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Friday, May 17, 2013

Everything Is Going To Be Okay

Tippy, my 13-year-old beagle, is getting whiny in her old age.  She's never liked to be alone.  Wherever the people are, that's where she wants to be.  No matter if that's the kitchen, the bedroom or yes, even the bathroom.  She's not really all that sociable; she just doesn't like to be left alone.

As she's aged, however, she's become less mobile.  Her joints have stiffened.  Her muscles have weakened.  Overall, she just doesn't move as well as she used to.  This has made it particularly difficult for her to get up and down from the couch, and she's never been able to get on the bed by herself.  So when we leave a room, heaven help us all if we don't pick her up (or at least get her down) to go with us. 

Within a few minutes of leaving the room, we'll hear the first whimper.  This is quickly followed by another, a little louder and with a good bit more vehemence.  If that summons doesn't bring us to action soon enough, she'll break out the big guns.  You've never heard whines like the ones that can come from that little dog.  Passersby probably think she's being tortured.  It's downright pitiful.

As soon as one of us comes back to her or simply pokes a head in the room so that she knows we're there, she quiets down.  But as soon as we leave, she starts all over again.  This becomes most trying when I'm fixing dinner.  I prefer her to not be in the kitchen when I'm cooking because she doesn't understand how to stay out of the way, and most of the time, I end up stepping on her at least once during the process (which creates a totally new whine).  But the alternative is to listen to her cry from the living room because she can't see me, and she doesn't want to be alone.

I've found the best solution is to leave her on the couch and then to take breaks from my time in the kitchen.  I'll stop occasionally, go out and sit beside her on the couch.  As I stroke her fur, I try to soothe her with comforting words, usually something along the lines of "It's okay.  I'm right here.  You're not alone.  Everything's gonna be just fine."  After a few minutes, I go back to the kitchen, and when the whining becomes too incessant, I return to her side and offer my soothing words.  It's not the perfect solution, but it generally allows me to finish dinner without too much drama.

As I sat calming her a few days ago, my soothing words echoed in my ears and bounced around my brain.  At that particular moment, I felt like I needed calming more than Tippy did.  I was frustrated, overwhelmed, discouraged and downright frazzled.  But worse than that, I felt alone.  Did you know it's possible to feel alone even when you're surrounded by others?  You may not be alone, but you can certainly feel alone.  And I did.

I had spent the past week of trials and turmoil wondering where God had gone.  He was there, and then suddenly, it seemed that He was gone.  I couldn't see Him.  I couldn't hear Him.  I couldn't feel His presence.  And in His absence, I felt so alone.

But as I soothed Tippy, I knew the words were not my own.  I knew they weren't coming from me but rather that they were meant for me.  There and then, God spoke to my heart in His still, small voice,  "It's okay.  I'm right here.  You're not alone.  Everything's gonna be just fine."  And you know what?  He was right.  Did all my trials go away?  No, they're still here.  Did He work a miracle in my life?  Well, sort of.  What He did was remind me that I wasn't alone.  And His presence reinforced what my heart already knew--that He would never leave me.  Not even for a moment.

No matter what you're facing today, Jesus will face it with you.  You're not alone.  You have a Friend.  And He will never, ever leave you.  That's a fact!

Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. - Isaiah 41:10

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