Meet Friar Finnigan O'Flannery - or as he likes to be called, Finn. Isn't he so cute you could eat him? Finn is the newest member of our family and is at serious risk of being spoiled beyond belief. At this present moment, he is asleep in my bed. Under my blanket. Who am I even? I try my darnedest to not spoil anyone in my house, especially animals, but Finn hops like a bunny and cuddles. I mean, look at him. I'm toast.
About a month ago, we had to put down our family dog Buddy (AKA Professor Boudreaux). He was a miniature schnauzer and probably the best dog in the entirety of the dog universe. Shameless advert: if you are ever in the market for a pup, a mini schnauzer is the way to go. Don't let anyone talk you into anything else. They are liars. I tell truths. You'll thank me later.
Buddy was in our family for 10 years and got our son through some of his hardest days. Being an only child with no siblings can sometimes be a tough gig when you're little and trying to navigate a big world, so Buddy filled in when he could. He was faithful, and we miss him dearly. Having historically been a cat lady, I didn't really understand how attached you can get to an animal. Cats are experts at playing hard-to-get, after all. But dogs? Their shameless desperation for love is endearing, and Buddy quickly became a solid member of our family. So, when we had to let him go, we felt it, man. Dog grief is a real thing, I think. We tried to adopt a new dog quickly after Buddy died, but it felt all wrong, and we had to let ourselves sit in the sadness. Feel the feels, as they say. It sucked.
I tried to hurry the grieving process along by visiting the local dog shelters weekly and the ones online, well, let's just say waaaaay more than weekly. One of the employees at Citizens for Animal Protection told me she would miss me when she saw that I was finally taking one of the dogs home yesterday. We had become friends. We're having wine later.
This morning as I sat reading with Finn by my side dream-barking, I was happy. I looked down at his cute little face encircled by the surgery cone that comes after the "desexing" (what even?), and just smiled to myself. A month ago as I watched my husband leave with my beloved dog for their last car ride together, I would have never imagined I could love a dog as much as I did Buddy. And maybe I won't. But I'm excited at this new season. There are new memories to make and new fun to be had.
Finn's exuberance and joy has reminded me that our dark times are usually seasons. When we've lost something so much more significant than a family pet, there is still hope. There may be sorrow in the night, and the night may be long, but joy comes in the morning.
God is the lifter of our heads. The light in the dark. The reason for our hope.
Whatever season you are facing today, remember it is a season. You can't hurry it, and you can't ignore it. Though it is difficult, there is Someone who will walk you through it and lead you into joy again. Let yourself feel the feels; He is faithful and has the arms to carry you through. As you both exit out of the darkness into the sunlight, I pray you find your newly grown heart hopping with joy Finn-style.
Love to you!