Today’s Reflection is about the sadness of a loss, and the many kind words from many strangers.
They are not even friends, for I have not met them, other than in an online forum of a topic of a mutual interest. And even there, we have not interacted directly. Yet, they just posted a message about the loss of Seiko Brown, their furry companion. And the support is pouring in already, from friends and strangers alike, and the tears are running freely, with grief and love for someone I don’t even know.
“It is an inescapable reality – to love anything or anyone is to risk loss. And a relationship with an animal carries a double-edged sword. While we enjoy the unconditional love of our animals, we know that odds are better than good that even if they enjoy a long and healthy life, we will outlive them. We accept this reality and the eventual tide of grief that accompanies it because in the moments between our first reaching out to an animal and when we finally let go, what we receive are riches beyond measure.” – Suzanne Clothier, “Bones would rain from the sky”
Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; his eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….
“For one [human] being to love another: that is perhaps the most difficult of all our tasks, the ultimate, the last test and proof, the work for which all other work is but preparation.” – Rainer Marie Rilke
“Just a Dog”
From time to time, people tell me, “lighten up, it’s just a dog.” They don’t understand the distance traveled, the time spent, for “just a dog.” Some of my proudest moments have come about with “just a dog.” Many hours have passed and my only company was “just a dog,” but I did not once feel slighted. Some of my saddest moments have been brought about by “just a dog,” and in those days of darkness, the gentle touch of “just a dog” gave me comfort and reason to overcome the day.
If you, too, think it’s “just a dog,” then you will probably understand phrases like “just a friend,” “just a sunrise,” or “just a promise.” “Just a dog” brings into my life the very essence of friendship, trust, and pure unbridled joy. “Just a dog” brings out the compassion and patience that make me a better person. Because of “just a dog” I will rise early, take long walks and look longingly to the future. So for me and folks like me, it’s not “just a dog” but an embodiment of all the hopes and dreams of the future, the fond memories of the past, and the pure joy of the moment. “Just a dog” brings out what’s good in me and diverts my thoughts away from myself and the worries of the day.
I hope that someday they can understand that it’s not “just a dog” but the thing that gives me humanity and keeps me from being “just a man.” So the next time you hear the phrase “just a dog.” just smile, because they “just don’t understand.”
“By means of all created things without exception, the divine assaults us, penetrates us and molds us.” – Teilhard de Chardin
A sunny week to you all, inside and out. I am off cuddling with Tobi. Lots.