Wednesday, March 21, 2007

A Time to Speak

Hello friends,

Today has been one of those days that middle aged women often have, where the blood sugar and the blood pressure seem at war. I hate these days. I want to get busy. But I've been given this day to think, to ponder, and to share.

I want to share with you stories of some special souls that God has given to me. These are souls without a voice, unless I listen with my eyes, and with all of my heart. One precious soul you have met, if you have looked at his pictures above and below, my Happy Dog. He is the dog of my life, nine years old and still keeping his watch over me. The perfect heat seeking missile, he's under a blanket nearby.

Happy's voice says, "Mama, stay within sight; take me everywhere; and I will die for you." It's as simple as that. He would die for me. I know his voice, his real voice, that comes from his heart. There is no conflict; no wondering if he can slide by without honor; just one He has been by my side every day of his life, and he lives for me.

Then there is Jessie. He was supposed to be smaller. Much smaller. He is very big. He is very sensitive. He is often very scared. He's afraid of feet with shoes, scraps of paper, the T.V. remote, and the computer modem. He has a history that makes him so. He adores my husband, and he needs a lot of gentle reassurance from me. He is safe here. We will not let anyone harm him, including ourselves. He can be very fierce to outsiders. God help the person who ever tries to break into our house.

Peanut. Helen's little Pomeranian princess. Sassy. Bold. Funny and devoted. She is the youngest, and she has stolen all of our hearts. How could that happen when we were so unsuspecting?

Morgan. The Queen Mum. (No disrespect to the British) She just is. She is the oldest. She is fourteen years old. 85 in people years. She has given so much. Frail, now, I can still remember her standing in the river, desperately looking for a stray fish, and running through the meadow with such abandon. The Alpha female, always in charge, now the other dogs still defer to her, and I wish I could hear the patterns of their voices, saying, "Yes, your Majesty, you still rule in our hearts."

MeowMeow. The cat who never stops talking. An outdoor cat simply because she loves me so much she relieves herself on my pillow. Talking and going to the bathroom on my pillow. Along with eating those are MeowMeow's ways of saying "I love you." And she does. She loves me, and she follows me around the yard, wherever I go. She is precious, and she speaks to me, constantly. She makes my heart just ache, because I know she forgives me for the outside. Besides she loves the butterflies, and the mouse who shares her bed, and the birds who share their water. MeowMeow is like no other cat.

But there is one voice whom we will never hear from again. A little white and gray, calico Manx, who worshipped no one except our daughter, Helen. Snoopy would wait on the fireplace mantle (it was her spot), until Helen came back from college. Almost seeming not to care, at first, she would fly off the mantle and into Helen's arms, as she sat down. Helen would catch up on old times, and Snoopy would lower her ears and close her eyes for a good stroking. Snoopy loved Helen, and it was magic to watch.

How Snoopy got out of the house is irrelevant, but she did, and she ran, and ran, and ran, and no one could catch her. It was only later that we realized that she was looking for Helen. The neighborhood dogs, you don't want to know about; and six inches of rain the next day made it impossible for Happy Dog to follow her trail. No amount of advertisements or going house to house could find her. She was gone from our house forever, but never from our hearts.

I guess the point of this is that animals can't say what they want. They can't tell you they are thirsty, or as in Snoopy's case, a withering look and an adamant, "there's a hair in the water." Animals have no voice, or so I've heard; but they will speak, and they do, if we listen, with our eyes, with our hearts, and with our souls. And if we let them, they will change our lives forever.

Their time with us is so short. Morgan, fourteen, where every hug good-night, may mean "good-bye." Jessie, the large dog, who is seven, 54 years old. Large dogs age more quickly, and good-bye comes too soon. Peanut. Precious and pretty. So young, yet time passes swiftly. I know, because it seems like yesterday that I brought my tiny dachshund home, cradling him in the palm of my hand. Nine years old, and not in the best of health, still standing guard and ready to die for me.

I am not ready to say good-bye; but it will come, and I know it. So perhaps God sends these precious creatures into our lives, so that we will understand His grace; so that we will learn how to love; how to cherish; and how to change. We don't have much longer to change, but we can do it if we want to. Perhaps if we listen to the animals speak, they will teach us how.

With love,

Email Jaye