The Best of TGIF

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19 Responses

  1. pslady says:

    The day that my father was preparing to go to Heaven he told me that he was talking to his dear friend who had passed 16 yrs earlier…dad said he was in the room with him. I truly believe the divide between the physical & spiritual is indeed thin!
    Thanks for your Chester story

  2. Michael says:

    Thank you, pslady…

  3. Laura Figueroa-Scott says:

    At the gym I go to, my coach had a wonderful dog, Jake. For two years, I had a very large shadow who I grew to love very much. About a year after he had passed, I was alone changing my shoes and heard the sound that Jake’s tags used to make and all of a sudden, I knew he was beside me. When the feeling left, I just broke down and thanked the Father for the visit from a friend I missed very much. Thank you for the reminder, Michael. I have never forgotten Chester.

  4. Michael says:

    Thanks, my friend. So many Christians discount or demonize these gifts…even though that truly are gifts from above..

  5. Alexandra says:

    My daughter is, right now, on her way back to the hospital to continue on with this awful experience of stem cell transplant. She was to be home another week, but imaging showed bad news and she had to rush back just now. This changes things, and I am numb with shock and confusion until a plan to go forward is set in place in a couple days, we hope. And now, again as the twice before times that she’s been in the hospital for over a month each time, I have her 8 year old daughter. We are all very tired, physically and emotionally.

    We have danced this dance of near death for 5 years now, when, at diagnosis, she was given just a few months to live. But she has lived… not without great suffering though.

    As I look death in the face, many things once important drop away. The one thing that keeps getting closer and closer, and realer and realer, is Love. Love for one another. Love for this life we’re given. Love for God our savior (and I don’t mean that so much salvific but rather as the One, the only One, who can save me right now in this moment). And love, such intense love, for others who suffer.

    I don’t care very much about so much I once cared about. Oh, I still get pleasure and am entertained or vexed by things, but they all seem small potatoes now in this holding-pattern, inbetween, savoring and dismissing way that I walk through these days now.

    The hardest thing I’ve ever done in my long life is to love in the way that I experience loving now. Far harder than all my other accomplishments. Because, to me, this love is beyond my capacity and I must reach out into the supernatural to ask for what I need to continue to stay in love and rejoice in love and suffer in love. To love, to be truly open to this type of love, takes all of one – I do think it has something to do with “take up your cross and follow me” and “except ye die to yourself, ye shall not be born again” and “Love God. Love others. That fulfills it all.”

    Enough for now. So much more to say. I know you loved Chester in the way of love I am trying to talk about here – a costly love, a love that exceeds our own capacity. And I think it is that aspect of Christ, Christ’s essential element, which is Love personified, that undergirds everything and is the realest thing ever. Love endures forever because it emanates from God, and I would not be surprised in the least if our personal love objects (like daughters and cats and friends…) can be known to use in the afterlife in some way, and that love can even touch us still from beyond.

  6. Michael says:

    Alexandra,

    Amazing words from a broken heart…thank you. You remain in my heart and prayers…

  7. pstrmike says:

    Yep, some probably think we are crazy, but I’ve visitations from a few of my pets as well. Strangely, however, I can’t recall an experience where I felt that friends or family members who have departed have visited…..

  8. Michael says:

    pstrmike,

    Good observation…I’ve sensed a presence from people…but have only “seen” my cats…

  9. pstrmike says:

    “The sea, the sky, the trees, the animals, the stars – all these are continually speaking the praise of God but without human speech. It is the vocation of the whole creation to praise God, not only in songs & poetry but also in living creatively within the divine design & pattern.”
    ~ Mary Earle, ‘Celtic Christian Spirituality

  10. Owen says:

    Michael,
    A long time ago I used to think people who claimed to have seen or felt their past loved ones were deluded, or it was just a whole lot of wishful thinking.
    I don’t anymore.
    I actually find myself a little bit jealous of that, sometimes…..
    I can find absolutely no reason to doubt it, especially when it gives a little bit more hope to those experiencing it.
    I believe that’s one of the main attributes of God, giving hope. And reminders of the depth and breadth of the love Alexandra spoke of.
    Thank you for sharing this…..

  11. Karen says:

    I can’t believe it. Exactly what I thought after my mom passed a year and 1/2 ago. I’ll spare you the details- but I was so traumatized at the moment of her death. I don’t remember what set it off exactly- but that’s when I felt that the veil (or membrane as you so eloquently put it) was very thin between “here” and “there”. I’ve had anxiety and depression virtually all my life, and after she passed I was thinking it was going to be the first time I would start a new direction without either parent. I was sitting in our new kitchen contemplating all the boxes that needed to be unpacked and how I had a “fight or flight “ attitude about doing it. At that moment a feeling I can’t describe came to me- so of bypassing my intellect- like someone lightly brushing past me. The words that were conveyed to me were, “It’s ok- go ahead and unpack “. I love the idea that there is only a thin veil between us and what’s really happening. I think one of my favorite stories is the “Road to Emmaus”. The two men were totally unaware of what was going on and who they were talking to until they broke bread.

  12. Michael says:

    Owen,

    You have spied out the heart of the matter…it’s all about hope and a God who gives it…

  13. Michael says:

    Karen,

    Thank you for sharing that…I think you have interpreted your experience well…

  14. Officerhoppy says:

    Michael
    I still grieve the loss of my best buddy Maggie. I had to put her down a few years back. She was a Carin Terrier like Toto. She would sit at my feet as I prepared my weekly sermon.

    Regarding your cat Chester, I couldn’t help but think of the line in the song “The Weight” by The Band”, “hey wait a minute Chester, you know I’m a peaceful man. He said ‘that’s ok just feed him when you can”

    I hope that doesn’t offend you.

  15. Dan from Georgia says:

    Very beautiful Michael and thanks for writing and publishing this.

    This may sound weird and unorthodox, but sometime I wonder if our older beagle Andy can see our beloved angel Sophie (whom we put down in 2017) at times. We have two beagles, Andy and Izzy, and Andy our older beagle was with us when we had Sophie. After Sophie, Andy was alone for about 6mo to a year, and he seemed kinda mopey. Wife and I think that Andy and Sophie had become a bonded pair. Somedays Andy is just staring off into a non-sensical corner of our house or uninteresting wall. Nowadays when we let Andy out back, he just sits there looking off into the distance, almost as if he’s waiting for something, or someone.

    Can’t type anymore. This is too precious and sensitive a topic to continue.

  16. Dan from Georgia says:

    (composed myself)…

    meant to add that sometime my wife and I think that Andy can see Sophie somehow, either in the house or outside.

    Love Never Dies.

  17. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    No offense…never heard the song.
    Knew the cat well…

  18. Michael says:

    Dan,

    There is something going on in these situations that is over orthodoxy, but does not challenge it.

    I consider these moments and the possibilities they present as gifts from a loving God…reassurance for now and motivation to keep going toward where He and they are…and I don’t give a hoot in hell what anyone else thinks.

    God bless your heart, my friend…

  19. Dan from Georgia says:

    Thanks for your response Michael and for walking a similar path.

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