Yep. That’s Pipy. I see you sitting there on the floor beside my chair, big guy. You’re going to jump up here any second now. . . and oomph, there he is, right in my face. He does the head bump to my nose, sniffs to see if I’ve had anything interesting to eat lately that he missed out on, and tickles me with his whiskers as he settles down close enough to reach his paws up to knead my neck. Every ritual up to this point is tolerated because I love him, but we both know that kneading my neck is off limits, although he patiently and persistently tries.
Another anniversary is on the horizon now and I can see the “snow-capped peak” of pain rising up like a mountain in the distance. Pipy is a reminder. You see, he was but a pipsqueak a few years ago. Tiny, frail and probably 1 or 2 meals shy of death when he popped out of a soybean field as we strolled by one day. He’s far from skinny now and many meals could be skipped, just like his mama, but looking into his big, almond-shaped soulful eyes reminds me that I had asked my firstborn son, who was visiting us one summer weekend, if he’d like to take him home, but he said, “No”. Probably because of his allergies or maybe already he was thinking . . . planning. . . and he didn’t want the responsibility. Within days he died by suicide.
Flashbacks. Triggers. We all have them. Some may be mildly sensitive, but most are sharp as a tack, especially for me as the months tick off and another anniversary looms up ahead. My heart beats faster, my palms sweat. It’s anxiety, Lord. Do you feel it too? I am relieved when the month of memories passes, but up until then . . . it’s as if there is a distant rumble of thunder, a sense of foreboding as boiling, frothing, raging waves roll towards me threatening to capsize me, sending me into a tailspin as I struggle to give birth to new words, in an attempt to soothe away the pain. Haven’t I done that over and over already? But there is more . . . always more.
I am reminded that Someone else desires to be up close and personal. It’s Jesus Christ, my Savior and Friend. I like the way He talks about the importance of friendship with His disciples in John 15 and shares it with us.
“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love.”
“I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends. You are my friends when you do the things I command you. I’m no longer calling you servants because servants don’t understand what their master is thinking and planning. No, I’ve named you friends because I’ve let you in on everything I’ve heard from the Father.” John 15:9-15
I desire Jesus to be my Best Friend. I desire to love others the way he loves you and me. We humans are often a challenge to love and I am far from his example. I have often thanked Jesus for sending Pipy at just the right time. He allows us to love him and he loves us right back. When he wants to be right in my face I try to understand that he is communicating with me in his love language. And I know that many of you have pets who show you extra love when you need it most. I would love to read your stories.
Thank You, Jesus, for your loving friendship. Thank you for sending Pipy to give us comic relief and love. Thank you for being both loving and persistent in wooing us into a heart-to-heart relationship with you.