BULLDOG UPDATE: For those that you have asked, AnnaBelle is good. The allergy medicine her humans neglected to give her until she was puny worked. We promised her to do a better job watching the pollen count. For the love of bulldogs let us have a really hard freeze this winter, at least one.
If my memory isn't failing me I think we haven't had any really good one freezes on a couple of years so I feel we are due. I will know better soon, thanks to an app on my iPhone called Timehop. Timehop is an app that rolls around your memories in the form of the photos and videos you posted on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. and sorts them by year. Each day, I get to see what was going on 1, 2, 3 even 11 years ago. Yes, I am that Facebook old.
Today on my memories came up photos of these beautiful pupsters. Now I don't always post just photos of my dogs. I post pics of my family and friends too. But today is National Dog Day (in our home, every day is Dog Day.) Apparently the nation has set aside a day for it or someone did and it caught traction. So on my Time Hop were pics of all these babies. Some who read this will remember the big dark brown doofy dog, named Max and the stunning, wrinkled, majestic woman named Belle. Belle was Dylan's first puppy. Santa Claus brought her home to him when he was three. They were life long pals. Yes I said were. We had to let Belle go to heaven a few years ago. She had lived a very long life and her body finally gave out. I think of her most everyday. There will never be a more loyal dog than Belle. And Captain Doofster, Max was fun, fun, fun and at a fairly advanced age grieved himself to death when Belle passed and was gone within less than a year.
Sadness from grief is a tricky emotion. It is so strong, even dogs feel it. I am currently in a season of grief. I presided over a celebration of life for a wonderful woman from church last week and today I am headed to my Tennessee hometown to help plan the service for a member of my friend family. ("friend family" - people that are friends that are really like family. Not to be confused with family friend.) This man, an ordained elder in the denomination I serve, kind, humble and gentle, has finally gone to the place he worked so hard to send many before him. I am honored to be in the family position with this man and his wife.
Grief is funny. Not humorous, but ironic. It is a deep sadness that can overtake your entire body. But grief is also the doorway to something much more beautiful, sweet memories. Without the beginning of grief, you cannot have the comfort of sweet memories. I have spent the last week remembering the sweetness of the wonderful woman that is already arranging flowers for her King but I am not yet beyond grief enough to have much more than a few fleeting sweet memories of this spiritual parent in my life. The sadness is too deep for now.
As I study, I am drawn to hope in two separate passages this morning. 1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 encourages me by telling me that those who understand a life in Christ will not grieve without hope as those that have gone on, have gone on to glory with Christ. Knowing that both of the precious humans, and those in my life that have preceded them in death are hanging with Jesus allows me to move on the remembering moments with them that brings joy for me rather than being mired in sadness.
This morning as I was preparing for my Bible Study class, I meditated on this passage from Romans 8, "For I am sure the neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, not powers, not height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God, in Jesus Christ our Lord." In Christ I can live in the sweet memory spot because I know that my connection to Jesus extends that connection to them in a divine way. They are never really gone...hence the sweet memories. To get there, though, I must pass through the door of grief and walk that journey towards hope.
- Walk through that door to grief if you haven't yet. Begin the journey.
- Look for and soak in sweet memories.