Well, actually, that should be forbidden fruit, since that’s what the post is about: things we really really want, but can’t and shouldn’t have. In the old fairy tales, it was the garden over the wall that Rapunzel’s mother craved, leading to her husband becoming a thief, and her daughter being sold in return for the herb that shared a name with the new child. The original forbidden fruit led to the fall of man into sin, as Eve craved the one thing she could not have, and her husband was weak enough to give in to her remonstrances. In our season of discontent, the grass on the other side of the fence looks greener. Well, it may be. But that’s because if you jump the fence, you find yourself up to your neck in bog.
But why pick on puppies? you ask. Because when the First Reader and I were talking about blog topics this morning as we sat on the porch in the pre-dawn twilight sipping coffee, he reminded me about the black lab puppy. He’d been chatting with a friend not long ago, and she told him that her son had bought a pedigreed lab puppy, paid several hundred dollars for it and it’s papers, brought it home… and two weeks later, his wife said something to the effect of ‘it’s the dog or me.’ So this guy was trying to give away a puppy, and couldn’t find any takers at first. The First Reader has a serious weakness for dogs, and admitted that had he learned about the puppy when it was first being given away, he’d have come home with it. He knew the last thing we need right now is another dog. We’ve discussed that when we lose our current furry beast, as much as we love her, we won’t replace her. But… Puppy!
Now, I know and love labs. They are adorable goofballs. They are also in puppy-mode for up to three years. Two, at a minimum. Two years of hyperactive furball who will chew anything and everything, and! I’m so glad he didn’t find out about the puppy until it was already safely in a new home. I had a chance last week to bring home a kitten. We’d stopped at my brother-in-law’s house, and he has half-wild kittens frolicking in his yard. I am certain that if I asked, he’d have gladly helped me capture one to bring home. And we have mice in the pantry (yeah, that’s not fun. I’m putting everything in glass jars that I can). A cat would be very useful. Right? (queue the First Reader’s voice: NO CATS!) I’m mildly allergic to cats. I really ought not have one, as much as I love them.
Temptations abound in life. They might not even be our temptations. There’s a theme in fairy tales from around the world, in every culture, about the wife who envies… something, and who talks her husband into doing something stupid (like stealing from the witch) to make her happy. Or the child who pines away until the father (or more rarely, both parents) goes and gets what they want. A lack of discipline and self-control can lead to worse consequences than a cuddly puppy who is eating the table legs. Sometimes we can talk ourselves into doing something that we know we shouldn’t, but emotions are stronger than logic. Like me, right now. I really want to live in a house that is ours. Not one we’re renting, but our own house with our own yard I can garden in (or plant blackberries all over the lawn, like the First Reader suggested the other day. They are delicious, great ground cover, and best of all, they keep people OFF THE LAWN! LOL), walls I can paint if I want to, and our very own mortgage to pay on… It’s a really bad idea right now.
Fortunately, I don’t have a weak-willed husband who I can talk ’round to my point of view. Actually, on this topic we have been taking turns supporting the logic against the assault of emotional desires. Sometimes he’s the one wanting our own place where he can set up a woodshop/workshop, and a lock on the door to keep boys and dogs from barging into the bedroom. But we both know that for the next couple of years, we’ll be chasing my career, and as he keeps saying, next year we might be in Abilene. Why Abilene, I’m not sure, but it’s a good point. Still, I look at the for-sale signs out in the lawns of houses I drive past, and think about how we could buy and save half what we pay in rent. I’m really grateful for a strong husband. A puppy is less trouble than a house, when I stop and use logic.
We all have forbidden fruit in our lives. What hurts is if we fix our eyes on that, and only that. There are blessings and bounties all around us, but if we obsess over what we cannot have, we will damage ourselves and worse, pull our loved ones into the vortex with us. Find a way to drag yourself away from the foot of that tree, and focus on more healthy alternatives. Ones in your own garden. Or ones you can afford without paying with your child’s life. What the heart wants, it gets. That is not always a blessing.