Carl- On the Other Side

If Carl could see my husband and I as we have mourned for him in the last couple of days, he probably wouldn’t understand the tears or sad looks. He wouldn’t comprehend how the thought of him in all of his usual places causes us to catch our breath as we try to shake off the unwelcome feelings.

The pain of loss is a difficult emotion to move through. I keep telling myself that is better to have loved and lost than to not have loved at all. But it still doesn’t make the feelings go away or change the realization that we will never see our beloved Carl again.

I have received several encouraging notes about a Rainbow Bridge where animals go until they greet their owners on the other side. A place where animals have all their needs met and no longer suffer.

I love the thought of Carl running around an open field making new four legged friends. No leashes or restraints, just the freedom of running free. I can also envision him as he turns his head upward and howls for everyone to know that he has arrived.

But what gives me the most hope about this situation can be found in John 11:32-33. “When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled.”

What gives me the most encouragement is the fact that Jesus entered Mary’s pain. He didn’t minimize it or down play it, but he allowed it to consume him. He cried with her and I know he is crying with me now. He doesn’t think being upset at the loss of a dog is silly or trite. Instead, he is beside me as I suffer.

It brings me an extreme amount of comfort just knowing the author of life has entered into our pain. And with this knowledge, I believe that He will provide for our furry friend in death as he takes care of us in life.

I want to thank all of you who have supported me as I have written about all the craziness that came with living with Carl. I am not sure if I will continue to blog, but I am sure God will provide an avenue if it is meant to be. In the meantime, if you would like to purchase my book, Empty Hands, it is now available today on Amazon as an eBook for only $.99.

Thank you,

Cora

Good Bye Sweet Carl

As my husband and I embraced each other, we couldn’t stop crying and shaking from our loss. Carl was laid to rest today under the trees in our backyard, next to our English Bull dog, Sally.

What started as a normal day in our household, ended tragically for all of us. I would have never thought that I would be writing these words to all of you who have followed the life and antics of my little French Bull dog. But I do believe that I owe it to you to let you know that this sweet little dog who has provided so many smiles and tears has left this world.

Grief fills my heart right now. Just thinking about Carl causes my eyes to well up and a sinking feeling to set in. My tendency is to stay busy and distracted so I won’t feel. It just hurts too much to think that I will never see him again.

Bee has been extra attentive towards us in the last couple of hours. She has followed us around and seems to know that something isn’t right. I am not sure if she is sad or grateful for being the only dog.

This coming Wednesday, I am releasing my new book Empty Hands. I have wondered why I gave this book this name. But given the broken heart that I am feeling and the thoughts of being empty, this title is making more sense to me as I mourn.

I will send a link for all of you who would like to purchase a copy in the next couple of days.

But for right now, please keep my husband and I in your prayers.

I am not sure if I will continue this blog. It just doesn’t make sense right now. We have no plans to replace Carl. As you all know, there is no way to replace this sweet dog that filled our hearts with such joy and happiness.

In the love of Christ,

Cora

Our Special Purpose

Carl pranced out of the house while the door shut in Bee’s face as we left on our three mile walk. No longer does Bee take the walks around the neighborhood. Instead, she is left alone while Carl gets to strut himself out in public.

From Bee’s standpoint, life is not fair. Questions of why float around in her mind as she lays on the porch waiting for everyone to return. Bitterness and resentment would be natural tendencies if she was a human.

How often in life do we become swallowed up with anger when we observe the success of others? We work so hard but the fruit we expect never comes. Joseph must have felt anger when he was stuck in jail for a crime he didn’t commit. He probably spent many nights asking God for answers when the jail doors slammed in front of him while others walked out and forgot him.

Years passed and then one day, he was called by Pharaoh to interpret a dream. A dream that Pharaoh had struggled with and demanded someone to interpret. Once Joseph stood in front of Pharaoh, he clearly told him that interpretations are from God.

Once the dream was interpreted, Pharaoh knew that Joseph was the only one that could lead the nation out of the famine that would occur.

All the years that he had been in jail were for a reason. God had been preparing Joseph for this role by allowing him to suffer and live through difficult times. And just as God instigated the trials for Joseph, He can be doing the same thing for all of us.

Bee is not being intentionally left behind because we don’t want her to come. Her airway was not created like Carl’s. His snout is a little longer which allows him to endure long walks in warm seasons. A couple of months ago, we thought Bee might not live after a long walk down the trail. We love her too much to take chances with her life. In the same manner, God who is all knowing, may allow suffering because He has a special purpose designed just for us.

