when pets die – and we love them so much…

God created human beings with the capacity to reflect God’s nature. God created them male and female and poured the essence of the divine self into them equally. God blessed them: “Live in fullness! Have babies! Take charge and take care. Be responsible for life in the sea and life in the air. Care for every living thing. Love with abandon!” – Genesis 1:26 – author paraphrase

1-45694375_10101412413963392_7487674043420639232_nOnce in a while I will write in response to a question from one of my readers. Sometimes I will build on ideas that have come out in conversations. Today I’m posting in response to an assignment.

“Daddy,” our daughter Naomi said, “please write a blog about pets tomorrow.”

Well, she has a very good reason. Late Thursday afternoon, sadness upon sadness, her sweet dog Star said goodbye to the family who has loved her for so long and passed on into doggie eternity. She was old – almost fifteen – and had lived such a good and faithful life. But Star was very sick and she just couldn’t hang on any longer.

This picture of the children with Star was taken just before they got on the bus to school Thursday morning.

It’s really hard to let go of pets. They love us so honestly and without holding anything back and it is all we can do not to break down and weep out of gratitude because we know we never could have earned that level of affection. It is a gift, pure and simple; our pets are gifts, rare and beautiful, and our hearts break from all the love.

1-IMG_E1564-001In a serendipity earlier today, cleaning out my study, I unearthed this photo of my old dog, Mozart, snuggled by my feet under my writing desk. Moe has been gone probably fourteen years now. I was still a writer for the Tampa Tribune at the time and I swear I have never received such a deluge of mail as I did the week I published a column about his death.

All Dogs (and Cats) go to Heaven:

My friend Randy was a strong leader in his field and a prominent public figure. But he nearly broke apart when his cat died and I had to go over and visit him at his home. He wanted to know – not in an academic sense but on a heart level, deep and visceral – if his cat would be in heaven to greet him when he died.

“Do you believe that God loves you?” I asked. “With all my heart,” he said. “Then I am convinced that your Muffin will be in heaven – because the God who loves you and knows you understands that it would make you happy.”

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I wasn’t blowing smoke. I was speaking from my heart.

But this isn’t the first pet our daughter’s family has said goodbye to this year. Capriccio (the socially challenged kitty) lived with Naomi her entire adult life before passing on at the end of this July.

So Naomi, and her husband Craig, and our wonderful grandchildren, are all going through a tough spot right now and we are crying for them too.

My Theology of Pet Care:

But here’s the thing, here’s the serendipity of it all. Back at the top of this post, in the scripture from Genesis, we read that caring for God’s creation is one of the things we do that aligns us with the nature of God.

When we love like that, when we generously pour all of ourselves into the care of our animals, we are demonstrating the very nature of God. There is something holy, something beautiful, something divine about treating God’s creatures with respect, and care, and affection.

We would not know this pain if we had not experienced such love. And for me, every time I interface with profound loss, I understand a little more that what I have been given is so much more than what is gone.

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Over time, if I love enough, I have such a reservoir of agape – ἀγάπη, agapē – to tap that I know I will never run dry of it, no matter how many tears are shed.

I love you, Naomi. You always love so generously and well – DADDY

God created human beings with the capacity to reflect God’s nature. God created them male and female and poured the essence of the divine self into them equally. God blessed them: “Live in  fullness! Have babies! Take charge and take care. Be responsible for life in the sea and life in the air. Care for every living thing. Love with abandon!” – Genesis 1:26 – author paraphrase

 

 



Categories: life, photography, relationships, The Pets

Tags: , , , , , ,

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