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March 8, 2011

Trading a Known Good for a Complete Unknown

The bird in hand is, as we know, worth at least the two rumored to be in the bush.

Boz has joined a new family. It became official today. He spent the weekend with them while I was in Kansas City, and charmed them. They, in turn, assured me that they had already fallen in love with him. After three years of living with him, he has moved in with a family that will adore and stimulate him as they did their last two labs, both of whom died last year at good old ages.

I will be traveling. Soon I will leave for a long stay in Germany. I decided that the quality of his life would be better if he lived with someone who was around more and whose life was more stimulating for him – i.e., less sedentary, more active, than my own. He has a 16 month old boy and a cat who will challenge him to learn to live with them. He has a dad who will take him on the job at his landscaping business five days a week, and a mom who is a teacher, a former Peace Corps volunteer, and an avid walker. As their son grows older, they will take him and Boz hiking and camping together. It's going to be a good life.

Am I doing the right thing? Who knows? I hope and believe so. If I am not, at least I will be the only one paying the price for the mistake. Boz will be in good, caring hands. I have learned, again, that doing the right thing does not make it easier.

I don't know where my life will go after Germany. The last trip taught me that life, like travel plans, can take unexpected detours with no warning. There is no doubt that, having found Boz a great new home, I will have more options for my future. Only time will tell if that flexibility will lead to better places. Life is full of choices that cannot be clear without knowing the future.

It is right sometimes to risk even the great goods in our lives if, by doing so, we make greater goods possible. But, inspirational possibilities aside, the fact is, we risk opening ourselves to regret at the same time. That's what makes it a risk, and not an inspirational anecdote.

And so I have let the bird (dog) in hand fly free. He is, I know, better for it. I'm going, empty-handed now, to investigate what's in the bushes, and the forests behind them. I will keep you posted on what I find.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post, John. Reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: "One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." ~Andre Gide


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