Ahhhh, February 28. It's one of my favorite days. Why? Well, because tomorrow is March, which means that EVENTUALLY the snow will melt here in the Midwest. Today looks like a typical December or January day. Everything is in grayscale. Gray skies, white ground, black sticks of trees sticking out all over the place. This must be what it's like to see through the eyes of a dog.
Speaking of dogs, we had to put our 12 year old dog down recently. She had been a good dog in the sense that she never once nipped anyone, or got aggressive, or anything like that. She was a lab mix, which in my experience with her meant that she never quit being high energy and spazzy. A cheerful pup. She always sat in the kitchen when I cooked, or stretched out in front of the TV watching us watch TV. It seemed that no matter in which room there happened to be family members, she'd be there. A true pack animal! Her bark would pierce right through a person's skull, though, and for some reason the doorbell caused an automatic barking response. If a courteous robber had ever come to our home, we would have been alterted immediately!
As the dog's health declined (rather rapidly, too), my husband and I were faced with having to make the decision whether or not to have her put down. We consulted with a veterinarian, who gave wonderful and helpful advice. We hoped beyond hope that our dog would just "snap out of it" but it wasn't to be. Once the decision was made, we told the kids to say their last good-byes one evening, knowing that the next morning the dog would be transported to the vet for her final moments. The next morning my husband and my oldest son took the dog to the vet. Naturally she had to relieve herself on my family room carpeting one last time before she left.
She's been gone for two weeks now. The house still seems quite empty, but it's a lot cleaner. I've been amazed at how much a short-haired dog can shed! It's strange to go to the grocery store and not have to pick up dog food. It's strange when someone rings the doorbell and there is no barking. It's strange for me to make stock for chicken soup, and not have my dog at my feet - her job was to taste test the chicken. Hey, someone had to do it!
As I go through this particular stage of life, I am reminded that things never stay the same. Just as seasons change in the natural world - even when it seems like the snow will NEVER melt - I know I have to get comfortable with change, with uncertainty, with not having all the answers. It seems that the older I get, the less I'm sure of, with the exception of the scriptures. I didn't realize what a legalist (or maybe a better term is determinist) I've been my entire adult life. "If I do A then the result will be B" type of thinking. Now I know that if I do A then B may happen, but so may C, D, or E! This is where trusting in the sovereignty of God comes in. So, while I am less sure about how what I do may affect an outcome, I am more sure that my Father in heaven cannot fail in His purposes. This gives me much relief. I have a long way to go.
A friend of ours who is in his seventies recently said to us, "If I had known back then what I know now, I would have worried less." Profound and freeing...now if I could only remember it!