As you may know, I recently got a service dog named Malibu. She’s incredible, and amazing at what she does. One of her favorite tasks to preform is called “under” and it literally means laying underneath a table, whether that be at a restaurant or class or meeting. She loves to lay quietly out of view, which is exactly her job as a well-trained working dog.
Recently, Mali spent an entire meal at a local restaurant quietly sleeping underneath our table. When we got up to leave, she slowly walked out from her cozy hiding spot and stood right by my side, just as she has been taught to do. The people at tables nearby all immediately turned their attention to the massive dog that they just became aware of. A customer nearby exclaimed “I didn’t even know there was a dog under that table! Wow!”
It got me thinking, as literally everything does. Most people never even know that my dog is under the table until she comes out. What else do I keep hidden under the table? What else do people not know about me, until it comes out either in conversation or visibility?
I’m sure I’m not the only one with something(s) under the table. In this instance, I think of my hidden service dog as a symbol of my hidden pain. My hidden anxiety. My hidden fears. My hidden struggles. Under the table, I have hidden all of the bad things – and in my case, they look a lot like a 70 pound pup.
What if I called her out from under the table more? What if she wakes up, and decides to come out of hiding for a stretch or a pet? What if she wasn’t so well hidden or so quiet under there? Usually, when she comes out of hiding people’s faces light up. They see her. They see me. They see us as a team, and embrace and accept her for what she is trained to do.
They tell me she’s beautiful.
What if we brought some of our other well-hidden baggage out from under the table? What if people accept it and embrace it for what it is, and not cast judgment or pity?
What if they tell us that what we’ve been hiding is beautiful? Would we not live our lives with so much secrecy and fear anymore?
Whatever you have hiding under your table – Embrace it. Nurture it. Share it. It’s beautiful. It’s you.
With all the love,