It is Sunday afternoon. Just enough chill in the air to claim that it is winter in the southeast. I last wrote to you about my sweet Scottie, Lily, and her recent passing. My brother Jeff and I just buried her ashes at Daddy’s Elk Lodge. I have never been part of a cremation process (suppose that is a good thing). For those not familiar with the process, did you know that the funeral home contained her ashes in a plastic clear bag with ID? Her paw print was stamped onto a card. Hair clippings were in a smaller flat clear bag with her name on it. Everything was carefully placed into a small wooden box with her leather collar that has been by my bed for two weeks. You may recall that I mentioned her pearl collar was lost in the accident.
Daddy is fishing on his lake and has caught two bass. My “foster” chocolate lab/red bone coon mix for the last six years, Abbey, and “last” dog of the original three, is resting peacefully after running around recapturing all the familiar smells since we were last here. This visit may bring her more joy than it does me as she frolics about seeking her own adventures.
Your kind words through notes, cards, texts, calls and emails have been extremely comforting ... even the pictures of your beautiful canine companions. I often wonder if anyone reads my column - and, if upon reading, readers have gleaned any nuggets worth harvesting. Your sincere and warm expressions have blessed me beyond measure. Because I can be over-focused when I write, I often take off and tend to go way over my allotted word count. The following paragraph is something I wrote to share with you in my last column but since it was rather lengthy, am only able to do so now.
Several of you wrote to me after I penned a tribute to Raleigh last October upon his passing and believe that animals do go to heaven as well. You inquired from where in the Bible I found those references. Scripture does reveal that animals go to heaven and therefore I believe that all my Scotties will be there. According to the King James version of the Bible when describing the creation story in Genesis 1:21, “So God created the great sea monsters and every nephesh chaya that moves, of every kind.” Further, in 1:24 God said, “Let the earth bring forth nephesh chaya of every kind; cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.” In Hebrew, nephesh chaya means soul. II Kings 2:11 mentions horses when Elijah went up into heaven with them and the book of Revelation describes animals in heaven to the author John. Perhaps this clarifies and helps you.
As part of my grieving process, I saw the new movie “A Dog’s Purpose” with six fellow house directors. I liked the movie though tears streamed down my face from opening through closing credits. The soundtrack was great and included a catchy new (to me) song by Walk Off the Earth called “Home We’ll Go.” Loved it! Thought of all my Scotties through the music ~ composition and lyrics. However, I believe that fully being in the now ~ hearing nothing except God’s world as Abbey lies at my feet while I write with His perfect living nature surrounding me ~ is the best medicine for the grief I have yet to completely shake. Good for the soul. Strengthens the heart. Relaxes the mind. Warms my being. Comforts my grief.
Another blessing that I have experienced is that of being a house director at the University of Georgia. The position has thrown me into the deep water of a pool with instant friends among the other house moms. We have a great time together and recently saw the Gym Dawgs beat Arkansas. I was very impressed by the strength, agility, balance and focus the young athletes perform. When I was in school here, I decided to take gym as one of my P.E. requirements. Being a college athlete myself, I thought it would be easy as I had made As in the previous five P.E. classes. NOT! “I was terrible!” is an understatement. Fortunately, I had the wherewithal to realize that, at 5-feet-10, gym was more conducive for shorter athletes with the special talent of being able to control their bodies. My limbs just got in the way on the floor mats, double bars and horse. It was much easier for me on the basketball and tennis courts. So, I dropped that class and signed up for square dancing. What fun it was ~ as most of the classmates were cute ball players and I earned an ‘A’ to keep the honor roll within my physical education classes … not quite the same with all my other classes.
Whether you were, are or are not an athlete, God gave us all skills with which to excel. Please share them. Everyone needs you to share your talents to make each of us better. And, whether or not you do believe that pets and animals go to heaven, they are in your charge so please take advantage of the gift God gave you while they are here. They do offer glimpses of heaven on earth with their devoted attention, loyalty and unconditional love despite how we act or what we look like when we first rise each morning.
‘Til next month, I am ~
Susan E. Kendrick is a Sunday Stories columnist who shares her insights and Southern humor each month in Sincerely, Susan. To correspond with Susan, email her at [email protected] To share your events for our Out & About calendar, email us at [email protected]