For the Sensitive heart: Grief unbridled
If this is for you, then I thank the Lord for all of it...
Nearly 8 months ago, we brought home two little kittens. One was a boy, and one was a girl. We took them in as our family, and named them Jasper and Jewels. I felt a distance towards cats, because I had grown up with dogs. Dogs seemed to relate, and be so loveable in my eyes. But of course, animals altogether: when it felt pain, I felt it with them, and broke into pieces.
I had kind of handed the doting over- once I began to have children. My compassion fell towards them, and I kind of transfixed my affections. But every once in a while, I would remember that special sensitivity that I had for animals as a child.
I remember coming home one rainy day, after school, at the age of 11. It was cold and no one was yet home, so I went searching for Princess, my Shetland sheepdog, who was on the eve of having a litter of puppies. I opened the sliding glass door and called out her name as the wind blew. I then popped my head into the doghouse, and saw 2 little puppies alongside their mommy. I couldn’t believe it. My heart and wonder was bursting. That day she grew in my eyes, as a champion mom; as she went onto have a few more throughout the evening. I went through the fire with her in a way. I saw the pain she bore, as she got up and circled around, whimpering and laying down her life, in order to give new life. She did it. And I loved her so much more deeply.
So in these days, with these new kittens, we went through the stages of care, and clean-up, which I wasn’t too fond of at first, still remaining unattached as my children fawned all over them. Slowly, we learned to understand their kitty quirks, and quickness to rush out the door once it was open.
Months and months went by, as their jingling bells came near to love and to hold, and slowly but surely, I scooted over, and allowed room in my heart for these two furballs. They became a part of our routine, our family; laying in our laps, and purring up a storm.
Soon came the time when they both needed to get ‘fixed’, and a few weeks went by in order to make those appointments happen. We brought them home that night, and she laid there, longer than he. With the cone around her head, hours went by, as we tended to Jewels’ tummy.
Soon, the kids went to school, and she needed me. I would scoop her up and carry her limp body around, and talk to her, tending to her stitches. She was slow, but she was getting up. The house-vet was called, the antibiotics were given, and even in her healing, we anticipated the joy to come. The cone had to stay on for nearly 2 weeks, but finally she was free.
I love this little kitty. I have a kinship with her because she had undergone a hysterectomy just like me. We had similar scars, and both felt the emotion of wanting to rise up.
Just a few days ago, she would come into my room early in the morning and cuddle up next to me, letting me know it is soon time to wake up and get the kids ready for school. I would get a little annoyed because it was a ½ hour earlier than I needed to rise.
One of my favorite things, was hearing their bells come running up the stairs in the morning too, so excited to see me, and let them out the door. Jewels is fearless, and leads the way out, while Jasper timidly tiptoes, sometimes scooted out by the door into the cold morning air. I love to call out their name, and hear them come running, maybe because they know my voice, or even know their name.
That was pure joy in my heart.
Just a few days ago, I got a call right before I returned home, that Jewels had been killed. Someone had accidentally backed up over her.
Even Beyond sharing it all…and noting all of the grief and mourning I have felt in this last week, one of the hardest things is coming to grips with ‘what was it all for?’
Why endure all of the care for a pet’s well-being, walk with it, learn with it, love it as your own, and finally find joy in the freedom she felt, only to diminish that sweet life?
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,
endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:7
Reflection through tears
I have been pondering these things through a week of wincing pain of the heart. I recognized about myself many things that I first need to share.
Grief is such a struggle. I want to contain it by comforting it, yet whole-heartedly give way to the spring that comes from such a deeply-sewn well of my heart. It comes up in swollen waves.
Scattered thoughts of not knowing a thing. Is pain part of me? Is it like a cancer that plagues my spirit?
I believe so.
I know people that have gone before me that have understood a loss greater than I ever have. But as I see it being uncovered in my own walk in life, I feel like it’s a mountain I am going to have to climb steep to get over. Lord, hold my hand.
I am understanding in this week, that I don’t know how to practice discipline very well.
I am emotionally given over to pain. I don’t have the ability I need to not give into it. Oh, Lord, I need you. It hurts.
My mind knows what to do, but it doesn’t know how to take every thought captive. And my heart is wild; it rebels. It’s sinful nature wants to nurture the pain. It wants to dwell there, live, plant, grow, and raise there.
I’m also realizing that I run to things, and not the Lord for full comfort. Lord, teach me discipline.
'The swamps of Sadness'
The NeverEnding story
And of course, I’m not a crazy cat-lady, the pain of loss hurts, yes, even depresses. It rejoices at the early evening bed-fall. It races to get out the door and find itself busy, trying to escape the pain of feeling. And in a plan outside of God’s comfort, fears begin to creep in. The what-if’s begin to dance as the night hour brings its grief.
And they aren’t pretty. Beauty has been broken in two, it seems.
So I offer up feeble prayers.
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.
Putting into Practice
After processing this a bit, I am understanding the need to give into change. It feels like a freeway lane that I can no longer drive on. It’s been blocked off forever, so I must change lanes and get used to it.
I must rejoice in what I do have. I still have another cat. I still have my beautiful kids and family. We are healthy, we know Jesus! That is where I long to put my energy into.
I must recognize that He is molding me to be more like him.
If I’m being honest, I can see that in the distance.
And the Lord—who is the Spirit—makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image. 2 Corinthians 3:1
And as I do this, I have gathered some things. As I am picking up bread crumbs along this journey, I have found that not only does prayer need to drive me, but my act of contributing to action does too.
I can see this: It’s not just about the death of an animal, but the ability to discipline my thoughts, and be useful in and out of the body of Christ.
The bread crumbs of His Love and Spirit, amount to baskets of compassion, and yes, even faith. Compassion, once again, for the hurting heart, and Faith to be strengthened for my own path. Life keeps going.
There are people.
There are people out there who hear the voice of God, because they knew him at one time, and are running from him, or are hardening their hearts to his voice today.
They have walked through some very hard times, and yet still won’t run to him.
God is enduring the pain of some who are not yet come to him.
I like to believe that those who truly heard and tasted of his goodness, could never leave forever. After all, That was me! I was a prodigal daughter, and his tender love and comfort brought me back to repentance.
But that is not everybody’s story.
God walks with people. He is long-suffering. His love endures, and so he walks with us, even in the worst of our spitting and rejections.
Why endure all of the care for a person, walk with them, learn with them, love them as your own, and finally find joy in the freedom they feel?
Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things,
endures all things.
Love Never Ends.
1 Corinthians 13:7&8
Grief is compassion unbridled. We feel with them. We see with them. That, harnessed in Christ’s hold, will be able to feed a multitude of hungry hearts.
Hi Friend, Is this where you are today? Every moment, every prayer will lead you into the rest God is and has for you. He, alone, can comfort your soul. He understands. He cares. In fact, He cares So much, He endured the pain of laying down his Son so that you may have life. He is the Remedy. Grab ahold of him.