On May 29th, I wrote a farewell to our beloved Ezri. And that’s the last writing I’ve done for a while. I was a little occupied with stuff like weeping, putting away dog toys, crying, getting over how quiet the house is without her, and shedding tears.
And we wondered if that was it. Last time. Final episode in the doggie chronicles. Done with fur, messes, dog sitting, grooming, vet bills, and having our hearts ripped out through our eye sockets at the end.
Sorry if that was a little “much.” But if you’ve never had to take a beloved pet you’ve spent the last 10+ years with to the doctor for the final goodbye, you really don’t know where I’m coming from. It burns, it aches, and it makes you swear that you’ll never put yourself through that kind of pain again.
Because the irony is, we choose to do it. Nobody forces us to be pet parents – we decide to bring these critters into our lives, knowing all the while that if all things go as expected, we’ll be around when they go.
So we set an appointment for a kick in the chops 12 or so years from now. And the clock starts ticking.
So why in the name of Fats Waller would we do that again? Why would we choose a heartbreak, all wrapped up in a fuzzy package, set to go off just when we’ve gotten comfortable having them around? Or as my mom put it, “just when you’ve got them whipped into shape, they’re gone.”
My mom had a fondness for getting things whipped into shape. In spite of that, she still loved me, the son that refused to be “whipped.” Or “into shape” for that matter. Unless the shape was round, pear-like, and huge, that is.
Why would we choose to open our hearts again, knowing that the pain is coming? It’s not a question of “if,” but “when.”
Any of this resonate with any of you non-pet parents out there? Or single folks trying to make sense of a lonely world? How about you peeps that never feel like you belong, so that in the middle of a crowd you still feel alone?
Can I get a witness? Oh YEAH, Glory! UH-HUH!
Get ye down.
Why? Because we are never ever meant to live in total isolation. Single? Yes. Absent from others for a time? Sure. But totally disconnected from anyone or anything outside of ourselves?
We aren’t built that way. Our Father designed us for fellowship – with others, with His creation, and most of all, with Himself. We were never designed to be self-contained.
That might be one reason that being considered “self-centered” is still not a compliment. An achiever, aggressive, self-confident? That’s alright, but totally focused on self as the sum and total of your whole world? Not so much.
We aren’t designed to dance alone.
The house seems boomingly quiet without the sound of toenails clicking. The silence is oppressive without the thump of a tail, the gentle rhythm of panting breath. You catch yourself wondering where the dog is…
And then you remember. And the sadness hits once more.
Why open up the pain locker again? Why set the time bomb of sadness in motion again? Why be open to love again?
Because that’s what we were designed to do. To open our hearts, to share our lives, and to reach beyond ourselves. We reach out, we get slapped, we cry, we withdraw. And even though we decide that we’re not going to go through that again, that we are going to protect ourselves and not allow anybody or anything to hurt us like that again, that we’re going to build some walls, retreat behind them, and keep what little sanity we have left, we somehow forget or ignore the pain and we reach out again. And again.
Insanity? Nope – we were designed to love. And we weren’t designed to be closed up behind thick walls.
In a world that works, that isn’t broken and flawed, we can love and be loved free and openly, without concern or fear, just the way our Father designed us to be. In this present broken world, however, there will be pain, there will be sadness, and there will be many tears. So our Father came here, Himself, as one of us. He showed us how much He cares, how deeply His heart breaks when we turn our backs on Him, and how He still holds His arms open, waiting for us to return to Him.
He shows us how to endure the sadness, because He endures the sadness of our betrayal again and again. And still He loves.
So, on June 16th, we opened Pandora’s box once again, and brought Beka Valentine Olson into our home – an 8 pound, 7 week old bundle of fur, very sharp teeth, and love. Someday, as time stretches out before us, we’ll probably have to say goodbye to her, weeping and enduring the heartbreak once again. But from here to there will be some amazing years, filled with joy, laughter, and love. (There will also be some not-so-fun moments, plenty of cleaning up messes, and quite a bit of bleeding from those razor sharp teeth.) We once again dive into the depths, throwing our hearts out there again in reckless abandon, daring to love in spite of all we know or understand.
Just the way our Father designed us to, like the way our Father loves us.
Hello, PuppyDog. Welcome home…