A year ago in November, our family said good-bye to our beloved Mikah. Our sweet dog Mikah had been part of our family for 14 years, since Elizabeth was 6 and James was 4. There were a lot of tears on the day we had to decide to say that final good-bye. Some days when I think of her there are still tears. I expect that will always be so.
We found Mikah at the Buncombe County Animal Shelter in December, 2006. We had gone there in search of another dog. But, that one had already found a home. However, we found Mikah and she needed a home. We had one. And she came to live with us and be part of our family.
Her nickname was “Moo Moo” because she would make noises sometimes that sounded like a cow. We would laugh every time she made her cow noises. I miss the cow sounds. We miss Mikah. There will never be another like her.
It was also a year ago this month that a new beloved pup came to live with us. Jenna, who was not quite a year old, came home with me one sunny afternoon in late November after Elizabeth found a picture of her on the Brother Wolf shelter website and said I should go see her. I went the next day and asked to visit with Jenna. When Jenna came out to meet me, her whole body wiggled with excitement. It took all of about a minute to determine that she would be going home with me that day. How can you not love a critter who expresses such joy with her whole body! Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all could have that kind of joy in us?
There have been a lot of moments since we began living life in a world dealing with a pandemic that have not been happy or joyful or pleasant or good. Some have been down-right hard and awful. Losing Mikah was one of those really hard times.
Finding Jenna has been one of the joyful moments. I give thanks for her and am thankful that we get to be her people and she gets to be part of our family.
The holiday of Thanksgiving can mean a lot of things to folks. And sometimes holidays are hard to navigate because sometimes even when we know these are moments and events we are supposed to celebrate, the losses we might be dealing with make that difficult.
The older I get the more aware I am of how holidays are a mixed bag of feelings, emotions, and thoughts—some happy and joyful; others bring tears that remind me of what once was but is no longer. And, I’ve had to learn how to lean into and allow space for each feeling, emotion, and thought as they come. My faith has taught me how to live in the tension and the peace of each. And my faith reminds me that no matter what is happening in our lives, God is with us. God knows all that we feel and think and experience, smiling when we smile, crying when we cry. God knows the joys and the pain, the highs and the lows. In all things, in all circumstances, God is with us.
I pray that as we prepare to walk into and through the coming holidays, we can all carry that knowledge with us. Remember how loved you are and call on the love and strength and peace you need from God. Let God hold you in those moments for as long as you need.
May God bless you and keep you. I wish you peace.