Tuesday, March 1, 2011

humanity's plight

To really understand this story and how it affected me, you have to know, I'm a feeler.
A deep feeler.
Not only am I a feeler, I also have the gift of mercy.
Big time.

My parents are dog people (and so am I). They have had a basenji since before I was born. Over the years there have been five. Well, four and a half, kinda. 3 out of the first 4 got sicknesses/diseases and died between the ages of 5-8. The last one of those was Cleo. They had her put to sleep just two weeks ago as they knew she was never going to get better from whatever was ailing her liver. She was 5. And just last May, we had to put Anubis to sleep, not even a year ago. Needless to say, we were pretty torn up over it.

Well, they decided to find another dog. They don't have kids at home anymore, have lots of free time, and just loving having a basenji around--so it made sense. They contacted the lady they got Cleo from and she told them she was done showing a dog and was willing to sell him to them. So, they took him home last Monday to have a trial run and see if he would be happy in their home. He just so happened to be Cleo's brother as well. He was beautiful. But he was really timid around us. He had only known one home for the first 5 years of his life, so he was very leery of my parents. But they were okay with that and hoped he would adjust.

Friday night, they hosted their Bible study at their house. As some of their friends were leaving, they were talking as they opened the front door, and as any dog who wants to run home and leave an unknown place would do, he darted out the door. My mom called his owner to help come look for him, since he wouldn't come to my mom when she called him. They looked for him but gave up after hours of searching in the dark. She called me in tears and asked me to pray that they would find him.

I prayed.
A lot.
Like I prayed a lot for my other dog to be healed.

Even though I know these are animals, and they do not have souls and developed thought and emotions... they mean something to us. There's a bond dog people have with their dogs that's pretty hard to explain to someone who just doesn't get it.

And I've always been told that God cares about the intimate details of our lives, no matter how much they may not mean in the long run... so praying to my God that He would allow us to find this dog meant something.

My mom called me the next morning.
They found him...
Hit by a car...
dead on the side of the road.
Are you kidding me, God?
How could you?
After all we've been through; just been through, a week ago?
This is exactly what was going through my mind.
I was so angry with God.
Cuz, God, I've been asking you to spare us this heartache with animals and both of your answers have clearly been no.

And so I wept.

Not just for the loss of a living thing...

But for the guilt my parents felt for the accident in hindsight they could have prevented...

For their added sadness over having just lost a loved pet and so quickly losing the one they thought would help bring joy to their sadness...

For the broken heart of the woman he belonged to, a woman who doesn't know Jesus, who's livelihood is raising and showing dogs, who loved this animal so much...

I know life is about so much more than animals dying.
I really do.

But in my extreme ability to feel, I felt the pain of humanity's plight... so deeply.
I felt so empty.
I felt like life was so not worth living.
Because I felt like God betrayed me, I felt what it's like to just not care about living in a world that stuff like this happens in.

After pretty much crying over it all day long, I started to try and figure out why it affected me so much, beyond just being an emotional girl who loves animals.

I have mercy.
A lot of it.
When I see someone getting hurt, that part of my body hurts along with them...
When I see someone crying, I have to cry with them or hug them or comfort them...
And it's a gift.
It's not a curse (even though I sometimes think it is)...
I know that this learning more about myself is an opportunity to start developing it so I can actively use it.

And, to those of you who've gone through far worse heartbreak than I:
I am so deeply sorry...
I cannot even begin to imagine it...
Please don't think that I am even trying to compare the loss of a loved one to that of a pet.

For me... this was my first personal glimpse of complete despair.
My first real reminder that this world is not my home and that death and pain and heartbreak can penetrate my seemingly perfect life at any moment.

And I'm still struggling with the why.
I may not ever know.
But time is helping to heal the hurt...
And I do know that God does care...
Even though I may not feel it sometimes...

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