We don’t live there anymore.

I’m starting to realize I’ve cried more for a chihuahua mix this past week than I ever have for any human being.

I’m starting to worry about myself a bit.

But I’m also not worried one iota. This week has been the hardest and the best one of my life. For the first time, my toes have edged the threat of death, and I’ve gotten the opportunity to stare it directly in the face.

And I’m still here.

I’m realizing now where the suffering in my heart is coming from. Sure, I’m devestated I won’t see my dog again here on this earth, and there have been a few growing pains knowing life is still moving around me even when my chest feels empty (and that it’s probably less than beneficial for me to wear last night’s pajamas while watching Dr. Phil and eating icecream straight from the carton in bed – but how fun, right?). I have to go out. I have to look people in their faces. But what’s even harder to swallow than that is knowing I have to look back on the gift God gave me and weigh the purpose Roxie put forth in this world.

Love. Unconditional. It’s what she taught me. That, and having a gusto for playing ball and eating until you want to pass out. But I’ll probably take a rain check on the latter.

I’ve made it my life’s mission to do just this. It will look messy and awkward and have a complete Ericka twist to it where you’ll tell me something and then I’ll have you repeat it because I was busy daydreaming what it would be like to zoom through Wal-Mart wearing a jet pack.

I have a lot going on upstairs. Apparently.

But my heart will be in the right place even if I have to keep roughly repositioning it.

I didn’t cry last night. I didn’t have a panic attack, wondering about the void that is death and how it feels like its consuming every inch of me. I slept peacefully.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

It’s what I wholeheartedly believe.

Two things: Horatio Spafford wrote “It Is Well” after his son died in the Great Chicago Fire (which also ruined him financially) and four of his daughters died on a ship he put them on because he was delayed helping D. L. Moody with his upcoming evangelistic campaigns. His ship had to pass the exact location where his daughters had perished, and as his own ship moved past their final resting place, he wrote this:

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

That, my friends, is what true faith is.

People always ask why bad things happen. As a writer, I couldn’t understand a world in which they didn’t. The bad is a dark shadow on a lonely plane and on that lonely plane is a house. It’s where we used to live and wallow in darkness but at the right exact time, the moon comes, and hovers above, it’s great orb of white highlighted by the other side of the sun. And we are bathed in everything good, and we feel it too: the high of letting go and loving until it hurts, bits of us flecking off like dust back to the earth.

And then the door opens and our feet are spurned to move down the path, closer to God.

And at that exact moment, we realize, we don’t live there anymore.

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