On Fire

This is Tyler.  He was my dog.  Well, he was my ex-husband’s dog.  Then he was our dog.  Then he was G’s dog.  Then he was my dog.  
He was a darned good dog.  He travelled with me through a marriage, a miscarriage, childbirth, two babies, 5 houses, a divorce, and a whole lot of the minutiae of life.  

Tyler loved being outside, and he loved to swim, so it was perfect that his last few months were spent on a farm.  I came home one day in mid-March and he was panting heavily and couldn’t catch his breath.

A trip to the vet revealed a whole lot more than indigestion because he had ingested an entire birthday cake and a bag of Hershey kisses, foil and all.  (He had done that before.)  Tyler had cancer.  When I saw the x-ray all I could think was there was more cancer than there was dog.

He had hours, maybe days.  We decided to put him to sleep.

But I took him home first, back to the farm, back to the pond for one last swim.  And he went, panting all the way.  He was slow and weak, but he went.  I sat with him for a little bit by the pond; I owed him that.   Then I just held onto his wet body and cried.

“How on earth have I seen you everyday and not known how sick you were?  How did I feed you every day, hug you every day, kiss your nose every single day and not know you were dying?”


Wouldn’t it be so much easier if our hurts were somehow visible?  You know, if your head hurt, it would glow red?  Or blue, or orange- whatever.  And what if everyone else’s hurts did too?  So that whenever there was pain, it was visible?

I think that might be kind of neat.  I know it would be helpful.  Enlightening at the least.  I just wonder sometimes if we could see the pain others were feeling, would we say the things we say?  Or would we finally say the things we need to say?  Would we act the way we act?  Would we be more compassionate?  Would we cut people some slack?

I’d like to think I would.  I want to think of myself as kind; that if someone’s entire life was on fire and I could see it, that I would help.  Just drop everything and help, because that’s what you do when someone is on fire.  You stop.  You help.

Life would be different; that’s for sure.  Everyone’s hurts visible for the world to see would be something. I think it would make it harder for others to manipulate the injured; their attacks would be public, and people would run to the rescue, right?

People are good, right?  They wouldn’t sit by and watch a person hurt another.

But we do.  We sit and we watch while others are used, manipulated, ignored, neglected – hurt.  And while we hope people will run to extinguish the fire, many times they don’t.

And sometimes they can’t.  I get that.

I’m always astounded when someone dies suddenly, or the dog is hours from death, or a relationship breaks, and I realize I’ve been watching the entire thing and I had no idea.  Lives were on fire and I had absolutely no idea.

For the record, I’m just wondering aloud.  I’m not hurt.  Or on fire.

Well, I’m sunburned, and Coach accidentally whacked me in the knees with a board yesterday, so they are definitely glowing red for all the world to see.  Except you wouldn’t have seen them because I wore capris today, so they weren’t really visible, but they are red and glowing.  Other than that, we’re fine.

I’ve just been thinking about Trayvon Martin and child hunger and how much I miss Tyler.  One thing led to another, and here we are at the end of a blog post about glowing people, whacked knees, and a dead dog.

See y’all!

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2 Comments on On Fire

  1. Leslie Ruth Petree
    March 27, 2012 at 11:29 am (6 years ago)

    “Lives were on fire and I had absolutely no idea.”

    That one had me mmm hmmm-ing and nodding my head emphatically. One of my favorite quotes now (thank you, Pinterest) is “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

    So. True.

  2. Nicole
    April 9, 2012 at 6:45 pm (6 years ago)

    Lovely post. I often think those things when I see people. What’s under those layers? Are they hurting? How can I show them Jesus so they have hope?
    Sorry about your dog. Praying he’s swimming in heaven!


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