I've continued to face a series of challenges for the last few months. Many of you have noticed that I'm not posting as often as I normally do. To be perfectly honest, I'm tired. I feel depleted physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You've known me to always be the girl to put on a good face and be strong and power through any and every obstacle that may come. That's not where I'm at.
I'm in the process of packing up my life in Pennsylvania to move back home. I will be in New Mexico with my family until we can get my pressing health issues sorted out. I've never been a fan of transition or change. Saying goodbye to friends and those who have become like family is not an easy thing to do. My house is sold and boxes are the only thing that now decorate the living room. Once again, I have no idea what God is doing or why. All I know is that He is good. All the time.
Already tired and emotionally numb, one more thing was added to my plate this week.
Jackson puppy has been more than my best friend for the last eight years. He's traveled with me from NM, to TX, to PA and even New Jersey. He's licked more tears than one can imagine and is never more than three feet from my side. "Man's Best Friend" hardly does our relationship justice. More than once in the last few years, Jack has been all I've had - the only constant.
I sat down to eat breakfast last week and saved the last bite of my waffle for my furry friend. I placed it in front of his nose. It took him a good ten seconds to find it. I thought it was odd, but didn't read into it. Maybe it was the lighting or he was just being super patient?
As the week went on, I began to wonder what was happening. His behavior had changed, his demeanor, it was as if he couldn't see me. After watching him begin to run into walls, we went to the vet. She confirmed his eyesight was gone. In a matter of five days, Jackson became blind. While the cause still remains uncertain; he and I have both had to learn to adapt.
Imagine the fear you'd have if you lost your sight in a matter of days. The vibrant world you once knew now a dark abyss. My heart has broken for him and I've cried trying to get him to walk through the doorway. Life has changed.
The first couple days were hard. He panicked often and insisted on touching me at all times - even if that meant leaning on my legs as I tried to walk down the hall. He struggled to find his food and water and was fearful to go outside. His toy squirrel lie abandoned on the floor. My mind raced with what to do - how to get us to cope. Everything I read said to maintain consistency - don't move furniture or change his surroundings…. I wept as I read knowing a 2,000 mile cross-country road trip is only days away. How will he do it? Hotels, new smells, strange sounds, other pets. How will I do it?
For the first time in a very long time, God tangibly broke through my heartbreak. "Heather, that's exactly how I want you to be. Watch Jack and learn."
In the days that followed I watched my Jackie start to compensate. He and I began coming up with systems that work. I would talk softly to him before touching him. I would clap as I walked so he could follow the sound. His food and water dish became "home base" so when he's disoriented we have a landmark. When he's frightened and panting, I scoop him up and hold him tight until his breathing returns to normal.
And that's how God wants us to be.
Jack is 100% dependent on me. He relies on me for his food, water, vet care, love, play, attention, walks, potty breaks… When he lost sight, he didn't run away from me angry at the situation. He did the opposite and clung to me even closer. Now he's looking to me for peace, surety, safety and literal direction. It's like he knows that alone he would die.
Have you lost your sight? You look around but all you see is black? I've been waiting for sight and direction for some time. God has seen fit right now to keep my eyes closed to what's happening. Maybe he's doing the same to you for your own protection. He's drawing
you closer - desiring to be even more to you than He already is. Don't panic or run into walls; it breaks His heart to watch you do that. Trust His voice and know that if He's leading you over the doorway, it's a safe step, even if you can't see it. His Word is your "home base" the one place you can return to and know where you are. If you begin to fear because you can't find Him, stop and listen for His clapping - He's near. Follow the sound. And if you need to just break down and cry because it's too much - too dark - too sudden - too scary. Let Him scoop you up and rock you. Don't run away from Him because you can't see and don't understand. Stay close. You're still His.
And yes, while my lovely puppy has taught me this valuable lesson, my heart still hurts wishing there was something I could do to change this for him. Jackson has been incredible in the face of adversity. He still plunges ahead - insisting on his normal walk, regular tricks and treats, and demolishing the new toy I got him. He's the most loyal and faithful creature I've ever known on God's planet. He's showing me how to love life and make the most out of every situation.
Being his eyes has taught me to see the world with my heart.