“Lost Saint Bernard”

I saw this on some local social media recently. My first thought was, “How in the hell do you lose a Saint Bernard?” I mean, this is not a dog that can scoot past your ankles while you’re checking the mail. It’s not going to tip-toe past you while you’re binge watching Arrested Development. It’s not hunkered down beneath your shrubbery, hoping to be overlooked.

Losing a Saint Bernard would be akin to losing a baby elephant. Granted, I bet they can run really fast when properly motivated, but as long as you’re hot on their tail, it would be awfully hard for one to just disappear. I think it would take a concerted effort to lose a dog of this size.

Maybe it got stolen. But you’d have to be pretty stupid to steal a Saint Bernard. They can weigh anywhere from 140 to 260 pounds. Can you imagine how much a dog that size must eat? Taking on a Saint Bernard would be like adopting a full grown human being, but one who is prone to chewing the furniture and is a lot less discerning as to where he or she defecates.

But then, while I was busy scoffing at this turn of events, I vaguely remembered a family story. Apparently, when I was a toddler, we had a Saint Bernard. One of the rooms in our house was a step higher than the room below it, so when I’d scoot around in my walker, the dog would lie across the doorway, to keep me from falling. What a good dog.

I have no idea why we would have a dog that size when my single mother had a toddler and two other kids around age 10, but there you have it.

And, ironically, when I grew up and asked her what became of that dog, she said it heard some fire engine sirens and ran away. Hmm. That sounds a lot like one of those, “Spot is now living happily on a farm” type stories. Looking back as an adult, I bet she couldn’t handle it anymore, and got rid of it, or at the very least was kind of glad when it bolted. It wasn’t the first time she’d made up a story to avoid drama, and it wouldn’t be the last.

Because honestly, how do you lose a Saint Bernard?

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Okay, You Win.

I’ve always been one to fight the good fight. I believe in standing up for what’s good and just. I’ll stick my neck out when others won’t. Someone has to tell the emperor he has no clothes, right? Integrity is one of the qualities I’m most proud of.

But somewhere along the line a piece was left out of this puzzle for me. Yes, I’ve heard the expression, “You can’t win them all,” but oddly enough, I never seemed to realize that that means that I can’t win them all, either.

This disconnect in my brain has caused me no end of frustration. When my mother used to tell me that life wasn’t fair, even as a small child I’d be outraged by this news. What’s the point if life isn’t fair, or can’t be made fair?

Somewhere along the line I didn’t learn the adult lesson that sometimes you just have to suck it up and deal with the bitter, awful realities of life. Sometimes justice just isn’t going to prevail. Sometimes the bad guys win.

I don’t like this lesson. I don’t want to learn it. But if I don’t, I’ll lose my mind. Sometimes you just have to surrender and say, “Okay, you win.” That’s the only way you’ll live to fight another day.


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