I used to be deathly afraid of dogs.
And this is not just the fright that comes with seeing a huge, menacing canine. I would literally get fevers just at the mere sight of a small pup. I was five years old, and I would come home with chills at the thought of running into a dog on the street or in our school playground. Call it odd, an exaggeration if you will, but I wasn’t just scared of them like I would at horror movies. I was seriously, seriously terrified.
If you knew me today, that last paragraph probably sounds illogical to you now. With four large dogs and a fifth one (hopefully!) coming soon, you would never really think that I used to have this phobia. Just when I used to shiver at the idea of these four legged creatures pouncing at me, little did I realize that 24 years later, I would actually develop a real fondness and love for dogs and would completely understand why they are called man’s best friends.
You’re probably thinking how I got over this fear quite quickly. There were no magic potions or training classes that helped me overcome my terror. Jay allowed me to conquer my fear of dogs, and that’s just one of the thousand different things that I am thankful for.
I never really tried to associate love with courage, but I realized that being strong is a choice we make. In the same way that he slowly familiarized me to the world of dogs, I have always been vocal in saying that he paved the way to my faith journey as well. There was no pressure to fit in, to be resilient or to not scream and resist during my first few interactions with his pets; in the same token, he never pressured me to connect with God immediately or become an instant believer. Jay was patient yet positive, strong but steadfast --- add some grace into the mix and I have experienced more breakthroughs and amazing things in my life more than I will ever have the courage to believe.
Today is Jay’s birthday, and more than just a celebration of life and love, it’s a celebration of courage. He taught me to be strong amidst the challenges and I continue to admire his relentless effort to be a Child in awe. His life reminds me that everyday is an adventure, that each day is a chance to get over your fears, to treat life with curiosity and wide-eyed wonder, and to put faith even when it seems to not make sense.
Here’s to more birthdays, breakthroughs and blessings with you! Happy Birthday!
Thunder - the Sheltie,Elias - the Terv, Jesseboy - the Groenendael, Bathala - the Golden and Barbie - the Pag-Ibig :)