On ministering to the dying

Those who are not animal lovers could think this goofy. Please feel free to take a pass on reading. Our wonderful dog Grace died today. She was almost 10 years old and was a fabulous friend. Loyal, faithful, friendly, fun. My wife was closest to her and so she grieves the most, even though we all do.

I have had some thoughts over the past 48 hours as cancer spread and Grace went downhill in health:

1. God created dogs and He commands us to love His creation. The love we have for animals comes from God. It is right to love animals and it is a reflection of the love of God in us. So the love we had for Grace was of God. He compels us to love tender heartedly.

2. Sin and death have entered the world. Grace was effected by the Fall. In the new heaven and earth there will be no sin or death. I am thinking that in heaven we will not age and that we will have animals that will not age either. No theological basis in that in particular. Call it a broad interpretation if you like. I like.

3. I caught a glimpse of my end days. The way my wife loved, wept, ministered to and nursed Grace the last few days was beautiful to watch. I now know more that when I die, she will minister to and nurse me in a beautiful way. I have seen just a glimpse of how beautiful. She loves well.

4. Family and friends are valuable. Denise was a sweet traveling companion for Dorothy and Grace on a last memorable trip to the beach, our neighbor Elaine was an angel to help take Grace to the vet, Charlie Woods who is a crusty old codger (he would not mind me saying that) who lives across the street, teared up when told the news. Our daughters cried. I cried. Friends have called.

5. There is a beginning and an end. I remember the day I drove half way to Macon with a little less then $200 in cash that the girls (then 11, 9 and 5) had saved for a dog. They told us we "never would even know we had one" if we would give in and let them get one. I am glad they were wrong. We knew we had a dog. A great dog. And we were glad and blessed to have her.

So now we grieve. Nothing can stop that process because that is what it is, a process. We enter into it with joy and thankfulness and respect for Our God who even knows the number of days for a dog. Blessings.