In about a month Jaden will be 8 in human years. I wonder how you would have felt having him in the house? You never liked dogs, and I am pretty sure you would object loudly in the beginning. Your mom was really scared of him at first but eventually she got used to him and now she will even pat and feed him oranges. I am pretty sure you would have done the same thing for it is so difficult to resist those sad puppy eyes !
I called Jaden my “mourning dog”, three months after you passed on, we went to a farm and picked him out of a wooden box. I fell instantly in love with him as he ran over to check me out while the rest of his siblings took off to the other side of the field . The moment he licked my feet I knew the feeling was mutual and he had picked us as his new family. I read that it is natural for people to get pets during the bereavement of a loved one for they are known to have helped people during the grieving process. Pets are wonderful companions, they are attentive, loving and good listeners as well. Yes, he is quite a responsibility but is totally worth the effort. When he was a puppy he did present some problems for me, and at one time I had even wanted to give him away. But now I am glad that I have kept him.
He normally likes to stay in his bed and sleep, but lately he will sit beside me for a long time while I work. I am quite certain he knows that this time of the year is difficult for me and in his doggy way he is trying to reach out and comfort me. But don’t be jealous for even he is a good companion, he will never fill that gaping hole you left in my life.
In eight years Jaden have grown from a rambunctious bundle of fur to Mr. Yellow Mellow. He has certainly matured into a gentle, loving dog and is everyone’s friend in the neighborhood. He is not the only one who has done a lot of growing though, for over these last eight years I have also done a fair share myself, the rawness that I first experienced in my soul have slowly healed and all is left now is a scar which has become a part of me. I have finally learned to accept the loss and move on.
The experiences one goes through in life, and the choices made do mold you and shape you to be the person you are. I was this spoiled woman eight years ago with everything in her life being taken care of by her man. Now I have to learn to stand on my own, and be responsible for things which I used to shy away from. You know how it was– I liked to pass the buck to you. You had cleaned up many of my messes, corrected my mistakes and took time to teach me and remind me of God’s truth. I used to roll my eyes at you when you “preached” at me, and now how I missed those times. You always had a way to handle and diffuse this emotional time bomb.
I really missed having you as a patient listener for all my rants and raves of things which bothered me. Even though Jaden is a good listener, he will never be able to understand and talk sense into this head of mind. The other day while I was struggling with some issues, I recalled what you used to say to me under similar circumstances….you would look at me and tell me bluntly ” die to self.”
This was the motivation of your life, you had often talked about Paul’s teaching on this topic, that “dying to self daily” is the key to a victorious life. It is to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. It is one of the reasons why leaders fail and stumble even with a brilliant track record and resume. It is a warning that Christians need to heed seriously, when we do not die to self each day it is easy to fall prey to the “self” which is our biggest enemy. Not only you had talked about it all the time, you spent your life practicing it, so it was fitting that this was the last topic you preached on before the Lord took you Home.
It has been a very long time since I heard this important truth, it is unfortunate that we have slowly adopted the way of the world when we buy into this “self-actualization” instead of “Christ-realization”. Indeed, I have spent most of the last eight years wrapped up in self-pity and it is time for me to live the way you would have wanted me to. God cannot use a person who has not died to self, that person cannot go far in the Kingdom of God. We have been called to live the life of Christ and not our own.
“Dying to self” is never easy, it is going against our human nature and the world’s values. It is a conscious choice I will have to make each day until I see Him face to face but I am thankful for the example in you, and the lessons you had taught me.
I shall journey on and hold fast to the spiritual legacy you had left for us. Rest in the arms of your loving Lord, my dear, as you do not have to struggle with the flesh anymore.