(Posted June 26, 2015)
If the daily truth be told, we are, ALL of us, dying.
Our human ability to deny this fact, to ignore it as we fashion plans for our days, is amazing. By ignoring the truth, we often cut ourselves out of so many opportunities to say and show how much we love one another. What if we started every day thinking of at least one other person dear to us, and worked them into that day? Not as a sad, maudlin way to start the day, but as a note of love. A call, a visit, a card, a text message – it could mean the world to someone and, really, we don’t know when – or if -- the opportunity will present itself again.
I learned a lesson about honoring daily truths this week. Gary and I were never able to have children despite six surgeries and a battery of fertility treatments. So for us, our pets have always been like children, loving, funny, caring children who have the nasty habit of not living nearly as long as we humans do. So people like us who have furry substitute children know in our hearts that we will be burying them long before our time is ended.
Libby is our second American Eskimo. She has from the beginning been called “The Pulpit Puppy” since she made her debut as a puppy with me just one month after our first Eskimo, Magic, had died. Libby has always had an affinity for church sanctuaries, because we can take her in a church and out of the hundreds of pew seats, she can find the place that her Dad sits. She has always been with us over the last 13 years, frolicking in the sea up on Nantucket, being the snow dog she is by snorkeling through four feet of snow on our lawn. And, most fun of all, excitedly living in a house on the edge of a cow pasture when we were stationed for two years in the Berkshires. In that pasture behind a fence were cows. We noticed immediately how excited Libby became as soon as she saw the cows, and especially when I took her right down to the pasture fence. Gary and I both puzzled about this, because surely WE never had cows. Then one day it dawned on us. Libby had been raised by a 4-H family in the Midwest. Surely she had known some baby cows growing up.
This, however is where the Daily Truth enters the picture. Several weeks ago, I took Libby in for her rabies booster. The vet asked me if there were any other things going on. I said that I was just a little concerned because she seemed to be losing weight. She palpated her abdomen. There was a large liver tumor there, too big to operate on. We received the news that she has weeks to live, even if at this moment things seem fine. It turns out that the balm for the knowledge that we will lose Libby soon has been her cows. We both realized that she needed to have one more trip up to the Berkshires, hopefully to see “HER” herd, and we needed to do it now. So last Friday we drove up to the farm. I worried on the way up that we wouldn’t be able to find the herd. At least 70 percent of the time when we’ve visited the area they were nowhere near to be found. But all I could do was to put it in God’s hands. And God took care of it. When we rolled down into the farm, there was the herd, in the near pasture. On top of that, the Farmer happened to be there – a man whom I had helped through a profound clinical depression near five years ago. Now healthy and happy, he came over and hugged me. When I told him of our goal to get her back to the herd, he escorted us to the slanty bridge over the meadow brook, right into their midst. Libby was transfixed. She had never been in the midst of her cows without a fence. They calmly accepted her, with one mother cow bringing her young baby over to touch noses. It was a golden afternoon, filled with peace and love, no matter what tomorrow brings. I’ve selected a couple of pictures to share with you all, ending in the one where I receive a “Thank You” kiss from Libby.
So please…. find the people who, if you took the time to embrace them with caring, might brighten your day. And cross that bridge to “the other side” where what matters lives, to lie in the sunshine and buttercups for just a portion of your day. Somewhere between them all is that which never dies. That’s the real gift that lies in each day, for us to take. Blessings --- Pastor Pat Kriss