pot has been an amazing, unexpected gift. It came three years ago, just as the crew was preparing to sell our longtime family magazine and begin a new one for women. We were ready for change. And boy, did we get it! The new magazine was ready. The first issue was written and the systems were in place. But doors that should’ve been opening weren’t. In fact, door after door seemed to close. I repeatedly delayed its launch. While seemingly ready, something wasn’t right. Then suddenly, a brand new door opened, and here came Spot. We’re all Pet People around here, and Spot essentially jumped into our laps and refused to “get down.” Like that awkward, distracting moment when you’re trying to read and your beloved decides he/she must be in your lap right now. As this scenario often goes, we laid the book down and embraced the animal. A purring commenced, and doors began to open — fast. But Spot didn’t get near the TLC a fledgling publication requires. For its first two years our tiny group was overwhelmed, still running the family magazine, then its sale, and then, Spot too. The fact that Spot seemed to “sit and stay” — patiently, faithfully — made a convincing case that it was simply meant to be. I trust things like that. I’d be lying if I said I was thrilled with Spot’s arrival. It was not what I’d planned. Back then my sights were set on the high gloss, beauty and brains, “pursuit
of enlightenment” world of a woman’s magazine. Something bigger than me set us on a different path. And for that I am immensely grateful. The gifts of this adventure are huge. Like the gentleman who trekked recently from the VA Hospital to see us at Wolf to Woof. Cancer forced him to leave his home in Montana (and his beloved Chip the Chocolate) to be near medical, grocery and other necessities. The photo of his dog went up on the See Spot Smile! wall, and he was beaming when we connected again as he was leaving. He’d met a kindred soul at the exhibit, he said, adding, “I think maybe we can be friends. I’m leaving here a much happier man than when I arrived.” Here’s the note he emailed a few days later: Dear Jennifer, I am so pleased to have met you yesterday as a result of my picking up your SPOT at the Beaverton library. Thank you for assisting me as well as hosting me at your show. I think I related that I met a fellow Navy vet also w/ the same illness and that maybe we can help each other, as well. However, the star of the show and of my day was a car wash-clean Springer Spaniel; although the most affectionate was a Greyhound (no, there wasn’t a bus pic on her side). I also obtained info on ASSIST DOGS that I now can follow up on . . . All in all, a most wonderful and important day in my life, thanks to you.
This may seem a little thing, but it’s not. It’s a fine example of the bottomless Santa’s sack of gifts delivered around here . . . almost daily. Like the connection with Robert in Eugene, that allowed us all to share and honor the life of his beloved companion. With Ric in Portland, whose shining light has made the walls glow. With Val in Clackamas, who fit right in like found family. With Ann in Troutdale, whose wisdom and cheer changed the shape of things for the smarter. The gifts take the form of relationships, opportunities to make a difference, moments of learning that promise a future just a little better than the past. I’m amazed and gratified that something I did not plan, and in fact originally didn’t really want has brought so much blessing to my life and the lives of others. Perhaps the greatest gift of all for me was the lesson that if I posture myself wide open vs. getting bound up in “my own plans,” amazing things can happen.
Open wide. The gifts are all around us. And the more openhanded we walk, the more we’re able to give and receive.
What a gift!
Sincerely, Cliff Parver SPOT MAGAZINE
| DECEMBER 2008
Published on Dec 2, 2008