Last week really tested my relationship with God. I got home early during my double study period on Wednesday afternoon. I was emptying my lunchbox when I realised only one of my two dogs were home.
When I said hello to my parents I asked where Mango was; our crazy little red-head Border Collie, and they said that she was at the Vet. She was in the middle of an operation where a hole was being drilled into the side of her head to release pressure that had built up over time. This was the second time she had an operation to remove the pressure. Even though it was causing her pain, on the outside she looked like the normal, crazy, cheeky, fun and energetic dog we looked forward to coming home to every afternoon for the last eight years.
This afternoon, however, was quite different. I sat down on the floor with Maxi by my side, our black and white Border Collie. I distracted myself with my homework and decided that I should pray. I talked to God for about ten solid minutes. I thought it was a pretty good effort. I asked him if he could heal Mango and make sure that the message from the Vet to my mum would be positive feedback. “Amen.”
About twenty minutes later the phone rang and Mum answered it. She had it on loud speaker and I listened, waiting patiently for the ‘positive feedback’. His answer was not what I intended. It wasn’t what I asked God for only minutes prior to this moment.
“Cathy, we are in the middle of the operation and things aren’t looking too good at all. Mango’s skull is actually black, it is soft and crumbling. It is literally falling apart. The cancer has spread around her head and the pressure will only just keep coming back. She is in so much pain and I believe the best thing to do is to keep her asleep. Of course though, it is your call. What would you like me to do?” I looked at Dad, thinking that he would tell Mum to allow them to wake Mango up so we could say our last goodbyes before she was gone forever. But no. It was, in fact, the exact opposite that happened.
“No, if she is in that much pain and it is that serious, don’t wake her up.” Really God? Really. Did you even hear me or was I just talking to myself? That’s it. She was gone. Just like that.
I guess, at first, I blamed God for it all. For taking our beloved dog away. She was part of the family; Maxi’s best friend. And now, he was going to be lost, wandering around waiting for her to never return. It was heart breaking watching him look around the backyard for her. Many tears and tissues later, I began to really think about what had happened rather than just flood myself in grief. God wasn’t to blame. He had heard my prayer, but he had also done the best thing for Mango. I was so selfish. She was in so much pain and all I could think about was myself and how much I would miss her.
It was only then that I realised my family had to be in pain for a short-time emotionally in order for Mango to be physically pain-free forever. I suppose sometimes we really need to stop and remember that God’s plan may not always go the way we hoped, but His plan is always better in the end. We just have to scrape past the initial surface to see what lies beneath. The little bumps along the way may hurt us; emotionally or physically, but these things make us stronger and with God’s strength, we can make it through anything.
Keep smiling. x