But that loaded phrase has been a song of its own in my heart and mind these past few days. A token of grace and a good word of God’s love poured out through other people.
You aren’t really strangers, of course. Some of you heard of our grief first-hand. Some of you literally rolled up your sleeves and bore our burden with us. Some of you are a smiling face behind a stream of regular comments. But every one of you has given me the relief that we humans are always gasping after: the knowledge that we’re not alone. And the fact that you care–so deeply–and that you take the time to tell me is really just amazing. I’ve gone through your words with tears in my eyes–messages, comments, emails. I’ve read the poems you’ve suggested and I’ve cherished the Scriptures and quotes. And I’ve admired the love you bear towards your own friendly beasts. I thought I would just duck my head into the comments and tell you there what your kindness has meant. But I decided it deserved a post of its own.
So thank you. Thank you for revering my sorrow. It isn’t popular to grieve over an animal, at least not according to the dictates of smug-faced pop-theology that assumes everything’s all figured out and every mystery accounted for. I know–you know–there’s more to it than a set of rules (acceptable grieving being among them) and a bunch of closed doors with nothing on the other side. I have been thinking long thoughts along these lines; perhaps they will germinate into a post.
But I wanted you to know what your kindness has meant, and not just on this occasion. Kipling said it so well: “We give our hearts to dogs to tear.” And to cats, I might add. And goats and sheep and chickens. And what a privilege it is to be thus torn. I’d not go through life whole, without such precious scars, for all the world.