The Ache Inside of Me

The Ache Inside of Me

The Lamb Who Was Slain


Creation Groans for Renewal!


Rom 8:20-21

For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.


I wrote a blog on Thursday about the Passover, then I felt inspired to write about Good Friday as well. I wondered if I should write something on Easter Sunday but didn’t think more about it until I had experienced Easter 2010 myself!  I had no idea it would be as it was.


Easter morning while we were pondering and preparing for our annual Passover Seder we realized that our sweet little toy poodle Spencer was missing. Once about six months prior he had gotten out of our sight and wandered down the street. We fortunately found him and brought him back home. When we found he was missing again this Sunday morning we  all went  out searching for him all over the neighborhood but to no avail, we couldn’t find him. I couldn’t imagine where he might have gone and feared we would never find him.


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My wife, Vileen, saw a pick-up driving by and asked the man inside if he had seen our little dog. He said he had seen some police cars where a little dog had been hit by a car. He took Vileen several blocks away where this had occurred. When she arrived, there was little Spencer laying in the street in front of the police car and found there was not one police car, but there were five!   They had stopped to protect him from getting hit again. The gentle man that had brought Vileen to the scene lifted Spencer off the pavement and gently laid him on the grass while Vileen was calling me to come.  We were amazed that the police had been so caring and thankful because we might not have found him otherwise and might have always wondered what had happened to him.


After seeing all of the commotion the lady who lived in the house came out and was comforting Vileen when I arrived. She went back in to her house and came back with a phone book turned to a page for emergency animal care and hurriedly tore the page out of the book and sent us on our way. We arrived at the hospital and after some tests found that Spencer was broken beyond repair and that we would serve him best by placing him in the hands of Jesus.


13 years ago

When we got Spencer we selected a breeder who was known for sweet spirited little poodles. After all these years of having him in our home I couldn’t imagine a sweeter dog. He never complained, always waited for us to lead him to whatever he needed even water and food were not taken without us being right beside him to protect him. His official name was “Smid’s Spunky Spencer” and that proved to be true as well. Up until the day of his accident he remained high spirited and excited when it was time to through his bone or to greet us at the door. He was getting older and slept a lot more but his excitement about our family never waned it just lasted a little while shorter than it had in the past.


When we arrived home after his passing I placed his little box with him lying in it into the garage.  We had to get into “host mode” to prepare for our Seder. As I reviewed the readings from the Seder script I was quickly reminded of the history of the Jewish families bringing into the home their best little lamb and to live with it to make sure it was the healthiest and best suited to become the Passover Lamb. I clearly didn’t think I was going to make it through reading that section as Spencer was our “little lamb” for sure and he had died on Easter Sunday. Oh, boy, how could I go through this today?


After Easter was over I began to grieve terribly and knew I had one more thing that had to be done.   I had to bury our little doggie, but it was late and I felt the next day was best to do that. My grandson, Devin, made sure he told me to bury his “bone toy” with him. Interestingly enough, before I went to bed on Sunday night, I looked next to our bed and saw his little red furry bone laying there still and silent. Spencer never tore anything up and he had that red bone as his best toy for over 10 years. It was his only toy and we washed it over and over again so it seemed very appropriate that it would go with him.


So, early Monday morning I went to get the shovels and pick to dig his grave. I gently took him in his little box and his bone and placed it in the grave and covered it up. Vileen, Devin, and I went to pray around it and laid our little one to rest.


I was not expecting the following hours and days to be as tough as they have been. I cried out to the Lord in the middle of the night trying to hear Jesus’ voice for comfort. I finally went back to sleep. But the next day brought even more pain and I realized the center of my pain was in my heart, the location of my physical heart. I entered into the reality of the grief cycle. Lord, I just want to hold him again, I want to hear his bark, I want to see him skip around in circles. I want to see him sleeping in when the rest of the house is already up and running.


Spencer


I want him to follow me outside to lay in the sun and to lay on my lap  just so he could  be with us. I want to eat lunch with him again when I am home and to know he is there laying on his bed no matter where I am. I want to feel his soft gentle spirit as I pet him. Lord, I know we can’t have him back and that’s the greatest pain of all.  I know I can’t.


