4 Lessons From an Angel
There's still salt in my beard. The credit card charge at the vet probably hasn't gone through yet. It feels both like it happened and it didn't. It did.
If you don't like animals or understand why people are so crazy about dogs, these words are a waste of time. Go check the scores or the news or something. But if you love animals, and specifically if you have known the deep love of a dog, I think you'll get this.
This afternoon we put down our beloved dog, Angel. Her name was fitting. There is no doubt in my mind that God doles out his divine attributes to creatures like Angel. And he puts them near us not only to teach us of his greatness, but also to teach us lessons. Here is what Angel taught me:
1. Love is bigger than fairness. Angel was never aggressive with anything or anyone in her entire life. As we stroked her head today at the vet, we ran our fingers over the scar where one of our dogs had bit her. Angel didn't retaliate, she just took it.
2. Protect the innocent. Actually, I take that back. One time Angel did show aggression. A pipsqueak Chihuahua tried to attack one of our dogs, and before we knew what had happened Angel had the dog pinned to the ground. He was in her mouth, but she did not bite him - she just showed enough force to get her brother out of a jam.
3. Suffer in silence. During a GORUCK Challenge a cadre once yelled at us to "suffer in silence." His point, though he made it rather forcefully, was that no one has time for whining. It turns out Angel literally had a belly full of tumor. She kept on. She wagged her tail and came when called. She did not whimper. She was a warrior.
4. Love hard. We rescued Angel when she was around a year old. She had been chained to a tree and thus was, for her entire life, horrified of storms. Though she had been mistreated, she did not become leery of people. She let her past be her past and she committed herself to us. She loved hard and I will never forget the last shining gleam in her eyes before they shut. She was love, all love. The only love I know that is comparable is the love of Christ.
We must learn to trust God's goodness in the gray. Do dogs go to heaven? Do babies go to heaven? Do mentally handicapped people go to heaven? The Bible isn't definitive here. But I will tell you my heartfelt conviction is yes, yes, and yes. I don't have a theological treatise to explain myself - I only have the knowledge of a God who loves so big he died for me and a bunch of rejects like me. (Okay, and yes - we do see that God saves people in the womb in the Bible.) And I will cover my backside by saying whatever God decides on gray issues is exactly as it should be.
Our tears will dry up and we'll go on with life. But we will be impacted by Angel's love. We will be different. We will be better. Because Angel showed us a glimpse of the love of God, we will be changed.