Posted by secondchurch on July - 26 - 2017


“Although we love the idea of choice – our culture almost worships it – we seek refuge in the familiar and the comfortable.” — Hugh Mackay

The last year or so has been touch and go with our dog, Abby. When she turned age 17, we thought, “Maybe is her last year.” But it wasn’t. She aged two more years and struggled more with mobility and other bodily functions. I should say that we struggled, too. With each chapter further from her former effervescence that once allowed her to jump 5 feet into the air, do a 180-degree rotation, and catch a Frisbee, and hike mountains with us, we had to re-evaluate our ability to care for her and her level of potential misery.

“Can we walk to Cambridge to the dog park with her?” Maybe. We got half way there and had to carry her home. So we had to stop long walks almost 2 years ago. And she laid down at the dog park, unable to play with the other dogs because of her frail body. “Can we leave her alone for more than four hours at a time?” Maybe. We did about six months ago and then regretted it. We had to adjust. After she could no longer climb stairs, we had to ask, “Can we be okay carrying her between the stories of our two-floor apartment?” and “Will she tolerate it?” Maybe. Last week we were wondering if we could wait another day for her to perform critical bodily functions. Our answer was, “Maybe, but how much is she suffering?”

We had to make the excruciating decision to have AbbyDog euthanized. I made the appointment on Wednesday for us to go to the veterinarian on Friday – if she made it that long. We needed the time to say “Farewell,” all the while wondering if she was suffering and if she would even live another two days. Maybe.

And now several days have passed since she was freed from her tired old body and we are wondering if the sadness of our grief will go on very long. Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe grief will be protracted for Gregor and not for me. Maybe vice versa. Maybe we will both awaken tomorrow with a feeling that the shroud has lifted.

Life is full of maybes, especially the longer you live. There is less certainty. For me there is less need to have certitude. I think there is Power in not knowing, in ambiguity, and in risk. It’s a more faithful way to live, trusting that God will give you what you need, when you need it, and adjusting if / when you don’t get it.

I once ministered to a woman who was well into her journey as a Parkinson’s Disease patient. She was living with her daughter who was in her third year with a diagnosis of ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Among my first questions was, “Are the two of you going to be able to live in your home as your diseases progress?” She said, “Maybe, but we will need more and more help.” Four years ago Peg told me that she maybe would live another few years, past 90, and her daughter Diane would maybe live another two years in their own home. “Maybe more. Maybe less,” she said, “Who knows?” Peg and Diane are still alive and at home, asking questions, and coming up with a lot of “maybes”.

I wonder what makes some people thrive while living in the gray areas of life when others would panic in the same situation? Is it about faith or is it about our disposition? Or is it a little bit of both?



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