Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Groaning together

Rahab was born the summer when I was sixteen, a tiny, blind, black sausage. I was in the room when she arrived. I loved her because she was the smallest of the litter. I loved her because she was the blackest. I loved her because she took a liking to me, and while her wiggly brothers and sisters squealed away, she would nestle in my hands and fall asleep there peacefully. Rahab chose me as much as I chose her.

She was mine, still the only dog I have ever had that was fully my own. I trained her. I slept with her. I took her camping at night and slept soundly in the woods, waking with the alert German Shepherd having hardly moved an inch beside me. I understood her timid, self-conscious personality quirks. I empathized with the way that she carried love and fear together like a hand and glove, with the way she longed for encouragement and shrunk from disfavor.

This evening, less than a week before returning to the US, I received the word that my 11-year-old dog is dead. I don’t know if I’ll ever be old enough to lose an old friend well, but today is not that day at any rate. I will miss my Rahab.

The death of an old dog should come across as an entirely natural event, a regular phenomenon for my strange demographic of humanity that cares for smaller creatures with shorter life-spans. Nevertheless, as my soul utterly rejects the news as if it came from a cheap, tasteless dime-store novel written by an author with no internal consistency or artistry, I can’t help but think that death is wrong, even if it is real.

I wonder if the death of animals is an example of creation groaning with us in the pains of childbirth as we await the fullness of redemption. Perhaps it is. Creation groans, Rahab groans, I groan: Come, Lord Jesus; something has gone terribly wrong out there!
For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

3 comments:

Christian H said...

My condolences. I know how this feels. As sad as it is to be there when it happens, it's worse to hear it second-hand, out of the blue, without the experience to ever make it real.

I sometimes wonder if we are even able to understand death, if our brains are capable of it.

J. R. Daniel Kirk said...

So sad to hear of Rahab's death. The painful loss of animal loved ones is not a bad reason to believe in the restoration of the cosmos rather than just the salvation of our souls.

Benjamin said...

Hi Emily - my condolences!