I am not someone you would characterize as a dog aficionado or an animal lover. You won’t ever find me working for PETA or volunteering at the local animal shelter. In fact, more often than not, I am pretty terrified of the average, household pet.
For some reason, though, Ilia managed to steal a bit of my heart when we first met nine years ago.
My husband traveled so much in the first five years of our marriage, that it was just me and Ilia most nights. She was my Scooby Doo and I was her Shaggy—both of us running wildly in fright over shadows caused by tree branches, the wind beating against the windows, and spiders scurrying into the darkness.
Partners in crime to the end. Get Smart-style.
She had these long, floppy ears, which were awkwardly saddled onto her scrawny frame. Yet, she carried a noble, kind gaze that just melted men of steel into puddles.
While she was never very bright, she sure knew how to get tangled up in my heartstrings.
She was a glimmering ray of light and love in my life, and this past winter, my beautiful Ilia succumbed to cancer and moved out of my grasp.
I try not to think too much about her these days. Life catches up and takes over the tick-tock of my daily timepiece. Mainly, it’s because I get a little too teary-eyed remembering how devoted she was to me.
I did think long and hard about her this morning, though. Donald Miller wrote a post this week that had the most heartwarming sentiment for dog owners: that when your dog passes on, she gets swallowed back up into God’s imagination.
I choked up at the beauty of that thought.
To be perfectly honest, I can’t even say that I understand the statement completely, as I have no idea what happens to dogs after they die.
Still, the concept that God created my dog, gave her breath, and allowed me to experience the joy of loving her, before bringing her back full circle into the creative expanse of His mind, is simply just overwhelming to me.
That He would reach far into the recesses of His imagination and give me the pleasure of knowing this wholly inadequate ‘type and shadow’ of friendship—through my dog—is just beyond my comprehension. How did He even conceive of the idea of giving me this earthly hint, this mere taste of the rich, vast fullness of His never-ending love and undying loyalty towards me?
Oh, what I would do to become swallowed back up into His imagination.
To become swallowed back up into eternal communion, fellowship and friendship with Him.
To become swallowed back up by The Great I Am, who died just for me and who calls me friend.
What a friend we indeed have in Jesus:
“He will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove the disgrace of his people from all the earth.” Isaiah 25:8