Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Art of Loving Well

Last week was a tough week. I'd looked forward to it as a bittersweet week for some time, because my 5th grader was graduating to middle school, my 8th grader to high school, and my niece graduating high school. LOTS of milestones going on.

Well, we started the week with the stomach flu blasting through our house. Poor Lacy had to miss her 5th grade promotion and picnic, which is a BIG deal at their school. We made it to Karalynn's 8th grade promotion but within an hour of coming home, she got sick as well.

We also started our week off on Monday with a new PUPPY as I mentioned last week. We were so excited to welcome sweet Whitney into our home.

But Whitney came to us with a bit of a goopy eye. We took her to the vet on Tuesday and they said it was an eye infection. Treatment, while a little costly, was just an antibiotic and some eye ointment. I can do that!

Unfortunately, while she rebounded a little on Wednesday, her eyes got worse through the week and then Thursday, she barely ate and wouldn't get up and play at all. She was a very sick puppy. We took her back to the vet on Friday where they gave us some horrible news.

Sweet Whitney had a virus, and while we could put her in the doggy hospital (and the ICU section of it...) and give her fluids and anti-viral medicine, the cost was much more than we had, and they didn't really advise it, as they felt her chances of survival even with that were very slim.

We made the very hard choice to put her to sleep :-(

I brought Whitney home one last time so we could say our goodbyes. My girls and  I sat on our entryway floor and cried and loved on Whitney one last time. It was just beyond sad.

I'll be honest. I had two very strong feelings running through me.

One... guilt. I had chosen to take Whitney into our home even though I knew something was wrong with her. While I thought it was a simple eye infection at the time, my choice led to my children's hearts being broken. As a mommy, knowing a choice you made hurt your children so deeply is difficult to bear.

Two... anger. At God. We'd prayed for a long time about the timing of bringing another puppy into our home. This was the first time it felt "right" and good. We knew it wasn't going to be easy, but Scott and I both view this as a "need" for our kids. My eldest dreams of owning a no-kill animal shelter when she is grown. My kids were SO very hurt when we had to say goodbye to our last dog after Annabelle came home. We were finally to an emotional point where we could "handle" a dog again in our family. So how in the world could God let us FINALLY bring home a puppy only to cause her to get so sick and take her from us??? How could God knowing inflict so much pain on my children when they've already gone through SO much these last years?

That day, I questioned a lot of things. I'd prayed for Whitney, asked others to pray, and it seemed like lately with all the bad stuff happening, all my prayers were being laughed at and spit back at me, having the exact opposite results. I even laughingly wondered if maybe I needed to STOP praying all together, or pray for the OPPOSITE to happen.

Yeah, not good ideas.

I let myself sit in that place of frustrating and anger for a small while. Honestly, I think I needed to be honest with God about my feelings. Sometimes I try to "fake" God out in my prayers by saying what I think HE wants me to say instead of the things I am feeling. So it was a moment of honesty between me and God.

But after I got through that moment, God showed me a few thins.

The biggest thing was extreme thankfulness for my children. They had spent the last 4 days doing a phenomenal job of loving our little puppy well. Even when they were sick, they still loved on her. Even when they were busy, they tried to make her better. They played with her, took care of her food/water, Karalynn took her "nights" and took her potty when she whined.

While our time with sweet Whitney was short, she was LOVED WELL by 4 amazing children for her last 4 days alive, a time when she was sick and not feeling well, a time when she really, really needed to be loved well.

I don't know why God didn't choose to heal her. But I know very certain why God chose our family to love on a sweet puppy who needed special loving for those four days. He knew that there would be no other family who would love Whitney as well as she needed to be loved those last four days.

I think it's a good reminder, too, that none of us are promised a tomorrow. Each day, whether human or canine, is a gift and we can choose how we live it.

Will we live it in anger or bitterness?
Or will we choose to live in by loving others well and showing God's love, no matter the cost?



3 comments:

Linda said...

That is tough. I hate having to make decisions like that. And especially when you have children looking on. But I'm sure you did the right thing. And I love the way you are looking at the experience and what you are learning from it. With you leading the way, I'm sure your children will be learning as well. Even this sad situation can have some good come out of it.

Beverley Baird said...

What a horrible decision you had to make. But in love you did what had to be done. What a lovely post - and one to make us all think. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Your post had me in tears. So sorry that you and your family had to go through that. Great perspective on the situation though. God bless you and your family