Hachi Homework

Ruby is home sick today. And I’m watching her.

I don’t know about your kid, but when my girl is sick, all she wants to do is watch TV or movies.  So we watched several episodes of “Adventure Time”

Almost makes me want to write another book.

After we watched a few shows, Ruby requested a movie.  Specifically, “Hachi”. Ruby loves dogs. Ugh.  I love the movie and I’ve mused over its theme of undying loyalty.  It’s just very sad.  I knew I’d be a blubbering mess after a bit.

Picture from www.g-pop.net
Picture from http://www.g-pop.net

The original story takes place in the 1920s in Japan. This version,  Americanized and modernized, is about a stray Akita adopted by a kind man named Parker.  He and Parker form a special bond. Hachi has one heart to give and he gives it all to Parker.  He walks Parker to his train every day. Then he walks his doggie self home.  Just before 5:00 p.m., Hachi races to meet Parker at the train.  We see them taking walks together and playing, Hachi growing into a handsome adult dog. One day, Parker dies while teaching a class at the university.  He doesn’t come home.  Hachi keeps on meeting the train, day after day, year after year, until he too dies. He resists any attempt at comfort from a new home or new owners. He stands vigilant, patiently waiting for his master to return.

I have a love/hate relationship with the narrative. It makes me cry every time. This time it got me for a different reason.  Hachi’s loyalty still touches me.  More than that, though, is the beauty of the relationship he shares with Parker.  Do we see the great gift of a special friendship? I’m sure Parker always thought he’d outlive Hachi; Hachi only had a dog’s life span to live, after all.  But Parker didn’t.

It got me thinking. Do we value the time we have with our kids, knowing they will grow up and leave home all too soon? Our spouses are some of God’s most precious gems.  Do we give them our love and respect, or is contempt often spewing from our mouths? All of these relationships by their very nature are transient, here one moment and gone the next. None of us last forever.

Several songs tell it like it is:  Don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. Jonathon says it takes a different perspective to inspire gratefulness.  Like how we appreciate living in Shelton after moving out of Portland, where we lived on the edge of the ‘hood. And how I got to stay home for 10 years, raising kids. I get it now.  Now that I work full-time, I miss taking care of my family, all the cooking and cleaning and shuttling. I lack the time to bless them, something that used to weigh on me because I had so much of it. I have very little now.  I have this small window of time – today – to bless them.  How can I maximize it to show how very much I love them all?

This is the day the Lord has made.
    We will rejoice and be glad in it. – Psalm 118:24


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