Prior to January 7th, 2009, I could not hear it. But on that day, witnessing Sundance lose his young life, the pain both broke and opened my heart in a way I have never known and I will never be the same again.
In the days since, as I have turned full face and on my face, to our God, I have learned there is a God given sound which is perfect. It is the sound of creations symphony, in which every creature and every life is essential, and plays the instrument given by our creator. As I began to hear it after losing Sundance, I also struggled to deal with other sounds, like those of heartache, yearning and loss.
The love between human beings, pets, and animals mirrors the perfect and unconditional love of GOD, our creator. I never knew the depth of love between animals and people because I had not experienced it. I now understand it is a kinship and connection which has joined Sundance to my heart, soul, and spirit.
Sundance, for the year he was with us, gave me gifts and helped me heal in areas I have always kept hidden. He tore down and crumbled a fortress around my heart, built long ago, fully exposing it for the first time the day I saw his face. I needed him, and I needed what he has given me in his death. He has shown me the way back to my God, and the sound of the symphony. He has shown me, through his death, the depth and magnitude of suffering when a pet or animal we love is lost. Until I lost him and began a desperate search for hope and comfort, I had never heard stories such as these:
A grown man crying as he held the stray cat he had taken in and had come to love, a cat that was sick and dying. Hearing him describe his anguish and his grief stricken cries. Listening to him describe his helplessness as he held the cat while it looked at him as if to say, "why are you trying to hurt me?" This man screamed in the agony of not being able to tell his dying friend that his actions, which seemed hurtful, were really a desperate attempt to administer help. Sitting in a patio chair, a man of 50 years old cried freely and openly through the eyes of a child and held his small friend as it quietly went home. The symphony, of which he is a part, must play on perfectly and drown out the dark sound of grief with sounds so beautiful that the dark sounds of loss are overcome forever.
I had never heard the the depth of pain in comments such as, "I had to have my horse put down and I don't know how to go on" or, "I had to put my dog to sleep because she was too broken and I'm just lost."
I read the words of a woman with a big heart, describing how she cried while chasing a fatally wounded cat who had been sleeping on a car engine when it was started, and finally catching, then holding the cat hoping it would suffer no more.
I cried when learning of one woman's deep anguish because she had accidentally backed over her young kitten that she had not seen follow her to her car.
The "business" of living and the distorted priorities of this world CANNOT be allowed to be heard over the symphony. To the pain of grief and loss, as representatives of a loving God, WE MUST respond with love. The symphony must play so loud and peacefully that it brings healing and hope. We have got to make caring for each other and all life the most important part of our day, EVERYDAY. This symphony must play on for them, overcoming the temporary, with the harmony of forever, when he will make ALL THINGS NEW.
In my life i have missed many opportunities to comfort and really reach out to others by playing, consistently, the instrument GOD assigned me in life. I want to be part of helping others heal and have hope when losing "animal family". I WILL respond to their NEEDS by sharing the hope which lives in the sounds of creations symphony.
For Sundance and I, the symphony has played sounds that affirm our spirits and it means so much to me now. Calming and soothing, it plays sounds that answer my pain and bring peace and hope. Creations symphony helps the place in my heart where fear and pain converge into garbled questions:
Is Sundance in heaven?
Does he know how much we miss him?
Is he lonely?
Each time, the symphony answers the questions and the grief with the assurance that our God, our pets and animals GOD, loves and values ALL his creation. It assures me each time with a strong yet gentle "YES! Sundance is in heaven; YES! he knows we love him and NO! he is neither lonely or suffering. Love and logic, both God given, remind us that our pets and animal friends have no need for redemption, they've never fallen. God gave man dominion over them, even to name them. We fell, they did not.
And the sweetest notes of all remind me that GOD, the author of love, would not give us these animals, friends from his creation, who bring so much love and loyalty, and then leave them in death to an eternity of nothingness.
Sundance, I love you, we love you and we will be there. Because of you, and your gifts to me and my life, our lives, to honor our loving God, as a member of creations symphony, I will play on.
Peace, my baby boy