Bringing Order to Chaos

Golden Rule #10: Realize Sometimes the Question is More Important Than the Answer.

Ever spent time with someone who seems to have all the answers, no matter what the question is? You push a button and out pops an answer? That’s kind of a fortune-cookie approach to life. The answers you find in fortune cookies are usually generic enough to fit any number of life’s questions or dilemmas. Every once in a while, though, an answer seems tailored to your specific situation. Almost like the person fitting the fortune into the cookie knew… Or did the fortune exist first, and the cookie got formed and baked around it?

In life, it seems like most of the time we have the information or the answers we need, but we don’t necessarily know it. Maybe it’s not in a place where we would expect it to be. It’s all jumbled together in a drawer and there’s no good way to make sense of it. When that happens, and that’s not an if, that’s a when, rather than sifting endlessly through the random bits and pieces of facts and information, perhaps it’s better to ask the question, or questions, that begin to bring order out of that chaos.

I’ve been called the last of the great listmakers. I do love lists. Talk about a great way to bring order out of chaos! From my earliest years, I learned to make a list of pros and cons when facing a decision. Every time a thought or idea came to mind, it landed on the list in one of those two columns. The act of putting those down on paper somehow freed up space in my mind, and my thoughts could move forward instead of orbiting endlessly in the same tired rut. It may not be everyone’s choice as far as how to make decisions, but it has worked well for me.

Copper on tile age 3 months

By now, Copper probably has hundreds of different words and commands in his repertoire. It’s fun to watch him respond when we ask him questions. I can tell when he’s ready for some specific thing or activity, and he’s taught me to use the words, “Show me.” And he does! He takes me to the place most closely connected to his chosen activity — the back door, or the front door, or the laundry room where his leash hangs, or the freezer where his nightly doggy ice cream resides, or the bathroom for a drink from the tub, or the bag hanging on my closet door where his toothbrush treats are kept. He knows he can communicate with us when we ask him to show us what he wants, and that helps bring order to his world.

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