Unpleasant Repercussions

Carl was in a fight and lost. It wasn’t with another dog or even a cat. It wasn’t with a squirrel or even a bird. But a frog! Carl thought he would take a good bite out of the brown bumpy reptile but was immediately horrified by what he experienced next.

Apparently, frogs have a toxin on their skin that keeps them safe from all the Carls out there. And it was definitely effective. Immediately, Carl released the frog. He began to foam at the mouth and his eyes began to water. Our little Frenchie was clearly unhappy with his decision.

How often do we make quick decisions that are not thought through and have unpleasant repercussions? How many times do we wish we could go back and redo what has been done? All of us can think of regrettable moments that we wish we could erase from our memory. If only we had a huge eraser that could take away all our regrets.

And that is exactly what happened when Jesus chose to die for us on the cross. During the hours that He hung there dying, he took each regret and gave it over to God to forgive. Jesus did this so we could move forward in our lives with humility and gratitude.

It was clear that Carl wished he hadn’t bothered the frog this morning. His eye drained all day and he slept more than he usually does. But thankfully, dogs don’t dwell on their bad decisions like humans. My guess is that tomorrow Carl will wake up ready to go out into the world and take on whatever comes into his path.

Void Spaces

Poor Carl.  He has been removed once more. First he was taken from his home where he resides as the king and taken to my daughter’s home for the week we were on vacation. After spending less than two days with her family, he was taken to doggy daycare to finish out his days until our return.

Having the luxury of cameras to give us a clear view of Carl’s actions, we witnessed his removal from the play area after an altercation with another dog. We understood the decision to send him back to his cage, but the thought of him being secluded, hurt our hearts.

Every couple of hours we would turn the app on and seek out our little dog among the others only to see void space where Carl would be. Void space can also be found in our hearts where God should reside.  Ecclesiastes 3:11 states that God has put eternity into our hearts. A space where nothing or no one can fill.

Most people strive to fill the space with things, power, or success. They will even try to occupy it with a relationship or two. But no matter how much is crammed in, it just won’t fit. Given a square won’t fit into a circle peg, anything outside of the will of God, will not fit into the space that God has placed in our hearts.

Several hours later, we turned the app on once more to see Carl wondering around the large room among the many dogs. The girl in the room seemed to have her eyes set on him to make sure he behaved. Carl even seemed cautious as he wondered around, making sure that he could stay in this space that once was void.

Pouring Courage into One Another

I walked in the door after being away for a day and Carl was there to jump up and welcome me. I admit that I love the unsolicited encouragement that both he and Bee lavish upon me, no matter how long I have been away.

Dogs are so wonderful when it comes to demonstrating their unconditional love for us humans.  Particularly when we don’t deserve it. They don’t keep a record of wrongs.  All they want is to receive a little attention and stroking of the fur and they’re good to go.

“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:13)

Wow, if we could take a lesson from our four legged friends, everyone would be in such a better place.  If every day, we could encourage (pour courage) into the ones that are closest to us, what a better world we would live in.

God’s Grace- Unanswered Prayers

Carl ran through the doggy door and made his way from room to room in search of his male companion. Little did he know that my husband went out one door as Carl was waiting for the electronic door to open for him to come inside.

Once Carl made it through the door, he was confused and was in a state of despair. But instead of dwelling on the disappointing circumstances, he settled for a good petting from me.

How often do we go through doors in our lives, with certain expectations, only to find the rooms void of what we long for? Then when we are in the space and don’t find what we hope for, we sulk or become angry with God.

Moses, in Numbers 11, was given the responsibility of leading the Israelites after they were freed from the Egyptians. He may have thought that being delivered from their enemies would have humbled these people but instead he was left with millions of complaining people. Feeling totally overwhelmed, Moses prays to God to take his life.

Moses had entered a space in his life that lacked any hope or peace. His plea to have his life taken was clearly an indication that this wasn’t where he wanted to be. God saw this and instead of answering his prayer, he gave him seventy men, filled them with his spirit, and lightened Moses’ load.

This wasn’t what Moses had asked for but thankfully, God knew what Moses needed more than he did. In the same manner, we can be praying for a specific answer to a prayer that isn’t what is best for us. So instead of sulking when life doesn’t look like we think it should, trust in the God who knows what is best for us.

As for Carl, he became content after I scratched under his ears for a minute. He then laid on the floor and rested until the sound of the opening door woke him.