Why Does Loss Happen?

Why does God let us hurt? Why does He bring us people or animals to love when He knows we’re going to lose them?

Maybe because we don’t love people or animals simply because we’re going to have them forever. We love them because loving them changes us. It makes us better, kinder, healthier, more real. Even if people leave us, or animals die, loving them still makes us better.

So we keep loving. Even though we’re going to lose. Because loving teaches us and changes us, and that’s what we’re here to do. We’re here to become better lovers and to learn how to be loved. So when we get to heaven, we’ll be prepared for the place where everyone loves each other perfectly.

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A Rescue Dog Story

My beloved dog, Ziggy, passed away in a tragic accident on August 6, 2017. One of my good friends suggested that I write a letter to myself from Ziggy as a way to further my healing process from this loss. Writing the letter was so therapeutic for me. I decided to turn it into a video. You can watch the video here and read the letter below:

I don’t know why you picked me up that day. But I’m sure glad you did.

I was pretty scared at first, I hadn’t had the best experience with humans before you.

But you were different. I’d never had anyone talk to me like you did. I could hear the love in your voice.

I liked when you taught me words so we could communicate better. I know that made you really happy.

I liked having buddy around too. He seemed like he knew what he was doing so I tried to copy him as best I could. He was a good older brother for me.

I loved running in your dad’s backyard and at the park. I never knew belonging to someone could feel so free.

We really had a lot of fun together. Exploring, hiking, and traveling. It’s crazy how we liked to do all the same things. Like we were made for eachother.

I’d go anywhere with you. I finally felt like I could enjoy myself. You made the world a lot less scary.

I loved making friends with all the dogs in your neighborhood. I could’ve played with them all day.

But I loved playing with you and Matt the most.

I know you think Matt was your boyfriend, but let’s be honest, it’s obvious he was mine. Not that I’m trying to make you jealous or anything. Those yellow and orange balls he’d throw for me brought me joy like I’d never known.

I’m glad you kept buying them when I’d get too excited and tear them apart.

By the way, I’m sorry I tore up stuff in your house. I didn’t know what to do with myself when you’d leave. I always tried to play with buddy but he didn’t want to play with me. I was just trying to show him how much fun we could be having.

I tried not to do it as much once I saw how it upset you.

I always hated seeing you upset.

I hope you aren’t too upset that I got out that day.

I thought it was going to be like that time when you and buddy went for a walk and left me behind. Remember how I got out of your car on my own and chased y’all down? I was really proud of myself. I know you were a little mad at me but I could tell you thought it was cute. I thought it’d be like that.

I realized I’d made a mistake when I got to the highway. I started to panic and then everything went black.

While I was sleeping, I talked to God. I told him I wanted to go back to you because I really liked our life together. But He told me you have other things He wants you to do, that don’t involve me.

He promised I’d get to see you again. He told me there were angels who would throw the ball for me, endless fields to run in, and other dogs to play with here. That’s when I decided I wanted to stay with Him.

I hope you’re not too upset. You made me really happy and that’s all I want for you. I think you’re going to love whatever God has planned, He’s really good at keeping promises.

Dragonfly (A Poem)

Dragonfly.
He says, “I hope you’re doing better
then the day the good Lord called me up.
You’ll be alright.
I’m at peace. I’ve joined forever.
You’re gonna love it here.

dragonfly

I never left you.
No, you were never left behind.
See, now I’m always by your side.”
Love,
Dragonfly.

Why Independence is Over Valued in Our Culture

Our culture puts too much value on independence. The truth is, to be truly independent, is to be alone.

Some call this strength, but really it’s often laziness. As humans, we’re designed to need other people. To believe that you can go at this world alone is like setting your soul down on a couch, never allowing it to exercise.

See, if you spend enough time alone, it soon becomes very hard to be around other people. You begin to think that the world belongs to you- that all space is your space and all time is your time.

You become so used to being able to daydream and keep yourself company, that other people are merely an intrusion. And this is terribly unhealthy.

God doesn’t want us floating through life alone, or sitting in front of our computers. He doesn’t want our lives to play out like a movie called Independence. He wants us interacting- laughing together, praying together, eating together…

If loving other people is a bit of heaven, then surely isolation is a bit of hell. While we’re on Earth, we get to decide in which state we would like to live.

Presence (A Poem Inspired by Ecclesiastes 3)

A time to be born
A time to die
A time to laugh
A time to cry
A time to love
A time to hate
A time to start
A time to wait
A time to keep quiet
A time to speak out
A time to grieve and mourn
A time to dance and shout
A time to heal
A time to kill
A time to take action
A time to be still

There is a time and a place for every last thing under the sun
But to know what a moment calls for, you must be present for one.

Conversation With God – Matthew 11:28

It is written, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Why are you weary, little one? I am here, always here, crying out to you in a gentle whisper like the wind. I know every hair on your head and when it will fall. I knew you before you were born and I loved you – then, now, and always. Can you grasp my love for you?

