Saturday, October 12, 2013

The Day We Said Goodbye - Remembering the Heart of a Dog

It was 4 years ago today when, on a day gray, dark, and pouring rain, my son and I knelt beside one of the best friends we will ever have, our big Great Dane named Henley. We were waiting for the veterinarian to come into the room with the Xrays that would confirm what we really already knew. Cancer was working hard to bring our big boy down. It wasn't the first time we had been in that room.

A few months earlier, Henley had fallen desperately ill with an infection. We stood in that same room as one of the vets told us that there probably wasn't anything to do except either to wait for him to die, or to put him down. We brought him home, carrying all 155 pounds out of that office on a quilt. Thanks to the skilled help of another vet who was a friend, and all our our complete dedication to his care, we pulled him through, only to find ourselves 6 months later being told the same thing as before.

Due to the chance that the leg bone, riddled with cancer, might snap and plunge Henley into instant and torturing pain, this time we gave away a few days or months of chances to love and be loved, and held him close as he fell to sleep and then away from us forever. I hope he knew how much he was loved, and that what we did was the hardest thing we have ever done.

There are still times when I come through the door and think about his greetings. 155 pounds of complete and utter joy mixed with love as he pranced and wiggled his big form, all the while making that "woo woo woo" love growl that we all loved to hear. Still times I see that big collar of his and wish he was in it. Our Airedales are awesome and we love them fiercely. But I have to confess that there's nothing like a Dane.

From the first moment Bunny and I saw that face, already impossibly big for a dog his age, we were smitten. He was our dog and we were his. The years that followed saw us share lots of adventures and a few hardships - but every time I came through the door, I knew that greeting was coming. We took him with us on trips to Dallas, to Savannah, and many times to Macon. It was always funny to see the looks from people in small towns along the way when out of the back of our Kia Sportage came "the horse." One time in Colquitt a family made a complete circle of the Hardees just so their kids could see Henley again. What I'd give to see him again.

That's the only flaw in Great Danes, really. They are subject to the same mortality as we are, even more so as their lives average 7-10 years. We had 7, and they were the best.

So thank you God, for such an amazing gift. I'll continue praying that out of your mercy, you'll see fit to let us see him again, and experience the joy of that reunion.

“You think those dogs will not be in heaven! I tell you they will be there long before any of us.” 
― Robert Louis Stevenson

Friday, October 11, 2013

Change Their Hearts, Lord

Politics is not my thing. I run from conversations when I can. I do everything I can to keep the folks I serve at New Hope from going there while we are gathered together. But my river of irritation with the current fiasco has kept rising and rising and this picture just caused it to overflow its banks.

It began with WW2 veterans being denied a chance - maybe their last chance - to stand next to their Memorial - though in truth all of America is their memorial. Then stories surfaced of parking lots on scenic overviews closed, death benefits suspended, parks closed, commissaries idled, research stopped, and now this picture hit my tipping point.

So to you Senators, Congressmen, to you Mr. President, and to all the lesser functionaries...


We've always had adversarial relationships between parties in Washington. 

But we've never been spiteful like we are now.

We've never broken hearts for supposed political gain like we are doing now. 


Please dear reader, pray for the Holy Spirit to convict those in power of the needless pain they have inflicted on tender hearts and drive them to come together for the good of our nation. 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Like A Rock

I've seen the trailer a dozen times now. Sandra Bullock flies by the shuttle and screaming off into space. I always wonder about movies like that. From this couch-side view, I'd think the idea was to raise the viewers emotions as they see someone in trouble barely hanging on.

Frankly, I see enough of that in real life.

There's the student who is struggling and he knows it. I can see it in his face way before he ever says anything. Rushing over to help him work a problem, his little face turns upward to mine and he says "Mr. Wilson, today I am thinking like a rock." When I ask "what does a rock think like?"

He says with a quiver, "They don't." He's failing and he just lost his belief that he'll ever change that.

It doesn't matter what age you are. When the flood rises and you taste fear's bitterness, and you feel your confidence in yourself slipping - the tide rushing out between your feet - you know it isn't a movie.

Today I knelt beside that little soul and walked through the problems with him. I assured him that I was not going to walk away - that I'd help him today and tomorrow - until he "got" it. He needed to know that he wasn't in it alone. He should know by now he can trust Mr. Wilson to do exactly what he says he will do. And I will.

Tonight I'm praying for him, and for God to give me everything I need to help him succeed.

Because I've been that soul.

I have had those moments where fear overwhelmed me and all I could see was devastating failure and loss.

And someone knelt beside me and repeated these words " “I’ll never let you down, never walk off and leave you,” (Hebrews 13:5b) and I instantly knew I could trust him.

Thank you Jesus. Thank you for my little one and all of us who need faith like a rock.