We’ve all heard that old adage, “Time heals all wounds”. It’s really true. Nine days ago, I was sitting on my bathroom floor crying so hard I saw stars and couldn’t breathe. I seriously thought I was going to die. I was hiding where my dog couldn’t hear me, because I was trying to keep my sorrow hidden from her. Historically, she could take one look at me and take complete inventory of my emotions and react within seconds. I didn’t want her to sense my sadness. I knew that the following day would determine whether or not we said goodbye to her. In my heart of hearts, I already knew the answer and had no idea how I would go on without her.
We were blessed with the sweetest four days with her. Time to spoil her, feed her all her favorite food, golf-cart rides and time to say our goodbyes. It’s a challenge to package up all the love and gratitude in your heart and pour it out all at once, trying to squeeze out every last drop. I know everyone thinks their dog is the “best” dog, but mine really “was” 🙂 #hatersgonnahate
The first of everything was hard. The first ride in the car with the top down. The first night and morning without her. The first trip to get the mail without her and walking by the jar of dog biscuits in the lobby. The first tortilla chip that dropped on the floor that I had to pick up myself. The list goes on and on. The list will always go on because that’s how life is. It’s filled with memories of those we love, and that’s what they’re for – so we’ll never forget them. I have yet to take a walk without her … as I haven’t come to terms with all the times I should have walked her, but felt too tired or too busy. Maybe tomorrow, but probably not.
If you had told me nine days ago I would be in a space of gratitude, I would not have believed it. Yes, it’s been hard, but I’m choosing to be the person my dog thought I was. She thought I was strong, dependable, grateful and loving. She was grateful for every day. For every person she saw. She had pure gratitude for any little taste of people food (even an occasional carrot that she hated).
She was quick to forgive and never held a grudge. She could smile from the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail with a whole body wag in between. She never cared if you had morning breath or a mark on your face from a C-pap machine. She loved morning devotions and yoga because it was “quality time” with the person she loved. She thought I looked just as good in my paint clothes as I did all dressed up for the day.
I use to think we had a lot in common, but I didn’t come close to the loving creature she was. I am flawed and forever will be. But aren’t we all?
“Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals…You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair”.
In life, we have two choices. To live each day to the fullest, or dwell in the past, letting our sorrows envelop us and devour every ounce of joy we have left in our soul.
You, too, may be dealing with a loss. The loss of a loved one. A pet. A relationship you held dear. Perhaps it’s a death of a dream. Whatever it is, it hurts like hell – I know. But you WILL wake up. The sun WILL come out. You WILL have decision points throughout every single day. Those decisions will either build up a slow accumulation of joy in your heart, or prevent you from making room for any joy at all – and without it, bitterness, resentment and grief will take root and those roots are hard to pull. Your despair will age you. For me, I want to be as young as my hope. I don’t want the thousands of dollars in wrinkle cream to go to waste.
TRUST that if you get up, and step out in faith, God will give you the strength you need. Then the next day, if you do it again, the same thing will happen. And the next. Before you know it, the days don’t seem so long. So painful. So lonely. You notice the sun and hear the birds and your heart beats a little quicker. You can begin to remember the joy of the journey not just the pain of the end.
You will slowly start to feel alive again. Never the same, but alive in a whole new way because your life is better because of the GRIEF.
“God whispers to us in our pleasure, but he shouts to us in our pain” C.S. Lewis
Grief grows us as people and causes us to assess our lives. The people we love. The grudges we hold. The forgiveness we need to give. Not just for others, but to ourselves. When was the last time you actually forgave yourself for all the things you’re ashamed of? All the things you’re condemning yourself for? All the ways you’ve disappointed yourself and others? Grief can make you grow bitter or better.
I choose better.
“Be brave, be kind, be bold, be fierce, be YOU”
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.