Leo’s Last Days

My dog Leo who has batted cancer since November,died this morning. It was honestly a really hard day for me. I knew the day would come, but kept asking God for just one more. Leo died as he lived, just beautiful.

The difference between dogs and cancer and humans, and in Leo’s case is they don’t fear the end. They are not inundated by doctor’s telling them “you might have 6 weeks to live if all goes well”, they simply wouldn’t care if they actually knew. Leo lived EACH day to the fullest.

Today, on the day he died, he woke up as he usually did, right by my side. But today was different, his whole body had shut down on him. His mind and heart were working as he struggled to get his body to cooperate. The pain must have been excruciating as even a slight touch to his body would send a howl of distress.

I believe a lesson from Leo to me and to everyone reading this is to live your life in the present. Don’t let health scares prevent you from living because tomorrow the bottom could indeed fall out if God’s will says so.

So here is how Leo dealt with this dire condition. When he felt good, he did not hold back from feeling good. When he felt bad, he dealt with feeling bad. He took each day and treated it as a blessing and dealt not with the future, but today. He taught me to live each day ever since he was a puppy, never to take a day for granted.

Leo was also a blessing to me, he replaced a lot of human garbage which was cluttering up my life. He sat through my editing of my books, he came along with me to my work project, he also was with me upon the deaths of my aunts, through many tragic events, and also happy ones as well. He was my true blessing from God and I shall always have him in my heart!

As I by habit still look for him, I also look for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is right here with me through this sad time. I thank God the Almighty for the blessing of Leo in my life!

What Are You Fearing?

One of the most cited lines from God in Scripture is “do not fear” for He is God. What is He saying? It means He is in control, and whatever the case might be if you trust in His will everything will be just fine.

The American fear is not so much “will I get sick” which is a definite fear for some, but for many it is “will we have to discard or excess”. Will they be able to go on that vacation, or be able to buy their kids the new iPhone, or will their favorite high priced restaurant close.

The fact is, this new virus was a wake up call as was every worldly crisis. Think of the Holocaust and how that woke up the world as to the utter evil that man could ensue on their fellow man. The thing I have been seeing the most in this crisis, is denial. “Look at the ordinary flu and how many it kills each year” is an example of the fear of this coming adjustment.

The rush for toilet paper and sanitizers, the sheer panic of the pandemic is all part of this denial. The part that will come by force, is acceptance. And no amount of panicking will be able to overcome it. A large government spending bill may not be able to overcome it either. But why fear if God is your center of your life?

I can say there are many silver linings in this particular crisis. I see more families out together, I see Dad’s spending time with their children finally. As Leo (my dog) and I walked in the woods tonight we saw a young couple with their infant child. It was something I don’t think I have ever seen so much, families spending this time together. And just maybe, this was God’s correction to a society which had gone astray from that blessing, from the contentment of what He has given us.

The excess can go! You won’t miss it! If you are still living in fear, maybe this is the time for that correction to realize what is actually important in your life, to your neighbor who needs you help, to your family whom you have been vacant to, as opposed to those things you actually fear which are the unneeded excesses.

I see this in the sports arena. The sports in this country have shut down, and I have yet to hear about the families who committed suicide because of this. I have yet to hear of the person who died because they couldn’t eat their high priced steak at their fancy restaurant either.

Society needed this adjustment as maybe all the other crisis’s from God were not big enough of a wake up call.

Lessons in a Crisis

Having been through a crisis or two, most recently with my dog Leo back in November, I will offer some tips and lessons as we all go through this world health crisis.

1. Do Not Panic
The first temptation you might feel is to panic. “I need to run out and buy a 2 year supply of toilet paper” is what we have been seeing. Panicking leads to many regretful decisions and anxiety, and can be indeed dangerous. If you are a Christian, panicking is the antithesis to faith in God. Fight that temptation to panic, stay calm and only think practical. Calm your mind before making any decision. Stay away from the panickers, as the temptation strength will increase for you to also panic.

