I can just feel it. Sort of like a season where you know summer turns to fall – and you know the leaves change colors from green to yellow, red and orange – but you don’t see this progression quite like that. It’s summer and then all of a sudden you look at the trees and you see the leaves have already turned colors. Change happen in the twinkling of an eye (or so it seemed…).
Yesterday, my husband and I had to put our dog to sleep. A 3.5 year old maltipoo named Cassanova. We showed up at the house, I said my goodbye and my husband left with him. 30 or so minutes later he returned and we gave Cassanova a proper burial. Yes, we buried our family pet with his favorite blanket, two purple toys in a box handmade and painted by my husband. It was not an easy decision by any means. Cassanova had been diagnosed with lymphoma on February 4th, 2011. He had beat the odds given by doctors of 4-6 weeks to live by living 21.5 weeks. God chose to bless us with almost 4 times the amount of what human people said we could expect. God shined through Cassanova who showed obedience to us no matter how much pain he was in or bad he felt. Do we? Do we show obedience no matter what our level of pain? God breathed life into Cassanova for weeks on end when he should have already passed away on his own. What am I telling you this for? Take your eyes off of your selfishness and look deeper for the pearl called Jesus Christ.
Shane and I had to make a decision to finally put Cassanova to sleep. I prayed for weeks upon weeks for God to take him in his sleep… to make it peaceful… When I started to see Cassanova suffer I argued with God – “How could you not take him? How can you let him suffer? Why would you do this? Why did you choose for us to go through this?” I quickly learned that I had to learn to be able to make that difficult decision. God doesn’t promise to do everything for us. He promises to provide us with the strength to do everything with us. I finally got to a place where my selfishness didn’t reign over Cassanova’s pain. My want for one more day with him was costing Cassanova more agony and pain than I could ever imagine. Sorry for the graphic nature of this – but his throat felt like a bag of marbles starting in the back of his neck and circling all the way around, they went up into his shoulders and down into his chest. Everytime he went to the restroom or barked or strained of any kind his rectum came out – after a short amount of time (sometimes as long as 2 hours) it went back but bled as a sign of what had just happen. I know you are sitting there, perhaps even judging me, saying to yourself, “how could she of not done something? how could she of let him live like that?” Until you have walked in my shoes – don’t judge me. Until you have walked in someone else’s shoes – don’t judge them. You have no idea what someone is feeling, what they are going through, what tragic event just happen in their lives that they are choosing not to tell you – but you judge them because you “think” you know everything about them. You “think” you know every detail about their situation and how they should handle things. It’s not your situation so don’t give your two cents unless asked. Even then, be tactful. Truth does not have kill. If you choose to judge someone then GET READY TO BE JUDGED YOURSELF! The harder you point your finger at someone the harder you will have a finger pointed at you. Don’t get me wrong – I’m preaching to myself here to. I have judged others when I should not have because I “thought” I knew how to handle their situation. But I didn’t. I had no idea the emotional battle they were facing. I had no idea the physical dilemma they were facing. And I tried to make a judgement call on them? How could I?! I was wrong for it. And you are wrong for doing it too. God didn’t make us to tear each other down but to lift each other up. To love each other no matter what. May I remind you what love… REAL LOVE… is…
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails.
In case you didn’t take the time read the scripture above allow me to list it for you:
Love is: patient, kind, doesn’t envy, doesn’t boast, isn’t proud, doesn’t dishonor others, isn’t self-seeking, isn’t easily angered, keeps no records of wrong, doesn’t delight in evil, rejoices in the truth, protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres and never fails.
That is a lot of responsibility. But if you choose to be a child of God it’s a responsibility you accept. Stop picking and choosing what you want to do when you want to do. Do what is right regardless of how your FLESH feels. Then! And only then! Will you see the change that is coming your way. When you learn the hard lessons, like I had to with making a decision to put my “son” down, and let God fill you with strength in your moments of weakness, Then! And only then! Will you see what God has waiting for you. And if you choose to not learn these lessons, and you choose to walk the other direction, and you choose not to do the list of what love is… then I guess you are telling God you don’t want those blessings.
I’m not perfect and I am the first to admit it. I owe some people apologies. This experience has shown me how hard it really is to make decisions especially when your emotions are involved; but I also learned it’s possible. God gave me the strength to do what I had to do – what was best for Cassanova. Making that decision hurt me more than I have ever hurt and I will be overly emotional for the next few weeks I’m sure – remembering all the good times we had and the morning rituals we had when I got up for work, or the nightly rituals he had with my husband… There is nothing wrong with taking time to grieve. Take your time! Deal with it now – instead of pushing it down and blowing like a steam engine later. Undealt with feelings of any kind are a sure way to hurt those you love and those who are the closest to you because it builds and builds and builds until you can’t take it anymore – then you BLOW.
Take your step of faith. Take your steps in love. Apologize to those who you have wronged… and move on.