As a Christian, I celebrate this time of year anticipating Advent, getting ready for Christmas and culturally looking forward to getting the Christmas Tree out and playing the Christmas tunes. Unfortunately, though... you see.... as I take big breath... this time, it doesn't feel so festive and it actually hurts. It will be hard to get the Christmas stockings because one of my family members (Mr. Remmington "Remmy" Cooper, my tricolor King Charles Cavalier) will not be with me.
As I work with clients, I am finding that I am not the only one who is grieving this holiday season. Some are grieving life as they knew it (when the body didn't ache so much), or culturally (when neighbors still knew neighbors and cared to take time to see how each other were doing), or politically (when leaders meant something and officials of any job or office thought to not sexually exploit/ abuse and harm another for the sake of "let's face it"..... privilege.) Yes, this holiday season, if we are aware, there is a lot to grieve.
Remmy for me was a very special dog. Remmy reminded me each day why I needed to get up and just take time to smell the flowers. His constant snorts and nudges reminded me to take time for love... love for myself, love for a neighbor, a friend, my backyard, nature.... healing touch.
As I will get the box out and put my spirit dog's stocking back and think of the beautiful memories I share with him, I will give thanks. He was the right dog for the right time, no doubt about it. And Christmas will be different like the rest of the world as become in its forever changes. As a matter of saying, I never minded change. I only minded change that came through oppression, harm, force, abuse, and excessive force. It is dangerous for anyone to think that it is okay to dehumanize another.
And yet, as I read my sacred text for this liturgical season; I am reminded that over 3,000 years ago; the world had leaders that thought more of themselves than another; would do harm to achieve relics of greed; and blame an individual or group of people for their own regard. And how was this done.. often by dehumanizing and fearing another.
As an animal chaplain, I give thanks for the awe moments in this world. The four legged angels that walk with us and remind us of the beauty God has given us in nature and in those creatures whose hearts pump blood as well.
And as I continue to read and account for the birth of the Christ Child were Joseph and Mary could find no room anywhere found room among the animals.. those that gave up their bed for this family.
In this holiday season, whatever your religion or non beliefs, give thanks for those animals that walk among us that truly add beauty to a world that we as humans take for granted. Pause and share breath with them. Pause and look out the window at the birds... pause and remember...
Remembering you Remmy, and others who gave unconditionally and made my life better because you were in it.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!