This past Saturday, a friend of mine had to put her dog, Mickey, down. Mickey had been diagnosed with a terminal illness a few months ago and so my friend knew that the day would come eventually. I can only imagine how hard this has to be for her and her family. A dog is such an integral part of a family that when they die, a part of us dies too. Dogs can sometimes be the only presence of unconditional love and support in our lives when we need it most. They can be instinctual for sure.
In today’s gospel from John, the royal official has an ill son and comes to Jesus to request healing for the official’s son. What parent wouldn’t do the same thing when their child is ill. They will go to great lengths to save their child. Jesus tells the official, “You may go; your son will live.” The official returns home to find his son well and living. However, our stories don’t always end the way the official and his son’s did. Sometimes, our loved one dies.
But, what I loved about my friend and her time with Mickey these past few months was that she focused on life instead of death. Everyday on Facebook, she would post pictures of Mickey and how they celebrated his life each day! She would hashtag her posts: #findjoyineveryjourney; #makeeverydayhisbirthday; #makeeverydaythebestday! There would be pictures of visits to stores, the lake, friends and family. It was wonderful to see pictures of dog treats and birthday candles everyday to celebrate one more day of Mickey! Even though his life was ending, you would never have guessed it. His life was being celebrated every day! In his death, he was bringing life to all he encountered!
I am thankful that my friend reminds me through her four legged friend, Mickey, that life is meant to be lived! And it’s not meant to just be lived, but to be celebrated everyday! Maybe life isn’t so much about the happy ending as it is about the story that we are living, right here and right now. Are we finding joy in our journey right now? How do we want to celebrate this joy right now? If not, how might we change the journey into a celebration? What would our lives be like if we saw each day and each moment as a birthday celebration (cue the balloons, the cake and the song!)? In all honesty, aren’t we truly (re)born in each moment? Each moment is new to us and we are new to the moment!
My friend has reminded me how important it is to celebrate one more day together with the people and furry friends that we are blessed to have in our lives! If we want to live a more fulfilling life, might we take a lesson from Mickey and live life like every moment is a birthday moment? Instead of living each day as if it is to be the last, why not live it as if is is the first? By living each day as a first, or as a birthday, we might move through life with a great sense of awe and wonder. People, places and things might become new and more alive to us! Death, in its own peculiar way, can be a reminder to us of how to celebrate the moments of our lives. #findjoyandlifeineverymoment!