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Friday, February 3, 2017

Standing at the edge of a grave...or...why it is better to have loved and lost.



Dearest loved one...

I felt your pain as we stood in the cold misty rain yesterday...

Staring into a deep, clay-colored hole in the forest floor...

Cardboard box by your side.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw another grave...draped in a shroud of soggy, colorless leaves...

Of another pet we had loved and lost...our never-too-smart, but dearly loved rescue dog from Mexico...Venga.

I would have given anything to spare you the pain I saw written on your face.

First Corinthians does a great job of telling us what love is...

But it doesn't touch on the heart-wrenching pain that love brings.

At times like this, it can be so hard to remember that this is not all there is...

That this cramped hallway we call life here, leads to Life There.

As Dad shoveled the clods of dirt onto Smeagol's box, a thought penetrated my daze...

Smeagol is not here! He's There...with Venga!

I could envision Venga prancing up on her back legs, goofy look in her eyes as she bent down to nuzzle Smeagol...

Who was purring with delight at finding a familiar friend...a loved one...waiting for him There.

And Smeagol was whole again!

Plump, with lungs that no longer labored for each breath...restored...and deliriously happy!

I wanted to smile and high-five a God who makes all things new, but I dared not.

"Why does God have to take the things we love?" you sobbed.

I wish I could have answered you yesterday with what I know today with all my heart...

God doesn't take.

He transfers.

What we loved here, we will love There again.

And that's what will make Heaven so glorious!

We say the words, our heavenly home...

But what is home?

Home is where we belong...where we fit...where we are surrounded by the people and animals who share our love...

It is a sanctuary, a resting place, filled with all those things that bring us joy.

Heaven will be all of that and more...but without decay or loss or death.

Heaven won't be some mysterious Unknown...

Uncomfortable...

Unrecognizable...

It will look and feel like home...

Like at the end of a long day away, when you walk through your door and there is your crazy dog, rocking back and forth to the rhythm of his beating tail...all at the glorious sight of you!

Or your cat, who dashes across the room when he hears your voice...his purr motor in high gear...entwining himself around your legs with wild abandon...

Or a beloved child, or mother or father, wife, husband, brother or sister...arms thrown wide open, faces wreathed in smiles the minute you come into view!

Just. Like. That.

We know too well that in this life all people and things are imperfect...only shadows of what they were meant to be.

Here we only catch glimpses of what love and joy await us There.

One day we will travel to the end of this earthly hallway, and the door will swing open into a glorious reunion with all we have loved and lost!

Yes, sin entered our world...hand-in-hand with separation, loss and death...

But that's not enough to make us close up our hearts, bar the door, and choose to never love again.

For oh, what we will miss...here and There...if we do!

Jesus knew that we would spend way too many days alongside holes in the ground.

But those days are numbered, for He has overcome sin and death!

And the expectation of what is to come?

My dear, it is enough to keep us loving.

Love never dies.
1 Cor. 13:8