I awake before the sun and lay still. My first awareness is the sound of my precious little girl’s breath. Her head rests against my body, and I know, God I know, how blessed I am. I breathe her in, slowly shift and rise. I make sure she is snug and warm, and then I wander.
I creep outside and see a soft light rising; the sounds of night still dance in the air. Fog hangs heavy, and with a warm mug of coffee in hand, I find my place in the world. I am the only one awake, and I savor it.
There is an old dog who greets me. His legs are so very worn, but his heart is not. It is untainted and faithful in the way only a dog’s can be. His cloudy eyes greet me. He can’t lift himself this morning, and I am reminded of the curse of age. I watch him struggle, and my heart swallows hard. Without much thought I place my coffee to the side and kneel to him. In the dust and creak of the wooden porch boards, I find myself in the mess. I take his dirty face in my hands, an inch from my own, and I scratch the spot his back legs can no longer get. I look into his old eyes, and my own start to overflow. As I whisper to him in the quiet, I am caught off guard by the wetness on my cheeks.
Life and love. Letting go. Moving forward. It’s all so messy, and in the kneeling into the mess to scratch the ears of an old dog, the juxtaposition of love is found. The heart is seen, and she is forever reminding us that she is a phenomenal creature. How, I wonder, is she so resilient? How can something be broken into so many tiny pieces but still keep beating as one? Even when we try to bury her, she rises. Strong and steady, beat after beat after beat, she keeps moving.
Is it possibly because God wired her to know the mess? He made the heart to be the one thing that never gives up despite all because it was always meant to be His. And God? He doesn’t quit.
My body, like the dogs, will quit. It will give up one day and no longer be compatible with earth. Until that day, let love be found in the mess. Let beauty be found on dusty floorboards where I come up needing to wipe dirt off my skin but my heart is smothered in what matters.