, among many others. And in the end, I take comfort in these lyrics from “No Mud, No Lotus”:
If it hurt it made you softer If it was hard it fueled the hunger. If it touched you, your heart took hold. If it was simple, it made you wise If it was sweet, it made you smile Weaved an indelible impression on your soul.