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Beginning again, more thankful

Everybody does it. Taking a break is part of life. Perhaps part of the human condition.

  • Baseball takes the all star break
  • Football takes, um, halftime
  • Basketball coaches take time outs
  • Hockey, well, I think there is time off after the Stanley Cup
  • Kids and their teachers take the summers off
  • Employees get weekends
  • Families take vacations

Time away is rest, relief, recovery. But getting started again, now that’s the hard part. Because time off changes you. Especially when the break is final.

On June 11th I said goodbye to Rosy, my sweet golden companion of 14 years. Exactly 14 years. June 11th was her birthday. We worked day and night to get her to that day. Tried everything we knew to keep her going. Then, on June 11th, 2013, she was perfect. All she came to earth for was completed. Now she is new, but she is not here.

Every now and then someone comes into your life that changes you. It may be a dog. Rosy was that dog. The question is, How do I begin again?

I’ve read an expression that helps.

Don’t be sorry they’re gone. Be thankful they lived.

Today, I begin again in light of that thanks. Rosy, you impossible, wonderful, miraculous soul, you were one of God’s best ideas and my dear, dear friend. The “clearance puppy” we didn’t return. The one with the spunk, unfazed by Ranger, the gigantic husky who was your adopted brother, and tolerant of Silver, the new brother who would become your constant companion. You never knew you were “handicapped” because we never told you. You just adapted your way through life, literally taking it all in stride, wagging and wobbling on the way.

Thank you for all you were to us. I am glad to picture you now, running happily in heavenly fields. Perhaps chasing (and retrieving) the ball that on earth you could never chase. An eternal game of catch. Playing with all the other heavenly souls. If I had any doubt about where I would find you, your brother Silver is making me believe. He is here on his bed, running and wagging and dog-mumbling (perhaps speaking in heavenly tongues?) in his sleep. He is obviously very glad to see someone. I bet it is you. Because it would be just like you, knowing he misses you, to come to him. Comforting others is how you lived and how you loved. A love like that never ends.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. ~ 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Farewell, dear Rosy. You lived well. You loved perfectly. And now I give you back to Love.

Keeping My Eye on the Ball

There’s a picture in my high school year book, senior year, of me connecting bat to softball. I am recorded for the ages in my blue and white Sherwood Warriors uniform, applying a mighty swing. The funny thing is, I am not looking at the ball. I am looking off into center field where I hope to hit it. The caption reads, “Wendy Rilling taps ball in front of plate.”

Yep. I think I beat that one out for a single, but it was not one of my better at bats. In fact, by high school, I didn’t have “the feel” for hitting like I did when I was a bit younger. Curiously, this photo probably holds the answer to why…I was trying to hit by feel, not by sight.

I guess I have always been kinesthetic, probably made that way. But I wonder how often this prohibits me from really succeeding. What if I truly attended to the thing I was doing?  If I trained my eyes on the one thing in my hands. And wasn’t so often looking into the distance to see what might become of my effort. What if I just gave the day its day? the moment its moment?

Two hands and both eyes trained on what the Lord requires of me right now.

I know the Bible says we’re supposed to walk by faith and not sight, but blind faith – at least for me – is not usually a good combination.


Here’s Rosy in her bath:

Rosy enjoying a rinse

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