I received a poem from a friend on the next day. It was called the “Rainbow Bridge” and was about our family pets when they die. It talks of their wholeness on the “Rainbow Bridge”, their running and jumping in “doggie heaven”. It talks of them having little friends and lots of food and refreshment. The poem also tells us that their wounds are healed and they are no longer in pain.  Meant to be hopeful and helpful, the poem took me into a different place.


As I read this, my heart was the heaviest it had been all along. I felt as though barbed wire had just gone through my heart.  I could see that the joy of  seeing my little Spencer being whole again was deep in my heart. In some ways, the poem brought him back to life in my mind at a time when I was really struggling to let him go.  But, the another heart ache came when the poem spoke of when I got to heaven, my little doggie would see me from afar and run to me excited to see me again. At times this pain seemed more than I could bear.


I was in my office most of that day and not having him here brought me to a deep loneliness. I wasn’t able to sit still and felt I had to leave and go somewhere to get away from the pain but it continued. Even as I write this my heart aches all over again wanting that day of seeing him run to me to be NOW! I am tired, shocked, empty, and want so much for the pain of my loss to be comforted.  Does anyone understand?  Am I silly for having this deep of a loss over a dog?  But, I cannot help it, it hurts.


We are all groaning for renewal!


So, as I read over the passage from Romans above, I have once again been reminded that this world is not heaven. It is not perfect. It is full of pain, grief, and loss. God’s original intent for our lives was perfection. We were designed for His perfect Eden and this isn’t it.


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During some of the painful times alone I felt the Lord, my Father, spoke gently to me, “John, that is the way I feel about you.  I wanted to have you back, to hold you, to have a relationship with you for eternity.” He reminded me that He gave His son over to death so that He could hold me again.  As I grieve the loss of my little Spencer, I recognize even more of the Lord’s pain when he sees us suffering. I see His heart for our hurts and our loss because we are not with Him either. We are all wounded, full of suffering and separated from Him.


Much as my little Spencer lays in the grave outside of my window; without Jesus Christ, I was laying in a grave without hope and my Father wants so much for me to be reconciled with Him in eternity. Spencer dying on Easter morning made the message of God’s love even louder in my heart. He died for us and rose again so that He could have us back!  He is very interested in all of our lives and even more desirous of us being with Him eternally.


When I die I will go into my eternity searching for more than my little Spencer. I hope I will run up to my Father with eager anticipation of our perfect  reconciliation. I have already learned that He will be running to me like my little Spencer may be doing.


In the end, right now, my heart aches missing my little friend. I am asking God for His grace for the moment. His comfort for my pain, His purpose in my grief and His patience to endure through the healing process.


No other dog can replace you. You were unique, quirky, and we loved you very much. We miss you, Spencer.

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10 Responses to “The Ache Inside of Me”

  1. Judy Ford says:

    So sorry for your loss John and Vileen. We related to everything you said as we too lost a great friend and family member in Febuary, 2010. Dexter was 10 years old. Two years before that we lost Bentley, 16 years old. Today we have Mini (2 year old Doxie) and Cooper (3 month old Yorkie). The pain does not go away so quickly or easily. The memories are good ones and we take our pups out to the grave where the two best RV buddies lie side by side. Mini was being nurtured and mentored by Dexter….just as Bentley had done for him. Blessings to you as you grieve Spencer’s passing. There will come a day when you are ready to make new memories with yet another family companion. I am assuming you have been sent the poem, Rainbow Bridge for Pets. We pray it has helped you as it did for us. With love and concern.
    Richard and Judy Ford
    Louisville, MS

  2. Tim Raper says:

    It has been a few weeks since the loss of my little toy poodle “Coco”. During the time prior to her death, John called to share in the concern. Knowing the love he shared with “Spencer” his poodle, pet and friend, he could relate to what I must be feeling. Little did he know that he would be facing the same valley in a few short weeks. I can’t help but wonder if God in his infinite wisdom, allowed John to feel a little of the pain, I was experiencing, in preparation for his great loss that was just ahead. God cares for us in so many ways. He sees the future and knows how to protect and prepare our hearts for the unfortunate times that are a part of our lives.

    I know John, and the entire household will miss Spencer greatly. The first one to great you when you arrive home. The one that always wants to cuddle and show there loves first, the faithfulness and unconditional love that is shown in a way that only a man’s best friend can understand.

    One of my favorite quotes is; “To Errrr is Human, To Forgive is Canine”. I choose to believe that God has a special place for our beloved pets that help to make our lives complete and someday we will be united again.

