Saint Rose of Lima
I have had a sweet little service dog for the last 6 years. Her name is Coco, and she is dying of cancer. Every day she sleeps more and more. Our evening walks have become little jaunts, once around the building, and then she is straining to get into the back door so she can lay down again. Soon, I will have to take her to the veterinarian's office, and then I will have to get another service dog.
I realize it may sound a little abrupt, that I will get another dog so soon, but I am not sleeping throughout the night, just like I did before Coco came into my life. Without a dog to stand guard and hear the noises of the boogey man, I am vigilant, alert, waiting. I have post traumatic stress disorder. Sleep disturbances are common for people like me. Often, I am awake all night, despite taking all kinds of sleep medication. Finally, at 6 a.m., I go to sleep. The vigil is over.
I pray for healing, but it does not come - not yet - maybe never. I am not unhappy about that. I trust in the Lord to do what is right. Faith in the Lord does not necessarily erase all the difficulties. If anything, they can sometimes increase because Satan is afoot and he hates people who have serene faith in the Lord. He tries to shake us up, as he tried with Job.
People become confused and think that if we, as disabled people, have so many difficulties, physical, mental and financial, that we must be terribly unhappy, but this is not necessarily so. As contemplatives, moving through our day, through our problems, our pains and our sadness, we are walking with Jesus and Mary, the saints and the angels. If we keep our mind on the Lord and our heart open to Him all day, we are at prayer no matter what we are doing, whether we are caring for a sick dog, washing dishes, or sitting quietly by a window.
Spiritual life is full of contradictions. How I can be grieving for my dog and full of joy at the same time is a mystery. I don't understand the mechanism of this condition, but I accept it gratefully and hope that it continues. But I still need your prayers, so please pray for my dog, that she has no pain, no distress and no fear, but that she will slip away peacefully and naturally in her sleep. Please pray that I have the strength to get through this traumatic event, yet another death in the litany of death that has been chanted in my life over the last few years when my father and then my only child died. I, in turn, also pray for you, because I know that you are going through your own versions of the trials of Job and, like me, you are quietly joining yourself with the Lord to get you through the trauma.
As part of the body of Christ, I am with you also.
Silver Rose Parnell