Once I read this story in Chicken Soup for the Veteran’s Soul that really stuck in my mind. The butcher was really surprised when a dog wandered into his shop. His first instinct was to shoo him away when he noticed that the dog had a note in his mouth. It read, “Can I have 12 sausages and a leg of lamb, please. The dog has money in his mouth, as well.” And sure enough the dog had a twenty-dollar bill in his mouth. He took the money, put the sausages and the lamb in a bag that he placed in the dog’s mouth and the dog left.
The owner of the shop, quite impressed, decided to follow the dog. The dog arrives at a level crossing, puts down his bag, jumps up, presses the button and when the green light is on, saunters across the road with the butcher following. The dog then comes to a bus stop, and after looking at the timetable, sits down on one of the seats provided. When a bus comes, he goes up front and checks the number, notices it is the right bus and climbs on. The butcher, by now open-mouthed, follows him onto the bus.
At a certain moment, the dog stands on his two back paws and pushes the button to stop the bus. Then he gets off, his groceries still in his mouth! After walking a few meters, the dog stops at a house. He drops the groceries on the step and takes a big run and throws himself against the door. Once, twice, three times. Since there is no answer at the door, he walks around the house until he finds a window and starts beating his head against it several times.
Finally the door opens and a big guy comes out and starts abusing the dog, kicking him and punching him. Since he could not stand this beating the butcher runs towards this man and screams at him, “What in heaven’s name are you doing? The dog is a genius. He could be on TV, for the life of me!” To which the guy responds: “You call this clever? This is the second time this week that this stupid dog has forgotten his key! ”
Some people are never satisfied! When it’s warm they want it cold, when it’s cold they want it warm. They are always demanding more. I do not know where this dissatisfaction comes. It may be mindless pride or nonsensical insecurity. I do not know. One thing is certain – these people make their lives and the lives of those around them a misery.
A dear elderly woman was asked what she uses to make her complexion so fresh and beautiful and her whole being so lively and attractive. She simply answered: I use for my lips, truth; I use for my voice, kindness; I use for my ears, compassion; I use for my hands, charity; I use for my figure, respectability; I use for my heart, love; I use for any who do not like me, prayer. Christianity can make us beautiful. Very beautiful.
I think it helps to remember that excellence is not a place at which we arrive so much as a way of traveling.
(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.