Tuesday, November 12, 2013

When Death Comes Near


Today one of our dogs came close to death.  Or maybe it was death that came close to him.  Either way, it was not comfortable.  It seemed like one minute our Cody was okay, and the next he was whining in pain and trying and trying (and failing) to vomit.  Within a half hour we had him at the vet; in another hour he was undergoing major abdominal surgery for bloat

He could have died.  He still might die.  Nothing is certain, although we are hopeful.  He really is the best snuggler.

Throughout the day, as we waited (and waited...) for news of Cody's condition, it was interesting to note my reactions to the situation.  Because I had two, and they were quite distinct, and also familiar.

The first was anger.  I was mad.  Mad.  A pessimistic mantra of f*ck you, life, f*ck you, life ran through my head like a cadence more than a few times.

The other was -- well, I'm not sure what label to put on it.  Faith?  Prayer?  Brokenness (the good kind, that points toward the Holy)?  All I know is that I lay myself face down on our living room floor after I put our son down for the night, words failing.  I felt like I was tugging at the hem of God's robe -- are you there?  do you see all this mess?  please see.  please care.

And these two states are familiar.  Excruciatingly so.  Because I think they are largely how I've handled Eve's death -- either stiffing-arming God, or folding myself into Him (or trying to).

Eve's birthday is coming up fast.  In about a week, it will have been two years.  Two years.  Two years that feel like nothing, no time at all, and that are everything.  And to have death stalk close again during a season when it pressed close before and did not leave without taking such a precious someone with it?  It's hard, and it feels unfair.  It feels like being kicked when my knees are already bloody against the pavement. 

All day today, as I tried to prepare myself for the very real possibility of having to say goodbye to Cody, flashbacks to our few hours with Eve kept slipping in.  It's strange how close her memory is when all of who she is that matters is so far away. 

I have nothing more to say.  I am processing out loud here (again) (as usual).  Cody comes home tomorrow afternoon if all is well, and we should know within a few days if the surgery is a success. 

(I will tell you this, though: I am tired of thrashing, of wrestling with God, of trying to get to the bottom of me and what I believe and why.  I am exhausted.  Life feels heavy these days, even before Cody's emergency.  I want to stop, to take off my wrestling belt, go back to when everything was easy. 

(But not really.  There's too much at stake, and I won't put myself and my God back into a too-small box.  I just need a bit of a breather.  God, come near enough that I can feel you and see you and smell you?)   

Cody pondering


  1. God, come close enough that I can smell you.

    this is incredible. this is amazing. this is raw and dirty and painful and grieving.

    this is selah.

  2. This is so raw and so very beautiful. Deep, honest, gut-wrenching lament is the only way I have learned to struggle through loss after loss especially when there is nothing left to do. Your post reminds me of the end of Psalm 88 (the only lament psalm that doesn't end with praise). Specifically I am recalling verses 13-18. I memorized it for class the week after my dad passed away in January. Typically the morning is when God normally shows up for the psalmist and yet in this psalm, the prayer isn't answered and the attacks don't stop when dawn comes. God doesn't seem to be acting like the God the psalmist knows. The psalmist is angry and asking sarcastic, rhetorical questions.' If you kill me can I still praise you?!' the psalmist roars in anger. It is a desperate, worn out plea from one who has survived constant, overbearing attacks. Somehow knowing that I am not the only one to feel this way both validated my feelings. It showed me that we have a deep multifaceted faith when I allowed this kind of lament to spill from our lips. The anger and pleas are not for those of little faith. Lament is oh so brave and audacious. Keep holding God up to God's standards.. Joining you in prayer for God to tangibly reveal Godself to you in these days amidst these emotions.

  3. Here. Reading. Caring. Thrashing for...your November.

  4. I wish that we could sit in the same room together, yelling and crying together at the things the world throws at us. It’s not fair. It stinks. It’s a frickin’ roller coaster! I lost my first loved one when I was 24…my daddy, then 2 months later my gramps. 20 years later I lost my older brother, then my gramma. In between all that, I’ve lost 18 beloved pets, the last one being 4 weeks ago. And, with everything else going on in my not-so-secure life, losing Slick just made me ANGRY and hysterical. My sobbing included “how much more of this life shit do I have to DOOOOOOO!!!!” The answer, for me, is “all of it”. Because every heart breaking, raw, pain stakingly beautiful step is leading me closer to a peace that passes all understanding. Because there’s more than the crappy dirty heart breaking inconsolable mess that comes our way… there’s Jesus. And He is near, He hurts when we hurt (remember how He cried for Lazareth?), He does care about every single thing that happens to each of us. Every. Single. Thing. I’m so sorry you are wrestling with everything. I hope you never wrestle with His Truth: that He made you for Himself, that He loves you and wants to be Everything for you. I think if you always hold on to that, no matter what else you question and rail against, He will eventually show you what you need to know. And it will be awesome.

    Holding on with you my dear friend.

  5. Your words are beautiful and paining. They stuck with me all day. I do not know you but I want to give you a big hug and help you to feel better.


"I am glad you are here with me."
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King