We really looked forward to this weekend … our first weekend in many weeks when there was nothing scheduled. Recently, we’d moved our oldest into a new apartment while she finishes college. We’d moved our middle child into her first dorm room at a different college. We’d gone to tennis tournaments while supporting our youngest child. We’d been deeply embroiled in grief and the business that surrounds a death in the immediate family. We’d been preparing for and enduring the growing pains and anxiety and busyness of going back to school, two out of three of which were new schools for our kids. We’d weathered bad news after more bad news after still more bad news. But this weekend, we looked optimistically toward an opportunity for rest.
But then a fresh crisis emerged. Friday afternoon, we learned that our precious first pet, our sweet lapdog Emily, has liver cancer and is dying. She doesn’t have months. If we’re lucky she has a couple of weeks. Most likely, she has days.
Calls were made and tears were shed and our newly-minted college freshman took the news the hardest. We agreed to meet her halfway in-between her college town and our hometown on Saturday, so she could spend some time loving on her dog, just in case it was her last chance to do so.
It was all too hard, though. The idea of traveling back to her dorm in an unfamiliar city with unfamiliar people she is living with and being alone in her room while others went out to have Saturday night fun just seemed impossible. So, she followed us home for the night. We talked. We cuddled. We watched funny shows on TV. We talked about our feelings and our God questions and our grief. We discussed the importance of finding God’s blessings in the midst of all this pain, and in His ability to bring good out of every situation. We held our sweet dog and petted her until she fell asleep.
That night we all slept, comfortable and safe in one another’s presence in our home. This morning we awoke to the Verse of the Day on our phones. It was the same verse we recited last night:
After our sweet girl kissed her pup, mustered her courage, and headed back to school, I cried in my husband’s arms and lamented, saying, “I just wish life would get a little easier for all of us. When is this awful season going to end? It’s about to get even harder!”
And within the next 10 minutes in our home, my husband, my son, and I all discovered hearts from God all over our house. One after the next after the next. Our own little signs that God sees us and loves us. We were not just safe in one another’s presence last night … we were safe in His presence. We are always in His presence. Thank God we are not alone.