    Tim

  3. Martin Rote says:

    I know the loss. We lost Gabe’ to cancer, which allowed us a chance to say farewell. But it still hurt. Love ya

  4. Sandy and Judy says:

    John and Vileen:

    We are praying for you both. Spencer was a great companion and we know you will miss his presence in your home. Your reflection about this loss shows us how GOD sacrificed so much to redeem and restore us to relationship with HIM. We are certainly praising HIM now and will forever!

    GOD Bless you both.

    Sandy and Judy

  5. Sue says:

    John and Vileen, I’m going to pray for you. Be patient with yourselves, the grieving process must go full circle. I totally relate to what you are going through. You are NOT silly, it is not a “little” loss. It is a huge loss that is real, true grief. ALL good and beautiful gifts are from the LORD, and I truly believe our beloved dogs are gifts from God that teach us unconditional, unselfish, undying LOVE. They are part of our family eternally! God will bless you again with another gift to love, but Spencer will never be replaced….I know you know that. I believe you WILL be with Spencer again on that great and glorious day when reunited with your Father in that beautiful mansion He’s prepared just for you–that will have a special little bed in it just for little Spencer–with a brand new red toy. Will pray for your comfort during this very difficult time! God bless! -sue

  6. Sharon Lawson says:

    John and Vileen…

    Over the last 3 and 1/2 years of being a part of our Saturday evening Small Group, I have learned to love Spencer and enjoy his company. He was a very sweet dog and made me laugh quite often with his groans and moans while he happily slept in between us or on our laps during our Bible Studies. I loved seeing him curl up in Vileen’s arms like a sleeping baby.

    To help me express the deep sadness I feel over the loss of this special gift from God to you and to the rest of us, the one thing that keeps coming to mind is an episode of the original Star Trek. I really don’t remember the circumstances that led to this, nor who it was who died, but I do remember a line spoken by the head lady of Vulcan to Mr. Spok. She told him, “I grieve with thee”. John, Vileen, Amanda and Devin…I grieve with thee.

    I am continuing my prayers for all of you and asking God to comfort you and carry you through this process called grief. That one day soon you will be able to remember all the wonderful things about Spencer and the joy he gave to you by being a part of your life and family.

    May God be close to all of you,

    Sharon

  7. Betty Weiman says:

    Dearest John and Vileen,

    It was so sad to hear about the death of your darling little Spencer! I have been through this twice with Steven since he moved back to town. and each time it is so very hard to watch those you love grieve for a pet. You will be in my prayers. God Bless you and your family at this time of sorrow.
    Love to all you. Betty w.

  8. Dean Casey says:

    I don’t think you are being silly at all. God assigned Spencer to you, and as Elisabeth Elliot once said, “all that was ever ours is ours forever.”

    My favorite line in Mel Gibson’s PASSION is when Mary runs to Jesus on the Via Delerosa and he replies, “I make all things new”. What a wonderful promise from The Word!

    I look forward to meeting Spencer.

  9. Carondelet Nollner says:

    John And Vileen
    After 22 years of being God’s agent of walking these little ones back to their Creator, I will never get “accustomed” to death. Even for those that it seems to “relieve” the pain, the guardians (families) are so devastated. Death of pets, friends, loved ones, relationships..any kind of death is tragic and guttoral. God has given you and Vileen such a capacity to love and with the depth of your love comes the intensity of your grief.
    Since pets are part of God’s creation, and He adores his creation, then I know He is honored by the love that you and Vileen have for Spencer.
    When God defeats forever His last enemy, death, and all is restored, Eternity with Spencer will be glorious!

  10. Robert & Deb says:

    “Am I silly for having this deep of a loss over a dog? But, I cannot help it, it hurts.” ABSOLUTELY NOT and it certainly does!!! That little boy was part of your family and gave you complete unconditional love. The day we had to lay Maxwell to rest, just about tore me apart, and I wondered the same thing. How could I hurt this much, but apart from the loss of my Mom, losing my precious “son” came in a very close second. Yes, it hurts and hurts like hades. I too love the Rainbow Bridge poem, and yes, it made/makes me cry terribly every time I read it. Because of the Bible’s story about the ewe lamb, I KNOW that our Father has a special place in heaven, and that our reunion with our babies will be a very special one! Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

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