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Points to Ponder: Lesson from a monogrammed dog

Points to Ponder
Lesson from a monogrammed dog

When I was a boy we had a monogrammed dog. She was a little brown, short-haired rat terrier. On the front of her chest was white fur in the shape of a "W." No one else I ever knew had a monogrammed dog, but it was cool that we did. Little Ginger was lively, playful, and loving.
I was only 11 years old when it happened. Ginger ran out our front door straight into the path of a car. I don't remember much else from my eleventh year of life, but I'll never forget that night, as Dad drove to the vet; fortunately he was available for emergencies. But Ginger died and I thought the world would come to an end.
Now that I have children, their desire to have pets brings back the memory of losing Ginger. When we lived in Big Pool and our kids weren't born yet, we lost a beloved cat, "Mr. Dax," to a vehicle. We cried for weeks over that. So when the girls wanted pets, I knew what would certainly come: death.
Lilly the hamster is still with us. She runs her wheel at 2 and 4am. If Americans worked out like hamsters do, health care wouldn't be the dominant issue it has become.
We then expanded our "family" with the introduction of chickens. Pet chickens. They all have names. The first few we had all died. It was quite sad. They rest in a small grave under a tree. And even a year after their sudden demise to some kind of virus, the girls still choke up just by speaking their names.
We got ten more this past year. One disappeared; fortunately we never found out how. Another, "Snowy," had disappeared last summer, but that incident ended happily. She's all white, and we followed a trail of white clumps of feathers to the open field. I would have to break the news to Joanna that Snowy had probably been taken by a hawk.
Hours later I walked by a pine tree and there she was, sleeping. I thought "Resurrection!" And boy was I glad about that. All the signs seemed to indicate she was dead; but there she was, alive and in one piece.
The day will come when they all will pass on to wherever chickens go. And Lilly too will retire from her morning workouts. Then we will face the mystery of death once again.
The idea that things end - particularly the good things - is so unsettling, isn't it? Vacations end. Play days with friends conclude at supper time. Good programs run their course and close. As do businesses, and other things in life. But death of a living thing we have loved, a pet or a person, strikes hard. Some people need counseling to get through it, to process the loss. Having pets during the childhood years brings this painful experience up close and personal.
Read the creation story in Genesis and you will notice that death is not in the original design. God created life. When Adam and Eve rebelled against the Creator, death was introduced into the created order. Adam and Eve clothed their shame-filled selves with fig leaves. But God found them and covered them with animal skins (Genesis 3:21). The first death in paradise was that of an animal.
There has been sickness, disease, and death for generations since then. Our lives are as a vapor (James 4:14), brief and here but for a short time. Our pets bring that fact home; for their lives are even shorter. We are reminded by the psalmist:
"What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his life from the power of the grave?" (Psalm 89:48)
When one of our chickens, "Cutie Pie," took ill recently, we thought she might die. After her recovery and joyful return to chickendom, I reminded our very relieved daughter that she will likely outlive all of her pets. This is how life goes. What's the point of laying out that depressing fact? Thankfulness for the moment and perspective over time.
The inevitable end we all face in death should move us to understand life - true Life at its Source. There is a sequel to this show on earth and it's actually better than the original. In fact, we can know this; and in the knowing what's ahead, we can better appreciate what we have now.
Jesus says that "he who believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and...has passed (already) from death into life." (John 5:24). That's present tense, a great lesson in truth. In Christ, we will go through death, but because of faith in Him, death cannot go through us.
A valuable life lesson; do your children know it?

Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). These articles (and sermons) are also found at Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 7:50pm, both days.

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