“Goodbye, Nolie. Goodbye, Buddy.”
Whispers in his ear, “You are a good dog!”
Tears dripping on his beard, I try to speak, “Thank you for walking innumerable miles at my side. Thank you for protecting me from everything that smelled of harm.”
One last paw at my hand to stroke his neck, “You can go now. Nolie, I release you to rest. You’ve fulfilled your loyal position with honor and I release you to rest. You’re a good boy!”
These are all the things I said to our 11 year old terrier on this past Monday as we sat with him. He was leaving us for eternity. His sister, Liberty, lay next to him, as has been her style every day for all the years of their lives. And when he was gone, she sat up, and turned away. She had said her goodbye.
It’s hard to say goodbye to one who has given and received love in a bond of trust. When we choose to open our hearts, we choose the opportunity to be sad, hurt, angry, and grieved. It is true, when we allow ourselves to give and receive in relationship, we agree to, one day, say goodbye.
I believe we were never meant to leave each other or to say goodbye. Goodbye became broken beauty when Satan pridefully sought a position above his Creator. God commanded he and his dark legion out of the Creator’s perfect Kingdom. And now, goodbye is a certain part of our fallen lives.
Many will say, “See, this is why I will never have a pet.” You’re right, it’s just too sad, and too painful to have to say goodbye. But to never choose to love, in an effort to avoid pain, is to forfeit all the greatest joys of relationship.
As for me, I believe God loves His creation, and I believe God created dogs. If Jesus is returning on a white steed then I know there are animals in heaven. I believe our loyal Nole is standing tall, chasing squirrels and enjoying the good pleasure of our King. “He’s a good boy,” I whisper still.
Goodbye? Well, it’s easier to write about saying goodbye to a dearly loved pet. However, Jesus loves parables. Dogs are the parables He sent to live with us so we could catch a glimpse of unconditional love, loyalty and forgiveness.
Goodbyes are inevitable. But when it’s time to leave and say goodbye, to have lives & memories gathered with smiles through tears, this is priceless!
Teary Eyes on Jesus and Shine,
Goodbye was written in participation with Kate Motaung and her lovely band of Five Minute Friday faith writers. I also wrote Goodbye as a part of my Therapeutic Thursday on my Facebook page Writing and Learning