Our story so far: “When God closes a door, he always opens a window.” It’s the line a friend uses to impart hope in the face of loss, which appears on the scene in every life occasionally. This was the case in the old Methodist church, too, literally if not metaphorically.
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As in our renovation project, February brought closing and opening doors in real life, too.
Our aging miniature schnauzer, the poopy puppy who walked with me to the church that first evening after the closing, died.
Back then, in late November, we knew our beloved dog who had lived with us for ten years and traveled all over the country probably wouldn’t make it to live in the church with us. She had been ill all autumn, and the veterinarian ultimately diagnosed lung cancer. So we had been keeping her comfortable for months when she finally passed away the day after Valentine’s Day.
Even if she couldn’t live long enough to run the steps of the church and sniff every corner, I had hoped she could hang on long enough so we could bury her in the yard. But she died when the ground was frozen, and I had no interest in keeping her body around long enough to wait for the spring thaw.
So the day I watched her leave this earth as peacefully as she could given her poor health, I left the veterinary clinic empty-handed and broken-hearted.
I cried hot, angry tears while I gathered up every last dog toy, dog treat and dog coat crowding the corners of the rental house to dump in the garbage so I wouldn’t be reminded of her adorable tail wag, distinctive miniature schnauzer beard and stinky breath I had come to love.
It didn’t work, of course.
Every morning as I was lying in bed planning my day, I would think fleetingly I had to get up to walk the dog who no longer existed. Every day at two o’clock, I would unnecessarily remember to give my sweet, absent dog her epilepsy pill. Every time I returned to the rental house after an errand to the church, I would look at a shaft of sunshine coming through the French doors and wish I could see my pretty dog standing up in her bed looking expectantly at me.
A door had closed.
But God was on duty. A window opened.
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Tomorrow: How a little chair from the past represents the future as Chapter 19 concludes. Read it here.