“If I could speak all the languages of earth and of angels, but didn’t love others, I would only be a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I understood all of God’s secret plans and possessed all knowledge, and if I had such faith that I could move mountains, but didn’t love others, I would be nothing. 3 If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it;[a] but if I didn’t love others, I would have gained nothing.” (1 Cor. 13:1-3 NLT)
It was a cold, damp, dark, dreary, rainy morning. It was still Autumn but felt a lot more like Winter. The weather outside matched the weather in my heart. My oldest dog, Snoopy had died in her sleep the night before and now I was carrying her body up to the woods behind my house to bury.
It wasn’t like it was a surprise that Snoopy had died. In dog years she would have been 98 years old. She had been battling several health problems for years. Every morning I gave her 3 different pills for her ailments and bought her special soft dog food because she had lost most of her teeth. For the past few days, though, she had refused to eat at all and I grew worried. Then when I woke up this morning she was gone with only a stiff, cold body on the floor by my bed. Part of me thought that maybe she had let go during the night so I wouldn’t have to watch her die.
As I finished laying heavy stones across her grave I thought to myself: “It’s not fair. I have buried too many dogs in my life.” If length of life went on merit then Snoopy would have lived much longer than me. She loved so easily and unconditionally. She never complained about her sufferings. She always brought a smile to my face and a joy to my heart. As I laid the last rock across her grave my heart felt as heavy as the stone I carried.
On my way back to the house I talked to God. “Why is so much in this life unfair?”, I said. “Why do we lose the ones we love and have to go on alone?” I didn’t get an answer. I guess some answers have to wait until we leave this life for the greater life to come. One thing I did know, however. I wouldn’t give up on love. I wouldn’t give up on life. I wouldn’t give up on God. And I would one day adopt another dog. Because Love is always worth the pain.
Joseph J. Mazzella