I recognized my daughter Ashley’s phone number on caller ID and answered right away.
No sound . . .
“Hello? Honey, is that you?”
No response . . .
“Ash, can you hear me . . . where are you?” I looked to see if the phone was connected, and it was. In my “mother-hover” way, it seemed time to call the police.
A consuming sigh broke the silence, followed by wet sniffles and stuttered expressions of deep sorrow. Ashley finally sputtered, “Mom, (huge, wet sniff) . . . it’s really bad . . . REALLY (colossal sigh) . . . bad.”
She continued, “It’s Desoto, Mom. He’s really sick.”
Desoto is our huge Rottweiler who brings a whole new meaning to “man’s best friend.” Desoto has traveled with my family along many miles of life’s roads; losing him will be terribly painful.
In addition, Ashley is studying to be a veterinarian. She’s like a walking Google for animals. We go to her whenever we want to know anything about the animal kingdom. It’s fantastic! Or it was fantastic until Google-Ashley told me that Desoto may not make it. Then Google-Ashley crashed for a while. After she rebooted, I learned that Desoto’s medical prognosis was not so promising. In these pensive moments, more tears followed.
Past, Present, Future
You may not care about animals, but likely you have or are currently enduring loss.
It may be a mate, a precious child, a pet, a silent wish, a lifelong dream, or a counted-on security blanket. Like sands spilling through an hourglass, loss is heartbreaking, and I am so sorry if you have experienced it or are experiencing it now.
In life, a broken heart is one of the most painful things to endure. Maybe we tend to revisit the past and dwell on the “what ifs” and “if onlys”—which cause confusion and regret. Or maybe our present circumstances are awful, which cause us to fear living life. Or maybe our thoughts run to the future, with worries about what tomorrow will bring.
But no matter our past, present, or future, God is always sovereign; the job’s taken.
So What Do We Do?
So what do we do with the present and its pains? Ashley and I talked through that several weeks ago. Though we didn’t solve life’s problems, we did discover some truths that help when life hurts.
- We always have choices to make. Examine them. Since we cannot change the past, we can choose to let go of what we wish we would or could have done differently. Maybe we made the best choices at the time. Maybe not. Either way, we need to let go of the past and make the best choice now. We can never give God His rightful place in our lives if we live for what we believe we should or could have done differently.
- We always have tendencies to run from living life in the present. Resist them. We become miserably controlling, relationally distant, and persistently focused on the unknown. Living in the present can be so painful, but there is purpose in it. Instead of trying to escape our present circumstances, we must ask the Lord to strengthen us as the process of living life day-to-day continues.
- We always have losses to face. Embrace them. What does that mean? It means we embrace the temporary nature of this life and choose how we will spend eternity. It means we must release to God what was never ours anyway . . . such as other people or places, things or ideas, rights or expectations, or the future. Last I checked, only God lives outside of human time and space, so only God knows the future. God owns it all. He created it all and knows all. If addressed, grief from loss is a transforming process that’s humbling, purifying, and sanctifying. Some of the most wise and discerning people, filled with mercy and grace, have experienced and embraced enormous losses. These people’s steadfast faithfulness provides us with hope to press on toward an unknown future.
Today, How Are You?
It is one thing to read about loss and living in the moment; it’s another thing to make these changes which, I believe, cannot be done without support. Maybe you have experienced something similar and have words of hope for my family; perhaps you need words of help and hope. In fact, these questions are provided for us to connect:
- What pain are you enduring?
- What choices are you facing?
- What hope are you needing?
Let’s encourage one another in trusting Christ for today. You can leave a comment by clicking here.