Forming into this human being called Pamela, I struggled as a child and as a teen with what I was, as much as who I was. I think back to the defining moment when I determined why I’d been formed at all.
Suzy springs to mind.
On a cold winter’s afternoon, my mom came across a young mutt freezing a few blocks from our New Jersey home. The smallish mid-sized dog wore no collar and shivered on the snowy sidewalk, allowing my mom to tempt her into our warm home with some crackers and a quick greeting of, “Come on in, Suzy Q.” Within an hour, maybe less, Suzy became a member of the family. No one questioned why she was there and if we should have a dog. She just belonged.
But Suzy also became mine immediately. Maybe she was the alien contact I’d been looking for when I was 10. Now, at 13 years old, I was an alien to myself, growing into awkward bumps and lumps, feeling as loved and lovable as a turnip.
But Suzy attached herself to me as if I were her salvation and slave, her goddess and her kingdom, her muse while she empowered me with her own wisdom.
I discovered a reason to be here, at this dimension, space and time – to love.
My love cast a spell on Suzy, at first a most unattractive dog. Her short brown and white hair was wiry and rough. Her small soft ear flaps folded over in strange angles, and her tail seemed disproportionately long. Her stumpy legs were neither short nor long; they got her to wherever she was going. Her brown eyes had little expression, and her mouth neither turned up nor down.
Until I loved her. Then, miraculously, Suzy turned into an enchanted and enchanting animal. Her lively brown eyes danced in excitement when she met me at the door after I returned from school. Her mouth widened into a huge cocky smile when I walked her, or talked to her, or shared a just-baked chocolate chip cookie. Her brown fur turned more blonde, and the pattern of white and blonde hairs on her spine swirled into an intricate pattern that brought her glances from the male dogs in the neighborhood.
She began to read with me on my bed, and when she slept, she snored contentedly by my side. On the few times she was naughty and raced away unleashed in the late afternoon, I’d wait for her long after everyone else in the family went to bed. Sure enough, by 2 or 3 a.m., she’d whine at the front door with a sad tilt to her head, admitting that she’d been bad.
I always forgave her.
Thus, I learned about love. And as that learning process grew, I transformed too, and in a few years turned heads myself – not only of other dogs in the neighborhood, but of the next-door teenage neighbor’s boyfriend.
And love grew, as did my contentment with my reason for being.
Do you have a defining moment when you discovered your raison d’etre ?