Last week our 13 year old white dog collapsed on his daily walk, my adult daughter was alone with him and his sister for an hour in the local park as dusk gave way to darkness. Her phone was low battery, I was at a Church council meeting and had forgotten to take my phone with me and her father was flying home from an interstate business trip. A kind cyclist, helped her carry the dog to the car, we only know his name was John and that he too had had a dog collapse like that on a walk. Our thanks go out to the kindness of this cyclist, even though we may never see him again to do so personally.
But this is only the prelude to the issue I want to share with you this week.
We took our dog to the 24hr Vet, but he didn’t make it and when the time came to say goodbye, incidentally on our other daughter’s Birthday. I did something I sincerely never thought I’d get a chance to do again. I prayed opening, with my adult children, and here is the other incredible thing, they did not criticise me, nor complain loudly that I was a “freak”, we all stood, in a circle as I openly prayed, just as I did when they were young, before they knew better and rejected this faith I had been sharing with them. They gave me space, and the gift of respect for something that was intrinsic in me, the need to place all before God. This was going to be tough on us all, and I needed God’s strength in my family and my children gave me that. It felt natural, and so it was it was something we shared everyday of their lives until the middle of High School, their mid -teens.
My husband and I had agreed that when they refused to go to church we would not force them. That time duly arrived, in fact I was surprised on both occasions because I had felt that as a faith practising family unit this wouldn’t happen. But it did. And we maintained our pact. I didn’t want them to rebel, but I have experienced the loss of sharing within my faith with my children, because of that. I have often wondered if I had held firmer to the view that this is what we do and you must do it. That they would not let it go. My husband often waves the fact that the children follow his football team not mine as a sign of achievement for his good parenting. So, on that basis their loss in my faith journey has been turned on my parenting. But God gave me free will, and as a practitioner of the Christian faith I can not deny that to the people I love dearly. But every now and then I reap the rewards of that effort I put into these young people, like at Boyd’s death, and we all prayed again, like we did when they were young.