Saturday, July 15, 2017

Time to say goodbye

Yesterday we euthanased one of our dogs. It was a particularly heart-wrenching experience because it was the first time our kids lost a pet. Navigating their first experience of loss, and grief, was also a first for us - helping them to know what to expect from the experience while trying to manage our own grief was tricky at times - trying to figure out when to hold it together and when to reveal or own pain....

But I think my lasting lesson will be my son's unwillingness to accept this. Right the way through he refused to give consent to the process. Even after she had died he kept saying that her dying was not okay, should not be happening, was not what he wanted, was not the best option, had to be stopped.

To an extent he is absolutely right. While death may be a part of life, it is not natural, and we all feel that instinctively. Death was never a part of creation until Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit.  Only once sin entered the world did God speak of death as a part of the penalty.  Instinctively we know that death is unnatural and instinctively we rail against it. My son's heart cries were holiness in action - a cry against the effects of sin and a plea for God to restore and heal that which is irrevocably broken.

Our hearts long for that day when death will be no more. But till that day, we are left with the pain of having to say goodbye, of having to live with the absence of the other. I have no answers as to whether or not our pets will be raised to life again, of whether or not we will see them again. It's hard to accept that when our fur babies die they are truly gone forever.

Thank God, though, we don't grieve as those without hope when it comes to people! Thank God I know where those I love, who also love God, will be and that we will be together again on that day when death is no more! (And how great the tragedy when those I love do not love God - but that is a topic for another day...)

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Beyond the river

Our church hosted a movie night on Friday, and screened 'Beyond the river'.
This South African story of the friendship between a white and black man, arising from a shared love of canoeing, and their goal of racing in the Dusi, is a heart-warming example of transformation. In these times when there is so much hatred, anger and pain between black and white, it is good to be reminded of our shared humanity.
There are many lessons to be learnt from this movie - that small decisions can have big consequences; that true friendship sometimes requires us to make hard decisions; that true love sometimes requires us to sacrifice greatly; that things worth having are worth fighting for; that healing is found in forgiveness; that family is not just about people who share your DNA; that grief is personal and different for each of us; that compassion goes a long way to bridging the gap between our islands of humanity; that great courage is necessary for life to be truly meaningful; ... the list goes on.

The question I am left pondering though, is one that Bill Hybels framed many years ago in his book 'Just walk across the room' - will I have the courage to make the first move, to step out of my comfort zone and walk across the proverbial room?