Monday, August 9, 2010

Love You Can Touch

I’ve been listening to an audio book the last week or so – Susan Isaacs’ Angry Conversations with God. It has been an eye-opening and heart-touching experience.

This blog is not about that, however. Listening to her book led me to her website, which led me to her blog, and her latest blog post is her eulogy / obituary of her cat, Honey.

First, let me say that I’m not a cat person. I used to say that I hated cats, but actually I was just posing for all the dog people in my life and in the world. I don’t hate cats. When I was in high school our family had a cat – a deaf, albino cat named “Snow” who’s meow sounded like a baby wailing (a foreshadowing to the days when my wife and I would wake in the middle of the night to the sound of one of our infant sons wanting to be fed).

That was the only cat I ever had. She was an ok cat. Cats usually don’t come when you call them, but Snow had a perfect excuse – she couldn’t hear! But she did snuggle and she was soft and, really, what more can you ask of a cat?

After my wife and I were married, before we had children, we agreed that we wanted to get a pet and we decided on a dog. Actually, I think I make the whole decision and either conned her into it or persuaded her with my awesome debating skills.

We got a puppy – a black Labrador Retriever we named Seamus. The name came from a golden Lab my best friend in high school had. “Moosie” was a great dog that made our lives full of life and love. He cuddled with us through the night, keeping us warm on long, cold, winter nights in Michigan and Wisconsin. He loved to swim and play in the snow.

When our first son was born, we did the things that the “Book” said to do (What to Expect When You Are Expecting). I took the blanket that EJ was wrapped in at the hospital home so Moosie could sniff it and get used to the addition to our family. When EJ came home, Moosie camped under his crib during the night for the first week or so. He was kind and gentle with EJ and a great companion for him.

When Moosie was 12 years old, his hip dysplasia became so bad he couldn’t walk anymore and we knew that it was time. He was in pain all the time. He would look at me with that sad look that only a dog can pull off well. That was one of the hardest days of my life, saying good bye to him. I think EJ took it the hardest. He had to learn one of those life lessons at age 10.

Moosie epitomized what Susan Isaacs calls in her latest blog post “love you can touch.”

I know that God loves me. I know the Bible verses – John 3:16, Romans 5:8, 1 John 3:16.   But let’s face reality – we cannot physically touch God’s love, not in this lifetime. The Bible says we cannot even look upon God and live (Exodus 33:20). And what is love without touch? I don’t know what it is, but I wouldn’t call it love.

Maybe that’s why God gave us people like ourselves (“bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh”) and animals. We could love and touch them, and thus experience, in some way, the love God has for us.

When Jesus walked this earth, He made a point of touching those who needed it the most. Some people He healed with just a spoken word. But there were those who, I suspect, needed to be touched, longed to be touched, that Jesus deliberately healed with a touch. Just in the Gospel of Matthew alone:

Matthew 8:2-4

Matthew 8:14-16

Matthew 9:28-30

Matthew 17:6-8

Matthew 20:33-34

Being able to touch and be touched is a fundamental human need. Infants do not thrive without being touched. You can tell – from a distance – a couple who are in love because they hold hands or in some other way tenderly touch each other.

God reaches out to us and touches us through His Son Jesus Christ. True, this mostly happens as a spiritual touch. But maybe that’s one of the reasons we have pets – to be able to experience God’s love we can touch.

© 2010 True Men Ministries, Inc.


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