Friday, March 22, 2013


24 hours of roller coasting through life, from the wonder of a gentle dog who ran with tail wagging to help read to little kids (and shower them with unconditional love) to a clearly aging dog with health problems that might mean his never getting to read, or run, or wag, or walk, or chase squirrels again; from the joy of a dog who loves to sit in his yard and ponder the great mysteries of squirreldom, to a dog lying so still, taking shallow breaths, a glazed and disoriented look in his eyes; from the tears of trying to say good-bye to a friend whose faithfulness and steadfast love mirror that of the One who created him to tears of joy and heart depth laughter over more hours and days ahead together.

What precious gifts were the e-notes, the texts, the calls, the prayers, the encouragement, the support, the love from all over the world for a "dumb animal" and those who are foolish enough to bond with him, letting him minister to them with grace and gentleness.  Gifts from people who only know him from pictures and from scraps of writing, but who know about such things as fear, loss, heartbreak, and tears.

Isn't this what community, about faith, about being people of faith is all about - this sharing, this bonding, this care? Some of the best things people of faith do is to reach out to those who are suffering; to pray for those in the valleys of doubt and who are seeking to climb the mountains of transformation; to be voices for those who no one else wants to listen to; to be advocates for all who are rejected by the world; to care about folks they will never meet this side of the kingdom as if they were their closest kin; to simply be there for others when those others just have trouble with all that life throws at them.

I feel sorry for people who do not have such a community, and even sorrier that we haven't done a better job of letting people know where they can find such folks.

© 2013 Thom M. Shuman

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