Saturday, March 13, 2010

Dogs Never Love Too Little or Too Much

OK, maybe it’s cheating but I am just reprinting an old article of mine this week from my other blog. At the time we didn’t have a scanner so I just took photos of the pages.

At the time this was published, my mom had recently passed away, and I couldn’t talk of Winnie without also talking of Mom. The editors changed my title to "Dogs Never Love Too Much or Too Little", and I think they made an excellent choice. In this second post of the piece I also edited a bit myself. Article follows:

"Never will I leave you, Never will I forsake you"
Hebrews 13:4

Whether you are married, have a boyfriend, a child, a sibling, whatever -- we all have known what it's like to love and care for someone more than ourselves.

Sometimes that person is locked away inside himself, and though seated right beside you, seems to be far away.

Last year my mom was locked in her lillness, in a body that could barely move, a mouth that couldn’t speak, and in time, eyes that could barely open. Hers was a long, slow death and I couldn’t reach her, though I could stay by her side.

I was locked in my own grief, and my husband Ed and daughter Kat could only watch helplessly. There was nothing they could do for me, just as there was nothing I could do for mom. We were boxed in separate places, not knowing how to live normally in an abnormal world.

Then someone gave me an askal and everything changed. I looked forward to each day, and I couldn't wait to get home. I gave my dog a bath every day (Thank God askals are sturdy) and she, Winniechurchill, slept in our bed.

Kat and Ed played with Winnie and suddenly the 3 of us had something that made us laugh together, feel like a family, and afford us temporary relief from the grief we had whenever we would visit mom. And Ed and Kat knew they could still find me through the dog.

From Ed and Kat's never ending love for Wininie, I realized they had been really worried about me. And though the wound was still too sore to accept Ed and Kat’s love back into my life, I could love and accept all of Winniechurchill.
Dogs you see, never love too little or too much. They just accept what you give them, and show you no remorse. They don't understand commitment, but they respond to care and they are loyal. That was all I could handle for the time being.

Ed and Kat's love would mean coming back to the world sooner than I was ready. My dog had no expectations. With Winniechurchill I could take baby steps to come back to an imperfect world.

A dog is God's creation. God loves us that way, too. We aren't perfect, but he loves us as we are, and if we surrender our lives to him, he'll patiently take us through the baby steps that eventually make us realize that life is worth living, because God is in charge, and He loves you and all the people you love, too.

My mother's body was broken with illness. My family was broken in grief. I was just plain broken. But God used the innocence and openness of an animal, a flea-ridden "askal" named Winniechurchill to put us all back together again.

Mom -- God put HER together, and in heaven I know she is dancing.

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