Monthly Archives: June 2012

Parking Lot Tears

The email’s subject line read simply, “Lecktor.” Still that one word had an ominous tone to it. It was the name of my girlfriend’s beloved pet – a champion German Shepherd, a hero in the Search and Rescue community.

I read the email and immediately felt the need to flee the house. I could hardly breathe, the walls started crashing in and I had to run away. Lecktor, who had once covered miles and miles in search of lost humans, was slowly losing his battle to stand. My friend faces the horrific decision to put him down. Age is one foe he couldn’t conquer; the email listed details of her decision.

Sitting in the parking lot of the local grocery store, I called my husband in tears. I tried to explain why  I was crying – why I was sitting in my car sobbing. Losing a pet is so gut-wrenching and as I blubbered, I tried to explain my deep emotional reaction to my husband.  “I know,” I whimpered, “how hard it is to lose a dog you love.”

Worried that something had happened to our dog, he tenderly asked, “Where’s Lily?” Assuring him that our own canine was safe at home in her kennel relieved him, but did little to calm me.

My heart broke for my friend. I cried because I did not know how to comfort her. I cried because I couldn’t wipe away her pain. I cried because I knew her family was saying goodbye under crushing sorrow. And I cried because there is loss in this world and sometimes it grabs me, shakes me and refuses to release its grip.

To escape the hold this news had on me, I had the uncontrollable urge to one-by-one hug everyone in the parking lot. Because we have all been there. We have all suffered loss. We are together in grief. But I figured that action would only result in a panicked call to the police and a trip to the psych ward for me.

So instead, my loneliness drained me sitting deep in the crevice of my sadness.  Heartbroken, unfixed, I was powerless to erase my friend’s grief. There is no earthly fix, no person can repair a loss like this. I often tell people we heal in community but those words seemed pathetic. Yet it was all I could offer. I pray my friend is comforted by my desire to sit with her in her pain.

I sat in my car facing this lonely place comforted knowing God is my Search and Rescue team. In the unique solitude of the parking lot, all I could do was pray. My prayers to heal Lektor won’t be answered. Yet because of Jesus, we don’t need to hide from loss. We can ask Jesus into it with us. He won’t always remove the cause of our anguish, but with Him, we are never truly alone.

Father’s Day Love

It was exactly what I wanted – a shiny, new blue and red two-wheeler.  For my fifth birthday, I graduated to a “big girl” two-wheeler bike.  It was time to leave the sissy three-wheelers behind.

With sheer joy, I begged my parents to immediately let me ride it. Their hesitation was justified. I was a two-wheeler newbie and for some unknown reason, those tiny, goofy training wheels were not attached to my new bicycle. Both of my parents begged me to wait until my dad could attach them.

But I was ready to blaze new trails, to reach new distances, to boldly go where no 5-year old had gone before and kept badgering my parents. Eventually, they gave their blessing and off I went.

To my credit, I managed to get four houses away before I lost my balance, fell off the bike, scrapping both my knees in the process. I limped back home crying leaving my new bicycle still at the crash site.

The minute my father saw me, he scooped me up into his arms and lovingly, tenderly comforted me. “I’m so proud of you for trying. Riding a bicycle isn’t easy. I love you, now let’s make your knees feel better.”

That was my dad. He lifted me up, protected me yet giving me wings to fly, helped me define myself when I was growing up and cherished me. And he was there to catch me when I fell, even if it was because I made a stupid choice.

Looking back, I never thanked him enough for his esteem, for the inspiration he gave me and for always extending his love. How could I?  It would have taken a lifetime.

I don’t know what your earthly father was like, but your heavenly Father comforts in the same way.  He also asks us to go one step further. We are all sons and daughters of the King who wants us to deal with each other “as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” (1 Thessalonians 2:11 – 12)

And so this blog entry comes with a challenge. Ask God to humble you and raise others up. If that last sentence gave you pause, chances are the Lord desires this to be a place to fully surrender to Him. And maybe, just maybe the Holy Spirit is nudging you…

Today, please reach out and tell someone they mean something to you. Then make a commitment in your heart to pray God will use them. Let them know you value them, that you hold them in high regard. Then pray that God will use them for mighty efforts to bring glory to Him.

Where’s Lily?

I could tell in one glance, she wasn’t doing well.  After surgery, Lily, my beloved canine companion, looked dreadfully uncomfortable in her Victorian collar. And despite the vet’s reassurance Lily wasn’t in pain, I could tell something was amiss.

Arriving home, she didn’t want to get out of the car. As a German Shepherd weighing almost 70 pounds, I couldn’t muscle her out, either. So I let her be, leaving both the car door and the garage entryway door open, hoping she would make her way into the house when she felt up to it.  Like any doting dog lover, I checked in on her about every ten minutes.

But the last time I checked, she was gone! She wasn’t anywhere in the garage, couldn’t find her in the house and there was no dog in the backyard. I panicked. Given her condition, she couldn’t have left the premises, but where was she? As the minutes clicked by and I rushed from room to empty room, my mind traveled to the worst case scenario – she’s bleeding to death in some closet somewhere and I didn’t find her fast enough to help.

Finally as my fear reached desperation pitch, I located her! Somehow, Victorian collar and all, she managed to squeeze between the tiny distance separating our concrete wall and the hedge. And there she sat, looking even more uncomfortable than she did in the vet’s office.

I must admit, I’m a bit like Lily. When difficult times are the norm, my first reaction seems to flee from my Master instead of flying  to Him. That’s because I blame God for my misfortune rather than my foolish miscues or the fallen condition of the world.

I’m not the only one. Psalm 10:1 implores, “Why, LORD, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” In my despair, all I can think about is me.  Me, me, me.  My hurt, my discomfort, my disappointment. My self-centeredness pulls me off my normally solid footing and into a riptide of even deeper misery. And once in over my head, even my prayers are shallow. They make God into some sort of magician whose only purpose is to keep my life from running amuck.

I drown myself in sorrow. It is there that God must rescue me time and time again. He whispers softly to me, “Why don’t you trust me? Why don’t you come to me? I love you and want you to abide in Me at all times – especially when you are dismayed. Let me shelter you and give you hope.”

You’d think after a lifetime of this habit, I’d know to run to Him first. When I hide from God, I feel foolish and ashamed. Psalm 119:11 gives the remedy for exactly this situation, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

When I run to Him instead of away from Him, when I pray and seek His guidance in the Bible, I’m no longer adrift in a sea of dejection. The Holy Spirit softens the hurt, relieves the burden and replaces it with joy.  For joy is found only in giving control of your life over to God.