So today was a pretty rough day. One of those I’ll remember for a long time. My son and I put our dog in the car and we took the long drive to the vet. Today would be Hammy’s last day.
Hamlet is my big black Great Dane. Named for Shakespeare’s Prince of Denmark…(He’s Danish, get it?. It’s a stretch, sure, but tongue-in-cheek enough for me.) If you know me at all, you’ve likely heard a “Hammy story”. If you’ve come to my house, you’ve been leaned on, sat on, and loved on by the big oaf. You’re barked at as an intruder on the way in, but you leave as a friend.
He’s protected us. He watched over my little boy when he took his bath. He barked when we wrestled. He cuddled on the couch. He snored. And he provided big warm hugs on bad days (nothing beats a hug from a big dog!). He’s been a huge blessing to our family.
I really do love that dog. If you don’t get it, you’ll think I’m pretty silly. If you do, this will all make perfect sense.
So there my son and I sat on the floor of the veterinarian’s office. I’d just received my last kiss. The final shot was administered and we watched as life left him. The vet and his assistant respectfully left, and I held my dog, and held my boy, and we cried and cried and cried. The pain in my chest threatened to burst my heart, but instead it overflowed through hot tears down my face.
Exhausted, I sat back. I looked at Hammy. I tried to reason with myself. “He’s just a dog!” But a greater emotion shouted back: YOU LOVE HIM!
Then it hit me. I think this is why God gave us dogs in the first place. To love and care for something less than us, and to come to a significant realization: This is how God loves us. We are so much less than Him. I mean, we’re just people, created, fallen, sinful. And He is Almighty God. Creator. Savior. But He loves us.
I considered that when one of us turns from Him, shuts Him out, walks away…that it hurts him. Not that we can do Him damage, but that he feels that aching pain in His heart for a lost soul. To risk losing every last one of us was too much! To die for us, little us, insignificant us…was an easy choice. I imagine the angels said, “But they’re just people!”
I think that if I could take on Hammy’s pain to keep him going away forever, I might consider doing just that. Reason or theology might tell me otherwise, but I am speaking from a raw heart.
Hammy is dead because of my sin. Well, all of our sin. Mankind. Adam sinned, and sin entered the world. It didn’t just affect him, and every generation to come, but it affected the plants, the animals, the earth, the planets, the galaxy, to the ends of the universe. It brought death. Decay. Destruction.
Jesus died for sin, and for the effects of sin. To take it all away. He will redeem his whole creation. He will create a new heaven and a new earth. And there will be no more death. And He saw that as no insignificant thing. Thank heaven.
I sat in that room with my son and held him tight, our tears temporarily through. I was proud of him. (He said, “I was there at the beginning, I felt I needed to see it through.” That’s my man!)
We talked about all of these things. We thanked God for our Hammy. And together, two crying men, gave him one last hug and said goodbye.
Thank you Jesus for such a great reminder of your love!
We’ll miss you Hammy!