A Sad Day

Death is a part of this life. Sometimes I find a sick or wounded animal and know it’s time is short. More often, however, death comes without warning. Be it my military training or my German genetics, I find myself functioning disassociated from feeling in the midst of the stress and shock. Later, after the poor creature is buried or disposed of, my brain and heart begin to process the bitter realty: Death and suffering are here because of the fall of man (Genesis chapter 3). Animals do not sin but they suffer and die because mankind has sinned…I sin. Ouch.

Recently,Olivia, my dear friend and helper, came into the house in haste one morning.

“Jamie! Something is wrong with Elway!”

We rushed out to find the black lab laying under the RV. His breath was labored and he was frothy mouthed. His tongue was purple from hypoxia. He was dying.

I searched his body for signs of a rattlesnake bite. There was no bite.

He vomited bright blue liquid and died. I then suspected he ingested anti-freeze. We searched fervently for the source but instead came upon another victim.

Ranger, the other farm dog, had also ingested the poison. He was still alive and I immediately called an emergency vet. They suggested I pour hydrogen peroxide down his throat to induce vomiting. I did but it was too late.

Olivia found the poison. It was Blue Malrin fly bait. I had purchased a can the day before and left it in the back of the truck behind some bags of feed. The can was only thick card board and must have enticed the dogs with it’s scent.

My mind disconnected from my heart and I called my neighbor who owns a back hoe. He came promptly and buried my beloved dogs. As he drove away down the road, I stood on the driveway watching him. A thought came me:”I guess I should probably call Eric and tell him what happened.”

My husband, Eric, came home from work and stayed with me all day while we and our 4 children grieved the loss of our pets.

Times like that are just yucky. I felt sick for days. I still cannot look out the windows or open the door without anticipation of Ranger and Elway running to greet me.

Since their passing, we have gotten another farm dog. Emma is a Great Pyranees with a very calm and gentle temperament. I am still working with her to teach her what her job is here at the farm. She is eager and quick to learn. I will be more careful storing (or not even purchasing) pesticides…I want to be eager and quick to learn too.

That is the best I can do…and by the Lord’s mercy, live to do better.

“Pretty Please…”

I asked God,”Pretty please don’t ever let me see a snake.”

Then there was a huge one in the chicken coop.

I asked God,”Pretty please with sugar on top, don’t ever let me see a rattle snake at least.”

Then I saw a rattle snake. It was a baby. Supposedly those are more dangerous than adults because they are not able to regulate the amount of venom they inject.

But instead of fleeing at a high rate of speed like my first encounter with a snake on the farm, I was calm.

It surprised me how calm I was.

Like the Matrix, it played out in slow motion: bullets whizzing by (wait, that’s the Matrix) snakes whizzing by…

It was really only one snake. I was lifting a board off the ground. Fortunately, I have trained myself to look before touching anything on the farm. Black widows are found on occasion, but that day was special. Waiting, coiled up under the board, was a little viper.

I was wearing boots and the thought of stomping it to death crossed my mind. As I was contemplating my maneuver, along comes my husband with a rock. He defeated the villain and I was left feeling a little cheated out of a grand life experience.

What?!

What happened from asking God to spare me from certain excitement, to feeling cheated out of a grand life experience? Have I gotten more courageous or more stupid?

Maybe both. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I have noticed a difference in what I ask God for. Instead of asking Him to spare me from encountering my fears or negotiating the palette of my preference, I ask for strength and ability to handle anything He sees fit to have me experience.

I don’t want to cheat myself out of life. I want to get all I can out of it and forbid my fears to dictate. After all:

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13.

I ask God,”Pretty please have mercy…”