Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Old Dogs and Children

Two of my better friends each lost their dog just this past week. Those losses brought back memories and reopened wounds that had long since scabbed over. One died in her Mom & Dad's arms at home of old age while the other; old likewise, was with those who loved her but at the Vet's having to be put down. It was hard for each of them to say goodbye, as it was hard for me to drop each of them a note of condolence and offer what thoughts as I might. At various times I have been in each of their shoes myself.

Over a year ago Barbaro was put down and I referred to it in a post. People are either animal people or they're not. I am.

I've always found compassion and love in animals while it has not often been so in people. That's probably why I identified with my friends' loss and why it was so important yet difficult to say the right thing. But, I'm fairly certain each appreciated my comments. To often we hear: "It was just a pet, get over it." But only from one who has not been in relation with one of God's creatures.

I feel compelled to post the words of George McDonald, the Scottish poet, writer and Christian minister:
"I know of no reason why I should not look for the animals to rise again, in the same sense in which I hope myself to rise again--which is, to reappear, clothed with another and better form of life than before. If the Father will raise His children, why should He not also raise those whom He has taught His little ones to love? "Love is the one bond of the universe, the heart of God, the life of His children: if animals can be loved, they are lovable; if they can love, they are yet more plainly lovable: love is eternal; how then should its object perish? Must the love live on forever without its object? Or, worse still, must the love die with its object, and be eternal no more than it? "Is not our love to the animals a precious variety of love? And if God gave the creatures to us, that a new phase of love might be born in us toward another kind of life from the same fountain, why should the new life be more perishing than the new love? "Can you imagine that, if, hereafter, one of God's little ones were to ask Him to give again one of the earth's old loves--kitten, or pony, or squirrel, or dog, which He had taken from him, the Father would say no? If the thing was so good that God made it for and gave it to the child at first who never asked for it, why should He not give it again to the child who prays for it because the Father had made him love it? What a child may ask for, the Father will keep ready."
Now, y'all go home, hug your pets a little tighter and give them a treat. They deserve it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sure and certain hope

Several years back, when my father died a few years following my mother's death, I was approached by the Minister who was going to do his Service. The "Old Man" wasn't from a liturgical tradition as I have long been, consequently I was asked if there was anything I specifically wanted included in his (the Minister's) "words". I requested only that he make use of our Prayer of Commendation (you know, the one about our "sure and certain hope..."). I'm not really "down" with why I felt it important that particular prayer be said at a Baptist Graveside Service, but I felt it necessary. I suppose it's because those are words which provide me comfort from time to time, not solely during funerals.

Yesterday I was listening to a bit of "talk radio" while on the way to the Post Office and one of the callers was speaking to the use of the word "hope". His comments were not germane here; however, his and its definition were.
Hope - a trust and reliance upon God following our putting forth our own best efforts. A belief that a positive outcome is possible even when there is some evidence to the contrary, a spiritual grace. After we've done all we are capable of, hope is God's promise to do the rest. All we must do is allow it.
That struck a responsive chord and I suppose that's why those words hold such importance.