It was dry and light outside when we got there, but when Kyle and I walked out of the vet last night it was gray and raining. I knew then that God was crying with me. He knew how much I loved Jack and how much I would miss him.

I had to put Jack to sleep last night. The vet said he was suffering and there was nothing else they could do. The suspicions we had a few weeks earlier when his appetite tapered off were confirmed as he became more lethargic and would only eat when I finger fed him. Jack had FIP, just like Jet. Within a matter of days his hind legs started getting wobbly and he was very protective of himself and wouldn’t play. Beginning Monday, the slow process of dry FIP took off down hill. He didn’t make it to the litter box one night and fell off my bed the next. He’d lost control of his body from the waste down and he’d began wobbling even when sitting. The worst was when the disease hit his brain full force and his head started shaking like a Parkinson’s patient.

In Proverbs 12:10 it says “A righteous man cares for the needs of his animal.” The LORD knew I would do everything in my power to take care of the boys and I’m beginning to see that that is probably why he placed them in my hands.
Joshua 1:9 tells us that God commands “Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I find comfort in that verse because when it says wherever you go I don’t think the statement is limited to physically moving from point A to point B. I read it as also refering to travels of the heart. Our hearts have the ability to go many places that our feet can’t take us. While I sat holding Jack yesterday afternoon, my heart walked me to the doors of the vet clinic and back several times. Practicing the necessary steps with me so I could take them even when my emotions were running the other way. And despite all the mental practicing, and attempts to prepare for the worst…I was still trembling.
But as I read this verse over and over, I began realizing that while trials and turbulence like this are to be expected, there’s no way that we’ll be able to bypass it just because we see its approach. And we can’t be upset or angry with God because of what we’re going through. It’s easy to fall into a ‘woe is me’ mentality and become bitter because we’re convinced that there’s no way anyone can possibly understand how much it hurts. God wouldn’t keep telling us to be strong and courageous if we didn’t have a reason to be scared.
The shield of faith and the sword of the Spirit that God gives us aren’t intended to protect us from pain and hard times, they are weapons for fighting off discouragement. The evil ones, the ones who hate us, can never break us. The most they can do is take what we fear most (which they figure out by watching our behavior, they cannot read our minds) and pick at it to the point of demoralization. God is the only one who can bring us to brokenness. The definition of brokenness has nothing to do with discouragement. Brokenness does not immobilize us. It brings us to a position where God can work on us or through us.
Standing in the vet’s room, holding someone I cherished so much and listening to the doctor tell me there was nothing else I could do was beyond terrifying. I felt completely helpless. But looking back I can now say I honestly didn’t feel discouraged. What I felt was broken. And it was through this experience that I learned the difference.

Even when you know it’s coming, there are some things you just can’t prepare for. When we found out Jet had it we knew the odds were good that Jack did too, but I didn’t want to give up on him. Sure I have a lot of grief and unanswered questions. I know I will be processing all that has happened for a long time. Why did I only have Jack and Jet for such a short time? Was there anything I could have done better to prevent it? Why doesn’t anyone know anything about what was happening to them? It’s hard when a loved one dies, but it’s so much harder when there isn’t any reason or explanation for it. There is no way to test for the virus, there’s no way to see it coming, and when they show signs of it there is still no way to positively identify it because it mimics the symptoms of a dozen other curable ailments. If I didn’t believe in the grace and mercy of our loving God I might be tempted to think FIP was God’s idea of a sick joke.

How do I know it’s not a joke? How do I know that I didn’t just put my heart through a lot of needless grief? How do I know it wasn’t all for nothing? I don’t. But what I do know is that even though it still hurts to find cat hairs on the sweatshirt I was wearing when I last held him purring and happy, or to wash the dishes that were full of food he was too nauseated to eat, I woke up this morning to sunshine filling my room and singing birds that weren’t annoying. God’s earth was celebrating because one of their own went home to be with Him. I miss Jack so much it hurts and my eyes haven’t yet dried, but I had a feeling when I brought Jack and Jet home from the shelter that they would be inseparable. Now the boys are together again.

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One Response to “”

  1. I’m so sorry. I wish I could be there for you. I wish that I had some useful advice. I don’t. Your freinds love you, and we share in your grief, ever so little, but that little is some you don’t have to carry.
    God grant blessings on you and yours.

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