It was 27 years ago yesterday that I rededicated my life to Christ on this very night at a Bible Study in a subdivision called Lake California, Cottonwood, California. It is also the birthday of a dear spiritual mentor/father to me, Nick Roetto. For he was there that night and told me he thought of no greater birthday gift than for someone to commit their life to Christ on his birthday.
So many year ago and as the saying goes “so much water under the bridge” since that day and I certainly won’t detail it here as I’ve written enough about those bygone days in other places. I have traveled many different paths and definitely some I did not ever imagine and even some I am not proud of, but here I am in the middle of the night reflecting.
I’ve just put to bed my 3 dogs: Patrick Ryan, Dani Joy & Skippy. This evening I found a lump on Patrick’s back alongside his spine, so after I put the other two dogs to bed, I spent some extra time examining Patrick running my hands all over his body, bones, muscles, glands and everywhere. I am sure he thought it was wonderful. Thankfully I didn’t find any other lumps and the one I found feels like it could be a fatty tumor and if that is true it will be a relief… but I need to schedule a vet appointment just to make sure.
Patrick already has thyroid problems and he takes his thyroid medications just like I do. He also has the beginnings of “doggy alzheimers” and sometimes runs off forgetting who he is, his name, and everyone he knows. He just turned 9 years old in December 2008.
It was shortly after my other dog, Megan turned 9 years old that she was diagnosed with Lymphoma Cancer and I had to say goodbye to my dear sweet girl.
So I spent extra time with my little Gentleman “Paddy Boy” and the tears fell freely on his soft merle fur as I gazed into his precious sweet face. I was reflecting back on all the memories from his puppyhood on up through the years. He has alwasy been the Gentleman and a very good boy. Apart from his puppy days, I don’t have any grand tales of daring escapades or rebelliousness. He has been a good boy and one I have always been proud to show off his manners.
I realize I am probably mourning his loss entirely too soon but the irony of “9 years” I can’t seem to shake away from.
When Megan was 9 years old, my life was in major transition and I was learning to “not work” due to my health issues and watching a medical leave of absence turn into a permanent disability. Leaving the world of management, corporations, non-profits and lots of activity.
Now, Patrick is 9 years old and my life is in another transition where I am trying to go back to work and become a dog trainer and am starting over.
Dani Joy will be 6 years old tomorrow and Skippy will be 3 years old in March. Patrick was 3 years old when Megan died.
I just retired Patrick from Flyball due to his mind skipping out every so often. His last Flyball race was September 2008. Megan was retired from Flyball in September due to her premature arthritis.
After Megan finished up her Flyball, I had plans for her to get those elusive Obedience Titles that I had always hoped for but we had spent time doing Flyball and Agility to burn up all her energy. But Megan never did get those Obedience opportunities due to her Cancer coming on so quickly and her life ending so shortly after her Flyball career ended.
Now Patrick is finished with his Flyball and here I am making plans to again get those elusive Obedience Titles because again Patrick and I have spent time doing Flyball and Agility. I even thought of Rally Obedience and him becoming a Therapy Dog.
However, who knows what the future really holds. I am sure Patrick will have a few more years, but then again, life is never predictable.
Dani is in Flyball and Agility and we might make a run at Obedience or Rally Obedience.
Skippy just today started beginning a new chapter in his life of learning Lure Coursing. I think he really enjoyed his first day and it will be a great opportunity to build his confidence and social skills.
But my mind again turns to memories of Megan and to my “Paddy Boy” and the tears begin to form again in my eyes. I remember Megan when I heard the news that she had cancer and how I spent that night in front of my icons of Christ and the Saints in my Icon corner crying out to God…
“I have lost my brother, my mother, my grandmother, my health, my job, my ministry, my truck… must you take my dog also?” I wrestled with God that night and finally found peace and comfort trusting in God and being able to let go of Megan.
So here I am again… the wrestling is not there, but the concerns, and learning to trust God and always hold on those you love, whether it is our pets or friends or our family to hold on lightly, for all things belong to God and our gifts entrusted into our care for a time. And that time is left best in God’s hands.
When Megan passed on I was in a spiritual desert and searching for answers.
Here I am again in another place spiritually as well – but in another wilderness, hurting, tired, searching and not sure the path to take next or what turn or when or how.
So as the tears fall, I am being cleansed, purified and God’s comfort and peace come once again.
“Hear my cry, O God: attend to my prayer. From the end of the earth I will cry to you, when my heart is overwhelmed lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For You have been a shelter for me, a strong tower from the enemy. I will abide in Your tabernacle foreer; I will trust in the shelter of your wings.” (Psalm 61:1-4)
“I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclinded to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth – Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3 “I will love you o Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my forterss and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn o fmy salvation, my stronghold. I will call upon the Lord who is worthy to be praised; so shall I be saved from my enemies… For you will light my lamp; The Lord my God will enlighten my darkness. For by You I can run against a troop, by my God I can leap over a wall. As for God, His way is perfect; The word of the lord is proven; He is a shield to all who trust in Him. For who is God, except the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God? It is God who arms me with strength and makes my way perfect… The Lord lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.” (Psalm 18 excerpts) “Have you not known? Have you not heard? the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak. And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary. And the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on the lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)