Archive | June 2013

Farewell to Buster B

As I look back, I see he’d been aging for quite a while, the wonderful English Springer Spaniel I’d had since he was a pup.  Two summers ago, he began to tire out on our mile and half walks through the subdivision.  Last summer, he no longer followed me the whole time I mowed the back yard and he was slow to get out of the way when he did follow me.  The more I think about it, the longer the list gets – all the things he used to do and wasn’t doing any more.

As I look back, I see how God prepared me for what was coming.  Earlier that week, he literally bounded into the living room one evening.  My first thought was that he was having a seizure of some kind!  I followed him as he pranced through the house and enjoyed the momentary return of the “life of the party” dog he’d been for fifteen and a half years.  That Friday, I had gotten an email of happy dog pictures, and it occurred to me that Buster Brown was no longer as happy.  Once again, I prayed that God would just take him in his sleep.  I did not want to have to make the decision to put him down – I wanted God to do it for me.

Buster Brown was incontinent at times and that same Friday morning, he had soaked his dog bed overnight.  That evening I came home to his worse mess – one that required a complete dog bath.  Saturday morning, his gait was off and uneven – he fell several times.  So I called the vet and made the appointment for later that morning.  I looked Buster Brown in the face, and told him I was sending him home to God.  I had mentioned it to him several times before, telling him that if he was in pain, he should let God take him home to heaven and I’d understand.  Before, he had always turned away quickly in disgust, but this time he turned away slowly in resignation. 

Friday night and Saturday morning, I was mad at God – really mad.  I had asked Him to take Buster Brown in his sleep and He was making me go through the pain of making the decision and the phone call.  I was in the bathroom later that morning when I heard the word “resolution” in my spirit.  Yes, I had always hoped for resolution and complained about not getting it.  I never got to say goodbye to my mother or my ex-husband before they died and I wasn’t with them when they left this world.  I was at my father’s side to talk to him when he was dying, but he wasn’t responsive and he didn’t die until the next morning.  Now, with Buster Brown, my beloved friend, God was giving me the opportunity to experience the closure I had never known.

I carried him that morning – the one and only time he let me carry him.  I carried him to the car, to the vet, to the scale and to the office.  He didn’t protest but for a wiggle or two.  I held him the whole time – the one and only time he let me hold him in my lap for more than a few seconds.  He didn’t even want to pace or go exploring.  I told him how good he was, how much I loved him, how grateful I was for him.  I felt his breath stop and then his heart.  He died in my arms.  I looked one last time into his eyes, and although the cloudy cataracts were no longer visible, the life was gone from his eyes and I cried harder. 

I felt guilty and unsure of my decision to put him down.  I wondered if I had done it out of impatience and for convenience.  As I went to bed that night and began to read the novel I was in, I came to a part in the story where the main character’s parents travel to see him and spend time with him, because the father has a bad heart and is dying.  The father tells his son it’s his time to die, and I knew God was telling me that it was indeed Buster Brown’s time to die.  The doubt and the guilt vanished.  Sunday I had my lunch outside and was reading a magazine where the introduction from the editor was a piece about how they put their dog down.  Another confirmation from God, just for good measure.  What a tender God that cares so much to comfort and reassure us about what we feel deeply!  What a wonderful God who designed and arranged the perfect match between a dog and a person!  Farewell Buster Brown, this woman’s best friend.  I’ll miss you.

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Buster Brown and the Old Man

He sat there in the nursing home’s dining room, deep in thought, his hand on his chin.  The show was on, but his thoughts were back in the past somewhere, wondering where the time and the people and places and events he once loved and cherished had gone.  He wasn’t even aware of the show that was going on, or the songs or the jokes, but every once in a while, he looked at Buster Brown from out of the corner of his eye.  His thoughts had a deep and painful hold on him and he didn’t sing or speak when spoken to. 

God nudged my heart and I knew we had to break through.  I sat next to him and kept maneuvering Buster Brown past him, next to him, around and around.  The show was almost over, and Buster Brown finally did what God gifted him to do – he nudged the man’s hand.  The man was a bit startled, and Buster Brown put his head under the man’s hand on his thigh.  The man had no choice now and no excuse – he began to pet the dog.  

That’s when Buster Brown started doing what is frowned upon by TDI (Therapy Dogs International) officials – he licked the man’s hand.  Ready to tell Buster Brown to stop, I looked into the man’s face, and saw a sparkle in his eyes.  I watched and a smile appeared, and then he began to laugh.  He laughed and told me what a wonderful dog he was.  I smiled and nodded; my heart full that the God of the universe would care enough to use a dog to bring joy to a little lost lamb. 

Let us not grow weary in doing good, for in due season we will reap a harvest of blessing if we faint not.  (Galatians 6:9)

I Only Wanted

The phrase kept running through my head
So I decided to get it out and on paper

I only wanted to be loved and cherished and held close
I only wanted to be comforted and encouraged
I only wanted to be needed, not used
I only wanted to please, not disappoint

God wants to love me and cherish me and hold me close, but I won’t let Him
God is trying to comfort me and encourage me but I don’t listen and when I do listen, I don’t believe
God needs me, but I see it as wanting to use me
It’s each person’s choice to be satisfied or not

God too wants to be loved and cherished and held close
How He must hurt – much more than I do
Still, He reaches out and offers what we ignore or refuse

God too wants to be needed and not used
How He must hurt – much more than I do
Still, He reaches out and offers what we ignore or refuse

God’s purpose isn’t to please, but to provide the best
Like spoiled children
we demand something else or something more

God’s purpose isn’t to disappoint, but to discipline
Like spoiled children
we throw tantrums and cry and complain

Like a loving father, Father continues
to provide the best for us and to discipline us
ignoring our pouting and self-pity
Hoping that one day we’ll understand
Knowing He’ll have to wait until heaven

Only tremendous love
can bear so much pain and hurt

 

11 days vs 40 years

“It is eleven days from Horeb by the way of Mount Seir to Kadesh Barnea.” (Deuteronomy 1:2)  Then why did it take the Israelites forty years?  1,309 times longer than it should have?

 

They complained.  There were always griping about not having the food they used to have in Egypt.  Pots of meat, bread to the full (Exodus 16:3), free fish, cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic (Numbers 11:5).  They forgot that while the fish were free, they were not.  They griped about lack of water, about Moses, about being led into the wilderness to die.

 

Complaining is looking back or looking around and focusing on what was lost or what is missing instead of seeing God’s opportunities in the present and the future.  Complaining is a choice we make to see lack instead of provision; it’s a choice we make to not be grateful and appreciative.

 

They looked back instead of ahead to the possibilities of God.  As soon as their stomachs started to growl, they forgot how oppressed they were and how cruelly they were treated in Egypt.  The growling of their stomachs was louder than their memory of the growling of their former taskmasters.

 

They didn’t believe God when He said He would “deliver them from the power of the Egyptians and bring them to a good and spacious land flowing with milk and honey” (Exodus 3:8).  They didn’t believe God would or could deliver.  They didn’t believe His promises.

 

They focused on the size of the enemy instead of on the richness of the land and the greatness of their God (Numbers 13-14), totally forgetting how God disposed of the Egyptian army (Exodus 14).

 

I wonder how much of God’s blessings I’m missing because of my attitude; because I’m looking back or around instead of at God; because I think His promises are too good to be true; because I’m not trusting that He wants the best for me;  because I doubt He could possibly love me that much.