The sky seems a little less blue, and the birds heralding the imminent arrival of spring are sounding somewhat muted...at least to my ears. So, what lies behind this general malaise I've experienced the past few days? Have I been worn down by the never-ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, by the cost in human life, not to mention the financial drain approaching one trillion dollars? Is it the incessant din of partisan wrangling over health care, jobs, financial reform, and every other issue on the national horizon? Could the cause be something simpler? Perhaps a visceral reaction set off by the unwelcome return of Rielle Hunter and "Johnny Edwards" to the national media consciousness?
While there's certainly nothing to inspire a 'dance of joy' associated with any of the above, the reason is actually a more decidedly personal one.
Mr. O'Malley passed away this week, just shy of his 112th birthday. If I didn't know better, I'd be scrambling for the record books to measure this achievement. I didn't have the pleasure of getting to know him until late in his life, but he nevertheless provided me with new insights, and caused me to re-examine some long-standing priorities.
Mr. O'Malley looked forward to each and every day, and enjoyed life to the fullest. He was oblivious to a person's race, age, sexual orientation, political beliefs, or appearance. Quite simply, he did not judge. He enjoyed the company of a wide assortment of people, and always welcomed the stranger. Mr. O'Malley manifested love without reservation. I found myself believing that the spark, or light, that was clearly present in his eyes just might answer questions of faith more succinctly (and accurately) than many a theologian or religious text.
O'Malley happened to be a golden retriever, and, as previously mentioned, he was just shy of his 16th birthday ("dog years"). He was a gentle, smiling soul, and I will miss him. I wish I'd had the opportunity to know him sooner, but I will be forever grateful that our paths ultimately crossed.