Friday, October 21, 2011

A new friend for Jada?

7:36 p.m. Today's project was to consider our son Steven and his girlfriend Kathy's latest project: finding a new companion for our bereaved yellow labrador retriever Jada. (Seen to the left hovering over my garden shoe).

Bless Steven's heart, on the day Bailey was killed, he texted that Jada needed another dog. So the next evening, Kathy called me and let me know her heartfelt sadness for us, and that she and Steven were asking if it was okay to start looking for another dog. I hadn't thought I would be ready, but was so touched that I said, "Yes, a female, spayed, at least a year old and must be housebroken." At our age and in Steve's condition, a puppy just will not do. I expect Jada to boss and show the newbie the rules of her domain, the backyard. I just hope the new dog is a good fast walker.

Steven and Kathy met and were leaders of the Saturday night prayer group at Fresno Pacific University, a Christian school. She attends on a soccer scholarship, pre-med; he studied kinesiology two years there and now is working full time and enrolling locally for his final three science classes spring semester. We've met her once on a visit to the Southland with her parents and little brother in June. Lovely young lady, full of the Lord, from a nice family in Bakersfield.

This was another example of the kindness I've received from believers this week. Kind expressions, offers of assistance, letters from my daughter's students. Ephesians 4:32 says,

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.

At first, I considered leaving off the part of the verse about forgiveness, but a great part of this week was about just that subject, above and beyond the shock and grief. Forgiveness was in order this week--forgiving myself for not getting a spring latch to keep the gate shut for lack of money and no one here to install it; forgiving Steve for leaving the gate open and delaying going after the escaped dogs (not his fault, but his disease); forgiving myself for leaving Steve unsupervised in the yard while I showered; forgiving myself for failing in this new requirement for me as caregiver.

May I be like the Lord--forgiving completely!

And now I have several online pictures of adoptable dogs to choose from, female goldens and labs, our favorites, from rescue organizations in Fresno and next-door city Clovis. I hope Steven and Kathy bring the one they pick to us before Thanksgiving, so we don't have a new dog to add to the general commotion of our annual feast. Come to think of it, Thanksgiving 2007 was the first time our extended family met Bailey and Jada--so the timing's right!

Steve has moved on, I guess, perhaps already forgetting that we had two dogs. I'm not sure whether to mention Bailey to him or not, because he'll then have to remember how she died. Jada is getting better, although she especially seems to need to know that one or both of us is home. Steve's presence at home all day today was good for her.

I am weepier than I thought I'd be, because Bailey's death is piled on top of the sad condition my husband is in, although I try to have him function as normally as possible. As with every stage of his disease, God has led me through, and guided me in re-shaping our daily experience, making it good with His presence. One of my favorite portions of scripture is Isaiah 43:1b-2, a promise to Israel that I have claimed as my own for 31 years:

Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by My name; you are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the waters, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.

The serious ups and downs of life on all fronts are calling me to attention, to pray for, encourage and assist my young adult children in any way called for. Life is for the living, and now is my time to have a godly impact on others--family, friends, acquaintances and associates.

Ministry can be done whether we are mourning or rejoicing. And as a full-fledged human being transformed by the blood of Christ, I will serve the Lord and people through both!

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful post, Dana. Yesterday we went to Disneyworld here in Florida. This morning my ALZ husband asked when we are going to Disney.

    I think that our husbands teach us to live in the moment. Glad that Steve has taken this so well and of course you need to forgive yourself about the gate.