• Shea Kropiwnicki

Life is good. Until it isn't.

Life is good.

Three short words packed with the power of truth.

It reminds me of the t-shirts picturing a happy stick figure fishing or relaxing on the beach.

Life truly is good.

I believe that.

The Sun rises every morning. I wake up with a roof over my head, four walls surrounding me, and a floor beneath my feet. My lungs breathe in fresh air, and my heart beats without any effort on my part. My husband rises next to me and goes to work, where he gets paid to live out his purpose. I am greeted by four little faces that believe I can do anything. We eat food that nourishes our bodies, our dressers are packed full with clothes to wear, and there are enough toys on the floor that we really could be mistaken for Toys R Us. And that’s all before 9:00 am.

Life really is good.

Until it isn’t.

It’s not like I was skipping through the meadow with unicorns and lollipops and rainbows. But I was walking a clear path with nothing to hinder my stride. And then all of a sudden, I fell into a hole. A hole that you couldn’t see from a distance. Not something I could prepare for or walk around. I'm stuck in this hole for now, and I know its badness is meant to remind me of the goodness, but the hole is still present in my heart.

Beckham has been in my life for almost eight years. I discovered him on one of my nightly scrolls through the dog section on Craig’s List (it’s a real hobby, and I won’t believe otherwise). The next day, I drove to the Middle of Nowhere, South Carolina by myself and chose the rolly, round reject puppy with crooked teeth. I then called my almost husband and proudly announced that we had a friend for our other dog, Bailey. To say he was overjoyed…would be lying. But you really can’t stop a dog lover from finding a dog. Or two.

Beckham grew as we grew. We became husband and wife, moved into our one-bedroom apartment with our two dogs, I graduated from college, and we both found fulfillment in our first jobs. We bought a house, added another dog and two kids. All the while, Beckham was always there growing with our family. We then moved to another state, I became a stay-at-home Mom, my husband a pastor, and then also added two more kiddos and a cat. And Beckham was always there growing with our family, this time a little wider in the middle and a little grayer around his face.

Until today. Beckham is not here anymore. And life is still good, but it also isn’t. The Sun will rise tomorrow. I will wake up. My lungs will draw in air. My heart will beat. But it will also ache.

This evening I drove to the emergency vet clinic. It was my second visit of the day. The former included four small humans, one large dog, a bag of bribery snacks (for the humans), and really bad news. The latter involved a medium-sized dog, a last supper, and the fulfillment of even worse news. Bailey and I reluctantly and eagerly walked into Exam Room #2 to meet our boy. He needed her there as much as I did. And for a little while, we just were. I stroked his black fur coarse from age, and she licked his ears just as she did when he was a pudgy puppy. She even lay her paw over the top of his. She and I cared for him just like we always have. And then it was over. We were no longer needed because he no longer was.

Life wasn’t good today. It was hard. It was sad. It was messy and ugly, and it took more of me than I wanted to give. And sometimes that’s just how it goes. God might have called you to a day, a season, or a lifetime of hard. Things harder than losing a beloved dog.

And in this lifetime, we long for Heaven on Earth. We want to have it all without the pain, the heartache, or the suffering. We want the reward of Heaven while we’re still on this messy Earth. And that’s just not how it goes.

Life is good. But it also isn't. And we wait reluctantly and eagerly for the day where the pain, the heartache, and the suffering is no more.

Grace Giver: "'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all (Alfred Lord Tennyson)." Life without emotion would be no life at all. God gives us feelings to experience Him and His creation. And today, it is okay to not be okay.

Truth Teller: God reigns in Heaven and on Earth. Not one breath is taken without His permission. Not one heart beats without Him knowing. We can find peace knowing our lives are under His sovereignty.

#love #peace #goodness #gentleness

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