38. You Can't Teach An Old Dog New Tricks
Updated: Aug 7, 2022
“You have probably heard the saying, "you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. Actually, there is another saying that is more accurate, but not is quite as well known:
'The quickest way to become an old dog is to quit learning new tricks.’” Kenneth L. Higbee
At 58 years old, my life ceased as I knew it. There was a halt to everything. I had a cancer diagnosis. My body was failing faster than I wanted. I had been feeling like I had no real value and I also I remember thinking I had learned all I needed to and was ready to give up on myself.
I didn’t want to learn how to use Instagram! What do I need that for anyway? I couldn’t see how my life would make a difference to anyone else. I had used up my youth, raised a family, seen good days and some very bad days, and now my health has taken the last hit (I thought). What’s the point of fighting? Yet something from deep inside wanted to fight. It surprised me when it surfaced and said, “I want to fight this. I have something more to give and I will definitely need to share what I am learning. Give me a chance.”
That same voice said, “I am willing to change and grow and learn new things! I want my life to contribute to society in some very strong ways.” This voice spoke to me and said, “We will change! In every area that gets touched by this cancer treatment. We will work towards an end that makes sense of all of this for me and for the next person after me that has to face a hard circumstance!”
“What??!!!” I said as I listened to the voice. “I am so tired and old and worn out! What can I learn new with this old body? I have felt bad for so long! Do you think it's going to get better? You think things will change?”
“Will people listen to me? Who would listen to me???”
I said to the voice, “It better get better or no one will listen!”
The answer came back, “You will need to let me speak from now on. You will have to change your ‘want to’, and you will have to want to learn and grow, to see changes happen within you so deep that it will turn you inside out, and oh, yes, it will hurt; but in the long run it will heal those areas that brought you to this point. All your decisions, thoughts, right and wrong, your principles you have lived by, your expectations and disappointments, your excuses and whining, your values and morals, your loved possessions and your lost things, your perspective on life, the things that you hold dear, your selfishness, your wrong understanding, your viewpoints, those hidden emotions that you have stuffed down deep, every time you said, 'I don’t’ understand,' everything that didn't make sense at the time and you didn’t know what to do with, and all the run-on sentences in your life that have brought you to this pinpoint in time. The cancer diagnosis.”
It continued, “So how is that working out for you?”
I squirmed (but not with everything I had) against this voice. I knew the voice was right. I knew that I had only two choices in this.
To give in to the voice.
Or to give up my life and die.
(to walk away believing I had done the best that I could with what I had and die).
But what if I could turn some of the thinking around? What if forgiveness was real? What if I started to talk to myself differently; like I could do these things and that there would be a benefit in it?
This process took time. I wrote this short story after 4 weeks at Hope 4 Cancer clinic in Tijuana:
God asked, “Where are you?”
“Where am I?” my brain scrambles to find an answer.
“I am in a storm. I’m in a boat with Jesus.”
He is so confident, He is asleep. He is not sleeping in selfishness because His body was tired, He completely trusts in His time, His calling, and in the love, He thrives in from His Father.
I’m realizing the storm has changed, it’s more personal now.
I’m more involved. The outcome of it is totally dependent on how I see things now.
IT’S REAL! It affects every aspect of my being. I am not separate from the storm. I’m not on the outside watching it. I am fully engulfed in it. I am engaged.
IT'S MY STORM. I can’t run away from it, no hiding, no denying it’s real, it’s here and now. It’s no longer looming but happening on, in, and around me.
What is my outlook now??? I look around.
“I am not alone. I will make it through this,” I say to myself.
I am not alone. I feel others are watching, listening, waiting, and even anticipating that I will do something, say something, or experience something that will give them hope.
I can’t do this for someone else unless it’s real inside of me.
I am stronger now to fight than before. God has prepared me, and helped me see the smaller storms for the truth of what they were. He has given me counselors, and a companion in the midst of it all. (Thank you, Zack!)
I have people watching---waiting for the hope that I have found.
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks unless you’re the one with his favorite treat.” Anonymous
God dangled some treats for me to help me change my lifestyle: my grandchildren that I have not met yet, a new opportunity to share His hope not only with people in the Hope 4 Cancer Clinic but with many others that believed in God and prayed for me and gave financially to help me get well, to everyone I meet in person or online through FB or Instagram. He grew my potential even when I was not anywhere near ready to do my new tricks for Him. He was preparing me along for this. I guess you could say He believed in me before I did.
Please see my blog post #36 The Revelation of Psalm 139. This will show His belief in me, and you, and some of how He prepares us for His calling and purposes for our lives. It starts with Him and continues with Him and ends with Him. Amen.
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Monica DuBois copyright (c) August 7, 2022