Not yet, but you can fixate on it. Fill yourself with it. Like a car refueled, you will be more alive, more ready and able to do what I have called you to do. We are on this journey together, so why do you try to go at it alone? It hurts me to see you carrying such heavy loads, bring them to me for my burden is light.

Fill up on my love so that you will stop trying to fill up on worldly things, things that don’t satisfy you, that don’t please me, and that don’t help us. You want to live, child? You must first die; to yourself and to your desires. You know this and yet forget that in order to live each day, you must die again each day. I give you enough to get through one day alone. And so we take this journey together one day at a time. Living fully each day by dying fully each day.

I love to see you in the morning, precious one. It allows me to guide your day and you to live in awareness and communion with me. Often, you are like the workers who rush off to their fields to pick the crops that are growing in their own home. Yes, child, have your fill in the morning, so that I can show you what you need each day and lead you through it.

I wait for you to follow, lamb. And when you wander, I go searching for you. I am your Shepherd and I will never leave you. I love you.

Live in the Present

Our most difficult task is to live in the present
Yes, this must be our most difficult task
To live truly free, from the angst of the future
All chains broken, from the links of the past

Our most pressing issue, our deepest concern
Our happiness well, the love for which we yearn
All here in the present, waiting for us
Though it is difficult, meet there we must

The only place where God exists
The here, the now, a heavenly bliss
While all the world serves to distract
To live in the present, our most difficult task.

The Danger of Overvaluing Independence

Our culture puts too much value on independence. Reality is, to be truly independent is to be alone.

Some call this strength, but often it is laziness.

As humans, we’re designed to need each other. To believe that you can go at this world alone is like setting your soul down on a couch and never allowing it to exercise.

See, if you spend enough time alone, it soon becomes very hard to be around other people. You begin to think that the world belongs to you- that all space is your space and all time is your time.

You become so used to being able to daydream and keep yourself company, that other people are merely an intrusion. And this is terribly unhealthy.

God doesn’t want us floating through life alone, or sitting in front of our computers. He doesn’t want our lives to play out like an Independence film. He wants us interacting- laughing together, praying together, challenging each other…

If loving other people is a bit of heaven, then surely isolation is a bit of hell. While we’re on Earth, we get to decide in which state we would like to live.

God Speaks Isaiah 41:10

It just occurred to me that I have never shared this story before- and it’s a good one.

After the accident, I was so angry with God that I refused to open my bible for over six months (I’d been reading it daily prior to).

When I finally did, this was the page/verse I had left off on. Isaiah 41:10. Is that incredible or what?

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Just Know That You Are Loved – My Personal Encounter with an Angel

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Two years ago today, on the worst day of my life, I had my first encounter with an angel, at the baggage claim of the RDU airport.

I stood alone, completely wiped out and broken, waiting for my bag to come around on the conveyor belt. There were a few other people waiting for their bags there as well, not many but a few. After about two minutes, my feet could no longer support the dead weight of my body and I sat down on a nearby bench. A young man, I’d guess my age or younger, came and sat down next to me.

“Excuse me,” he interrupted my empty, swollen stare, “Are you okay?” Hardly able to even turn to face him, I nod my head and mutter back, “Yea I’m fine.” My body language was screaming, “LEAVE ME ALONE!!!!” but he persisted. “It isn’t a death, is it?”

“No,” I snap back, justifying my lie with his increasingly annoying invasiveness.

“Okay, well I just wanted to say, I was in love with this girl for many years and we were happily together. I wanted to be engaged and when I asked her to marry me, she said ‘no’ and we broke up. I know it’s not the same…” he continued, despite my lack of response cues, “…but it hurt like hell.”

I managed to look him dead in the eyes this time, “It’s not the same,” I growled, my eyes piercing into him.

Looking forward, I spotted my large, brown, leather suitcase coming around the belt. One of the only ones left. I began to stand up and head towards my bag when the guy said, “Well, here,” as he handed me a 2-dollar bill, “just know that you are loved.”

I hadn’t intended to take the 2-dollar bill but there it was in my hand as I grabbed my bag from the conveyor belt. Dropping the heavy piece of luggage to the ground, I looked up to see my mom running towards me. I gave her a huge hug, momentarily allowing myself to collapse in her arms.

But wait, I wondered aloud, “Where did that guy go?”

“What guy?” my mom replied.

“The guy who just handed me this,” I waved the 2-dollar bill for her to see.

“I didn’t see any guys around, Sweetie. I saw you standing here by yourself. That’s why I came running over.”

In bewilderment, mixed with the still heavy shock of the day’s event, I stumbled towards my mom’s car, “Hmm…” I thought to myself, “Well, that was strange.”

Two years ago today, I lost my best friend in a tragic accident. He wasn’t far from me that day and he’s still as close as ever now.

My angel, I miss you.