22 August 2009

In response to "Mysterious Ways"

Josh Graves, soon to be ex-minister guy at my home church (he didn't do anything bad, he's just going down south to work with another church) and his wife had a baby boy right about the time Mollie was born. I put photos of Mollie on Facebook and there were first photos of Lucas just put up, too. It's been fun to watch them both grow these past 16 weeks (16 weeks!).

Anyway, Josh mentioned something in his blog post "Mysterious Ways" about feeling sad about the fraility of life when he watches his son, and I wrote this huge comment in response. I cried while writing it. Anyway, here's the bit of his post:

When I catch myself staring at Lucas (which happens a lot), I can't help, at times, but feel a deep sadness come over me. Don't get me wrong, I love every moment of fatherhood. Especially the ones where I'm exhausted, he's crying and then, all of a sudden, he stops, pauses, and smiles at me. Yes, he's now old enough that I can say, with full biological confidence, he's smiling (it's not just 'gas' anymore).

The sadness comes from knowing how temporary (frail, the poet Shelley would write) life is. Lucas will be 18 before I can say "Gerber baby food." I'm going to wake up one morning and realize I am not nearly as young as I perceive myself to be.

And my response:

I think I know how you feel about the sadness of watching Lucas (who is super adorable in Kara's rolling-over video by the way). Right about the time Lucas was born, our dog had puppies and one of them was mine from the moment I saw her. She'll be 16 weeks this Sunday. I love taking her outside, throwing sticks for her to retrieve, cuddling together on the couch during a movie, hearing her jarring pitter-patter as she climbs the stairs to my room, the tinkling of her collar tags when she comes to me after I call her, days like today when she's big enough to graduate to an "adult" collar, and even when I have to scold her for chewing the couch instead of her chewies, and all those "mistakes" in the house because I know that she's going to grow up to be a wonderfully behaved dog because i've taught her right from wrong.

There are some moments, however, when she looks up at me first thing in the morning when she wants to go out and I know that one day she's not going to be there looking up at me. There might be days when I have to carry her down the stairs, and days when she can't wait even that long and won't have control over herself. There might be days when I have to hand feed her again like I did as a tiny puppy, days when she won't be strong enough to lift her head and drink water. I'm dreading those days. Just thinking about losing Mollie and i'm reduced to tears and longing for her to be beside me (even though I can hear her at the bottom of the steps playing with her squeaky toy and I know she's alright.)

The great thing about you and lucas is that, Lord willing, you won't have to see him decline in health, and can expect him to outlive you by many years. You'll have that assurance that you've raised him to be the best man that he can be and he will uphold the name of Graves after you are gone.

With Mollie, I can't expect her to live much past 15 years. There will be a day when she won't be there to wag her tail at me when I come home. This saddens me beyond anything I have ever felt. One day, Mollie will die. But the thing is, that when she does, i'll be right there beside her, calling her my Pup-O, as she begins her next great adventure, knowing that i've given her the best life that I possibly could.

I will have lived another third of my life by then but I hope that in providing for Mollie that I will have become a better and more compassionate person because of her. That's the best I can hope for.

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