“Sit!” you shouted at the dog. We got a golden retriever the other day, and you have been spending the last few days trying to train it to follow your commands. Usually, golden retrievers are friendly and happy, yet the one that we had was somehow down-trodden and just spent days lying on the floor.
“Leave him alone,” I said, looking up from my book. “Perhaps he is just treating your voice as noise and ignoring it on purpose.”
“But…I want him to do something!” you exclaimed.
“Just leave him be,” I replied, closing my book and moving to the dog, stroking his magnificent golden fur. “He will come through.”
“But,” you stammered, your eyes starting to feel with tears of frustration, “I have been trying so hard!”
I walked towards you and stroked your hair with my other hand. “Don’t worry, perhaps he is not used to you. It will happen.”
You pushed my hairs away and looked at me, with anger tears pouring from your eyes. “You don’t understand!” you screamed, “I WANT IT TO HAPPEN NOW.”
I looked at you speechless. You were usually the optimistic one, and to see your sudden burst of emotions left me stunned and not knowing what to do. You covered your eyes and ran back into the house.
“Come on dude,” I said to the dog, stroking his fur again, “You know how he feels, so show something will you?” The dog looked at me, and I swear I could see him nod, but then he turned away from me and just stared into nothingness.
I walked back into the house, and saw you sobbing away in one corner. I washed my hands in the kitchens, and grabbed some tissue before coming over to give you a hug, waiting patiently for you to say something.
“Why can’t things just go our way?” you mumbled, taking a piece of tissue from my hand and blowing your nose like a trumpet.
“Because that’s what Life is about,” I replied.
“But even when we try so hard, things just don’t go our way,” you said, your voice getting clearer. I could sense your anger rising again.
I paused and thought about it. “You can’t control everything, and you can’t force anyone to do what you want them to do.”
“But then I will be upset!”
“Which of you would be happier then?” I asked. “Someone doing something for you because you forced it on them, or someone doing something for you because they want to?”
You stopped your sobbing, and I knew I had struck home.
“Look, the dog probably isn’t used to us yet. Give it some time. Leave him alone—”
“LOOK!” You shouted, pointing at the door. “HE IS COMING INSIDE!”
You ran towards to dog and gave it a little hug, tears of happiness dripping from your eyes.
I smiled, looked at the dog and mouthed “Thank you” and gave both you a big hug.
The dog just went “Woof!” and started shaking his tail for the first time.