As the text and Facebook messages rolled in, I was not only touched, I was blown away by the compassion and concern and the prayers. I found myself responding to their “How are you doing?” inquiries with, “I’m just easing my way into my new normal.” They seemed to understand. And it meant a lot to me that they did.
I mean, after all, to some folks, (I can only imagine) they were probably thinking, “Gosh, it’s just a dog!” But to me, my Judgers, The Judge, Sweet Baby J, had been in my home for a third of my life! I had never been in this current house without him. And I had only slept there two or three nights total without him by my side. Nights when I couldn’t get to the kennel in time after a late flight home.
The days I had with my furry friend meant more than I could ever express in words. I pondered. I would never see his face at the french doors waiting for me again, the curtains swishing back and forth due to the movement of his happy body upon seeing me drive in. I would never hear that sweet bark that announced to the neighborhood, “She’s home!!!!!” Now, when I reach to turn out the light, he is no longer stretched out along the floor by my bed or curled up on his big pillow. When I awake, he’s not there to yawn and greet me (before we both stumbled down the hall and into the kitchen). The hardest part has been not having him by my side during my morning coffee and prayer time. Each morning when I hit that particular line in my prayer book, I’d reach over, grab his tail and pray out loud, “and health, healing and long life to The J.” I guess my prayers were answered…he did after all make it to 13 years and 9 months. Not bad for a 100 pound dog. But never long enough to a pet owner.
In a way, I guess it’s a small connection to what it must have been like for the disciples when Jesus finally left them. Once and for all. It was never how they expected it to end. They were all too young! How could this have happened?! While in shock, they found themselves having to navigate, or better yet, ease their way into their “new normal”. When you’ve been through a tragedy, or experience pain or loss, it just takes some time.
Interestingly, Jesus didn’t give The 12 that much time to make the transition. They were actually up and running pretty fast. We’ll hear more about that in the days ahead. Stay tuned.
In the meantime, just know that I personally am easing my way…after Sweet Baby J.