Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: DOG (08/09/18)
- TITLE: Pray Without Ceasing; A Lesson From My Maltese
By Mariane Holbrook
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Gracious as always, Billy Graham placed his hand on the boy's thin shoulder, and replied, "Son, I believe God will provide whatever is necessary to make us happy in heaven."
The boy smiled, thanked him and left with his parents, satisfied with the response.
I was standing nearby and sought to control my own emotions, for only one day earlier, I had also said goodbye to my beloved companion of twelve years; a small, white, Maltese dog named Missy.
Missy had two passions: Chewing on the toes of my husband's dirty socks was one. When left alone, Missy would carefully unwind the roll of bathroom tissue and slowly drag the unbroken sheets backwards through the house until the roll was empty. It was no small feat.
Devoted to me, she would jump up on my bed to sleep next to the small of my back. But later, when my husband joined me, Missy faced him at the foot of the bed, barking and demanding that he sleep elsewhere.
She was not a good watchdog; rather, she invited every stranger into our home. Missy was a favorite of all my friends, especially children who wrestled with her on the floor or the lawn.
One day, while walking along our country road together, Missy slipped away from me to chase a rabbit, pulling her red leash behind her. Unsuccessful in her pursuit, she crossed back over the road toward me and was struck by a speeding vehicle.
Distraught, I rushed her to the vet who, after a cursory examination, assured me she was not injured.
But she was. Back at home, she grew listless, and unable to eat. I slept beside her on the floor, feeding her small pieces of chicken and spoon-feeding water into her tiny mouth. Returning her to the vet's office, he insisted on keeping her overnight for further tests and observation. He phoned me the next day.
"I'm afraid I have bad news," he said quietly. "Missy's kidneys were badly injured as well as some other major organs. She is now incontinent and won't recover from her other injuries. I suggest you take her home for a couple of days to be with you, then bring her back to be put to sleep. I'm so sorry."
I could barely take it in. It seemed surreal. I threw myself across the bed, to cry into exhaustion. My grief knew no bounds.
After two days of caring for her and lying beside her on the floor, I knew the time had come for the inevitable. My husband offered to take her to the vet's but I wanted to do it, and do it alone. She was my precious pet, the darling of my particular care.
At the vet's I hugged her for awhile, trying to calm her trembling body, then kissed her and handed her over to the veterinarian.
Saying goodbye, I rushed to the comfort of my car, laid my head on the steering wheel and sobbed. I felt a hand on my shoulder and looked up to see an older gentleman standing by my open car window. "I'm so sorry, my dear. I know what you're going through. May God help you through this."
I drove slowly home over the quiet, country road thinking of Missy and remembering how she taught me to pray.
One night at dinner, a few years earlier, Missy sat beside my chair, staring at me during the entire meal. She watched as I put each bite into my mouth, desperately hoping I would share some food with her. Never once did she look away, but fastened her eyes on me with unwavering tenacity. Nothing could detract her; no outside noises, no conversation, no surprise visitors. She was resolute, unrelenting and indefatigable. She was waiting for a response from me and she would not be deterred.
Missy taught me to pray with that same determination; to let God know of my pressing need, then to fasten my eyes solely on Him to the exclusion of everything and everyone else, ignoring circumstances around me, not lowering my gaze or allowing distractions, but waiting quietly before Him for His answer.
Missy changed my prayer life forever.
Oh, my little dog. I loved you so.
"Let your eyes look straight ahead. Fix your gaze directly before you." (Proverbs 4:25)
"Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith..." (Hebrews 12:2)
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