2. Educate Yourself
Do not rely on hearsay in a crisis, take the time to educate yourself on this health crisis. Take the advice of the health professionals who tell you to keep a distance, wash your hands, quarantine if needed, etc. The lack of education of what is going on will again lead to bad decisions. Discern the truth. The quick rule of thumb is that if 2-3 educated professionals are saying the same thing, it is most likely going to be accurate information. There is loads of information on the coronavirus, become an expert by studying but also discerning right from the wrong. Ask questions of the health field if you aren’t sure. There is no problem with gathering the most information you possibly can.

3. Be Willing to Sacrifice
In a crisis, sacrifice is imperative. It is forced on us as well for those of us who have had a hard time sacrificing. Some like a good friend of mine who sacrifices her Saturdays to help her parents as well as driving a 100 miles to do so, sacrifice is natural, she doesn’t even see it as a sacrifice because she does it naturally and willingly. A sacrifice is doing something which is inconvenient for you but very convenient for those you intend to help. Those of us who aren’t used to sacrifice, will learn how to in a crisis. This means staying home if you are sick for example. This means looking out beyond yourself for once and to the needs of those around you. When they say “self-quarantine”, this is a call to self-sacrifice. Are you willing to sacrifice? If not, the crisis will overwhelm you!

4. Stay Healthy
In order to help those around you, you will need to for one thing make sure you get your rest. It is hard to sleep in a crisis, but not doing so will leave you less than capable to deal with things you need to be dealing with. Your health is important to you and everyone around you. If you lose this by not taking care of yourself, you have let everyone around you down as well. It is easy to forget to eat for example, so try to maintain a healthy daily schedule. Eat and sleep as normal as you can. Not doing so will leave you tired and again will lead to bad decisions and anxiety. The crisis will not be solved this way.

5. Knowing Each Day is a Blessing
Another thing you will learn in a crisis, is that the days become much more important. Take care of what you can today, tomorrow will have its own problems. This means SLOWING DOWN. Over time, you will see weeks go by and realize you lived through this crisis with ease. Each day became important and they were not wasted. Sometimes it takes looking back to see the MANY blessings God has bestowed on you through a crisis, but you will see them.

6. Staying Optimistic
I do take a cue from President Trump on this with this current crisis. He clearly knows the gravity and severity of this health crisis, but maintains optimism. You might see negative reports, hear pessimism from various people, but maintaining optimism is essential to get you and those around you through a crisis. Don’t let go of hope! When hope dies, then solutions also die. Don’t give up in the face of adversity, keep searching and hoping for a solution. What can you do to provide this? Hope and perseverance will keep your optimism alive. Staying away from the negative Nellies is quite important during a crisis.

7. Trust in God
If your trust is not in God alone during a crisis, panic, depression, anxiety, anger, fear, etc. all set in. If you view the crisis from a God is sovereign standpoint, peace and rest can only take place knowing whatever the case might be, good, bad, ugly, knowing and realizing that God is control. Pray often and without ceasing. Pray for the little things, pray that He sees you through a day with your family, pray for leadership, pray for your leaders, pray for healthcare workers, pray for those affected by the virus. By spending time in prayer, you will become much closer to God. God does hear you, His office is always open. Know that while everything else is closing, that the virus can never shut His office down. And also do not forget to thank Him constantly for seeing you through this crisis.

8. The Crisis Does Bring Revelation
One last thing I can relate is that in a crisis you will find out who your friends really are and who can trust and should not have trusted. Some will come into your life and will be least expected, and some will be nowhere to be found and were the most expected. A person may come along that you have never known as well, maybe someone who you judged in the past by their externals and now that person is central to getting you through this crisis. The crisis will reveal many things you were not quite aware of or indeed not aware of at all. There will be good revelation and bad revelation, but my faith tells me that this is way of God pruning our lives.

Every crisis can be conquered if we trust in God, if we don’t let the crisis control us, and if we sacrifice our lives to the betterment of those around us.