About three months ago, my dog died. She was only six years old. She got sick, she was in pain, and she had to be put down. I only wrote about Patti on this blog once, about how it took me a long time to really love her. She was stubborn, frustrating, difficult. I struggled to train her and worked really hard. I had to improvise a lot. You couldn’t follow the rules of the training methods with her. Patti made her own rules.
I started calling her my “little lesson in acceptance.” I wanted a Westie because they’re adorable. I really wasn’t prepared for her energy and her strong will. She wasn’t a lap dog and wouldn’t sleep in the bed. She always wanted to be in the middle of whatever was going on. She wasn’t the dog I hoped she would be but I grew to love her and accept her for who she was, a loud, high-spirited, loving, sweet, adorable, playful terrier. Despite her anxiety and refusal to be groomed, we had a good time together. She would “tap” your leg when she wanted something and growl at you when she wanted to play. We spent long afternoons sitting on the swing outside and evenings throwing the ball around the living room.
Her death hit me hard, a lot harder than I expected. It was the middle of tax season so I had to get on with the work, get on with life, but I cried nearly every day. There were holes all through my life where she used to be. The dining chair no longer sits under the window in the living room so she can see out. Her blanket isn’t on the left seat of the couch. Her bowl isn’t in the kitchen. And I was angry. I asked God, Why? Why take my dog? She was still so young. It wasn’t her time. The Bible says you’re good, how is this good? How is this grief, this hole in my life, this pain, good?
He didn’t answer why. After a few weeks, on my Saturday morning drive to work, He simply said, “It’s My will.” You see, He is the sovereign God of the universe. When we sign up to walk with Him, we sign up to play by His rules. And we don’t get an explanation. We are called to walk by faith, not by sight. I don’t see why as a question anymore. I see it as a problem. Every time I ask why He does something, I’m lacking faith. I have to cut “why” out of my vocabulary. Because the why doesn’t matter. What matters is that He is good.
Do I still cry for Patti? Yes. Does it still hurt? Yes. Is He still good? Yes. Patti taught me a lot about dog ownership and myself. Her death taught me about faith. It taught me that even when the storm is raging and the pain is so bad that it’s like the world is ending, I still know God is good. Because three years ago I chose to pick up my cross and follow Him. Where He wants me I will go, no matter what it costs.
When the God who made the universe said, “It’s My will,” I said, “Okay.”