Love edifies.

Sherlock, aka “Pup Pup.” Photo courtesy of Paige Lyons.

A friend said something to me yesterday that struck a chord: “If people are afraid they are going to be censored right and left, they simply hush.”

Today, Sherlock has been extremely needy. And his little puppy belly is profoundly upset – in one squat he struggles with constipation, then mere moments later it’s pure liquid. Once he was finished, he ran to the back door to be let in to the relative cool and dry. We came downstairs together, and before I knew it – his belly gave an almighty lurch and he released his bowels in our basement.

And I snapped.

I shouted, “NO!” as sternly as I could. Great big bronze eyes turned to me, tail tucked and body quivering. Upon meeting my angry gaze, Sherlock ran to my office and hid under my desk. I continued to shout for him to come to me – I wanted to keep him in my sight, to make sure no other accidents occurred. He flew past me and up the stairs and stood, cowering against the basement door.

Words that I often say to Michael came to mind: “He responds to happiness and kindness, and not harshness or sternness.”

I was immediately ashamed of myself.

Several moments later, after taking him out another time and taking the time to clean up his accident, I shut him in my office with me, to keep him close (and away from the air conditioning repair man, assuming he hasn’t already come and gone). He sat tentatively away from me, staring at me. I spoke soothingly to him, barely patted my leg – and up he came, as forgiving as ever, nuzzling into my chest as if he were finally home and safe.

Another definition for censor is “condemnation or censure.” And I’m reminded of my friend’s words of wisdom yesterday, and my reply: “And that is why most people think that I am a very, very quiet person.”

Just like Sherlock, when people speak harshly to me, I shut down. But when they speak lovingly, kindly…I am more likely to respond favourably. To thrive. Conversation shuts down, hushes, with censorship. But opens up with love.

To further make my point…if I want to treat others well, harsh words are not the answer. If I want to love others, get to know them, be a safe place for them, I cannot shut down conversation.

I must be kind. I must be loving. I must be encouraging.

And a funny thing happens when I force myself to calm down and be these things: I really do become calm. And my eyes are opened to truths that in my harshness I may have been blind to.

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