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The Job

Posted Tuesday, February 28, 2012, at 5:35 PM

The trip was long and hard. They had not chosen to go on this one--it was a trip of duty; of emotion; of goodbye's. The kids didn't really care where they were going. They simply knew that for whatever reason this trip made their parents, and even their boy, sad. They had left home in the wee hours of the morning. Long before sunrise--moved from their comfortable beds into the truck. It took a while to find comfortable positions. The boy took up most of the back seat. She could hear mom and dad talking and so moved from the back seat to the middle of the front seat so she could see and hear what was going on.

Mom and dad seemed both irritable and sad. They kept talking about something called a funeral. She didn't really understand, but she knew that word always made her parents sad and they often cried when they talked about it. Trying to comfort both, she laid her paw on one parent and her paw on the other. It wasn't a comfortable position, but it seemed to please them both.

They drove for a really long time before they stopped. She and her brother were left in the vehicle while her parents and boy went inside a building. It smelled good. She hoped they would bring her something to eat--her tummy was growling a bit.

Disappointment visited when they came out empty handed. She was given water to drink and so she settled back between her parents--cuddling into one and touching the other with a paw. Soon, she and mom were napping, however she did rearrange herself so that dad was being cuddled and she lovingly placed her chin on his leg so that his hand absently stroked her head. She had the best of this world, the love her family.

Eventually, they arrived at their destination. She and her brother were put on their leashes and walked around the yard of a house she didn't remember, but she knew the people. Her aunt and cousin were there to greet her, along with all their babies as well.

Blue greeted them with her deep contralto voice, hiding behind the cousin's legs . . . peeking through like she was playing peek-a-boo. Then the Wolf quietly entered. He was quiet . . . but BIG. He really paid the visitors no mind, gently sniffing and moving on; as if inviting them into his home.

They followed him into the house. The four, after a few minor "who is boss" discussions

coexisted well. They each knew they had a job to do and shadowed their person faithfully. Her people kept talking about passing peacefully, funeral plans, and those typed of things. People kept calling, coming by, and bringing food. It was nice to get to meet lots of new people--especially when they commented upon the beauty of the four cousins (even when Blue got the most attention). She could tell that each of her people needed someone special to care for them. That is what she, her brother, and her cousins could do.

They couldn't bring the other person back. They knew that death meant they wouldn't see him again. Their job was to love those here and now. Their job was to help them turn the sadness into joy once again. At first it might only be a brief smile or laugh. She knew that their job was to love unconditionally. They after all are named D-O-G, which when reversed is G-O-D.

When times are hard and we struggle, we thank you God for giving us precious companions to remind us of your unconditional love. So be it. Amen.

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From My Heart to Yours
Rayla Stewart Hogue
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Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). She seeks to recognize and embrace the unending hues of God's ethne and religion, and commits herself to living and expressing this inclusive diversity through Sacrament and the spoken, written, and sung Word of God.
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