The answer to vulnerability? Trust.Lately I’ve been feeling vulnerable. Physically it’s because my hips hurt from walking through the deep snow, but emotionally it’s because I’ve become so dependent on help.  Overall there’s nothing wrong with being somewhat reliant on others — for our food, for our lights, for bagging our poop. But recognizing dependence is not the same as admitting vulnerability.  I’m feeling vulnerable because I’m aging. “That’s normal,” I’ve been told, and “It’ll be OK.  I’m here for

you.” In some ways that’s comforting, but it doesn’t soothe the burning embarrassment from always needing help.   My name is Lazarus and I’m a 13 year-old Plott Hound. I’ve come back from near-death after losing a battle with a bear and I once survived 3 days lost in the mountains despite being nearly blind. These days I’m helped down the stairs for fear I’ll stumble and fall if left on my own.

Please understand, I feel safe in my home and know I’m well loved and cared for, yet I’ve always been stoic, not humbled.   Is this the paradox of aging? Wanting to walk for a great deal longer than my legs will carry me? Reminding everyone of my prideful history through the age that shows in my gray hairs?  Vigilant at the food bowl because I can’t remember if I’ve already eaten?  So I ask myself, is this vulnerability or is it pride? We each have our vices — from chocolate or cigarettes to goose poop or trash cans. For too many of us ‘pride’ is the vice that makes us vulnerable. Our pride refuses to admit our physical limits. Our pride bemoans our situation. It is our pride that makes us vulnerable, and whether physical or emotional, the removal of pride and vulnerability requires trust.

I put my trust in the person helping me down the stairs because they trust I will welcome them home. I have to trust our walk won’t be too long for my weakening legs because I trust their driving while I sit in the back seat. We trust in whoever wraps their arms around us, trust in whoever extends their hand to help us up. Dogs are full of trust. You should try it.

(Lazarus lives with Biostar’s Rick Moore)

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