What an unusual day.
This morning. Two of our dogs, Blue and Oreo, got loose this morning and took off together. A dangerous combination when allowed to roam.
This afternoon. I along with hundreds of others attended a funeral of four people, a father, a mother, a daughter and a young son. Three caskets lined up in front of a sanctuary with the young boy being buried with his mother. As the people were filling up the main sanctuary before spilling over to an adjacent area a pastor steps to the front and asks everyone to leave the sanctuary for a just a few moments. There was an unexpected visitor present and it needed help finding an exit. Those who were gathered early did exit, the doors were shut and a few men remained to attend to the need at hand.
A bird, a mockingbird had flown into the church and into the sanctuary and now was flying back and forth back and forth. Keep in mind the funeral was a homegoing for four of five people killed in a plane accident on December 19, 2011. Needless to say it was going to be a heart wrenching experience for the families and friends who had gathered and no distractions were needed by a bird.
I asked the pastor what was the plan to get the bird out of there. He said, “Shoot it.” I thought he was kidding so I asked him again. And again, he said, “Shoot it.” It was at that point that I noticed another pastor on the staff loading up a pellet rifle in the balcony and was taking aim. (A note. Where I attend church ain’t no hick backwoods church where you start shooting up the place every time the Spirit gets free in a service. This is a rural-suburban relatively large church with educated Godly folk leading and leaders in the community actively attending.)
The bird had perched himself on the video projector of all places. The one pastor took a couple of shots then handed, tossed actually, the rifle down to one of the men on the main floor, a known marksman among the brethren. The marksman, also an usher, took aim, fired once and missed, adjusted his sight and with the next shot the bird fell to the floor. This sounds like a Jeff Foxworthy story I know. The bird was disposed of, the people allowed to return to their seats and for the next two hours we celebrated the lives of those who had passed on to their rest. Coaches, friends, family members, pastors, came to the pulpit to share story after story. Wanna know what the consistent theme was? “Our lives are better off for having known them.”
May God allow the same to be said regarding our lives when the time comes.
And then to return to my home later in the afternoon where our two male dogs, one young, one old, had not found their way back. We drove the area and did not find them. My heart is heavy as these were more akin to children than dogs. One of them, Blue, the youngest, slept quietly beside me just last night and I even at one point put my arm over him as though I was protecting him from the cold, dark evils that lie outside in the world. The cold, dark evils that he and the other dog are faced with even as we speak.
I asked God, “Teach me from the events of this day.” This is what I learned after meditating upon these events. The home going celebration was just that. Those lives that we would consider lost to death are actually found in their eternal resting place. And though I can not comprehend the loss felt I can appreciate and be inspired by the strength it took to watch a family sit as as one and give glory to a loving God.
And the dogs? I asked God to allow me to have my heart broken from the things that break his heart. I had asked it begin in 2012 which is still a few days away. However, my heart is heavy tonight for something that I care about deeply is missing and potentially may not return. So I dug around for a minute in my Bible and found Luke 15:7, which says, “I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents, than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” How it must break the heart of God when that which He loves beyond my comprehension leaves the safety of God’s arms and ventures out into a cold, dark evil place which awaits them.
But upon the return of one of these is when all of heaven applauds.
My heart has always been given toward people who once knew the purpose of their life and had a strong relationship with God but for some reason had strayed away from that purpose and had lost their Hope. In 2012 I want to see many people, especially college age young people return to the heritage of faith in which they were raised and to have their Hope restored.
This heartbreak thing ain’t gonna be fun, but it is gonna be God’s place for me during the coming year.
Oh yeah the bird. What about the bird? God did not give me any insights on the bird. But I did witness Aaron Sampson putting his sights on the bird. The bird fell from the video projector. No more bird.