Hellos & Goodbyes

“Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” -Job 2:10c, NLT

When we got our black Labrador Adi, our family grew to include her family.  Over these last five years we’ve watched as her mother Lady and older sister Diamond aged with grace.  We’ve also watched her littermates Nova and Maxine grow up and make their unforgettable paw print on all they’ve met.

This year our Labrador family has experienced a marked change.  We kicked off 2022 celebrating the addition of a rolly, polly yellow Lab puppy to Diamond’s family.  The puppy, who is named Jade, just happens to be our yellow Lab Summer’s full sister.  Just a few weeks ago we joined Nova’s family in welcoming Drake, a two-year-old Labrador rescue.  Sadly, this year has also had its losses.  Spring brought the heartbreaking loss of 5-year-old Maxine to a tick-borne illness.  A month later the time had come to say goodbye to thirteen-year-old Lady.

Diamond & Jade

With each addition, my heart celebrates.  I relish the pictures and phone calls that update us on Jade’s accomplishments and highlight the mentor Diamond is to this young pup.  I’m also enjoying my brother’s stories of their first excursions with Drake and hearing how Nova is helping him adjust to his new home. I can’t wait for Summer to meet Jade later this month and to see Drake frolicking through the fields come fall with Nova, Adi and Summer by his side. Just as my heart overflows with joy at these additions, it also struggles to accept the losses.

Drake & Nova (Also featured on title photo)

One morning as Adi, Summer, and I enjoyed our sunrise walk, I found myself reflecting on the two-way tug going on in my heart.  On one side I am rejoicing and thanking God for bringing Jade to our friend’s family and Drake to my brother’s family.  On the flip side, I still feel the heart wrenching pain that comes with the unexpected loss of a young, vibrant Labrador coupled with the sadness that our friend also had to say goodbye to his steady faithful, companion of many years.  On this side, my heart cries out to the Lord the question, “Why so much loss in such a short period?”  

Maxine & Lady

As the joy and grief battled back and forth, a verse from Job came to mind.  “Shall we accept good from God and not trouble.”  It’s so easy to praise the Lord for the good and much harder to praise Him in the loss.  Through Job, I was reminded that the Lord shares in my rejoicing and feels the depth of my grief. He is with me in the hellos and goodbyes, and it is from His constancy that my praises flow. 

“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away.  May the name of the Lord be praised.” -Job 1:21b

“God uses troubles to show us where true joys are to be found. ‘He gives the best and brings sweetness out of what is harsh, forbidding, and wholly unpromising.”

Timothy Keller*

*Keller, Timothy.  (2015).  The Songs of Jesus.  Viking.

© 2019-2022, Lessons from a Lab, Beth Alisan.  All Rights Reserved.

Photographs used with owners’ permission

23 thoughts on “Hellos & Goodbyes

  1. Such wonderful photos! We have a fourteen-year-old dog and I thank God for her every day. i do not know how much longer we will have our Bella, but I celebrate her time with us. Perhaps, since life is full of sunshine and shadows, we must endlessly fill our hearts with thanksgiving. There is that saying about how a grateful heart is a magnet for miracles. The shadows fall, and yet, our hearts cling to that light and hope of God’s love. Therein, we find that hint of joy that overcomes the grief. We see that God is always close, always there to catch a tear that spills from our eyes. Our every tear matters to Him and that is cause for endless celebration. Our blessings do overflow!

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  2. Thankyou for sharing these beautiful photos of your fur babies Beth! It’s so sad that we only get them for a fraction of our lives, yet from their doggy perspective we are ALL of their life. No wonder they are so loyal and loving!
    A wonderful post Beth, and very apt Scripture. Jade reminds me of our golden girl. So cute! 😍

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  3. 🙂 Enjoyed reading this. It is a good perspective for all of life. (I hope to get back to writing and reading blogs again soon, FYI. It’s been a sea-change year in a way that has tied up a lot of my time.)

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    1. Thank you Nora. A sea-change year sounds intriguing and also sounds like it will translate into some great reflective, thought-provoking blogs. I hope Finnegan is growing up into a fine young gentlemanpup.

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    1. Thank you Tierney! It’s truly is a difficult tug of war especially when the grief side seems to be winning. You are such a wonderful role model in the way you allow both the joy and the grief to have their moment to show. You also have such a tender way of processing both through your sewing and your writing.

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  4. A very poignant post Beth; grief is inevitable for sure, but also part of our learning process in life. It occurs to me how may we truly understand the sweet blessings without first tasting the pain. The Keller quote says it very well indeed. God bless you and your family today sister.

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    1. Thank you Alan! You are absolutely right that the pain makes the blessing all the sweeter. In his book The Problem of Pain, CS Lewis wrote- “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

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  5. Bobby Shields

    Beth this is so good! You are amazing! I think of these things more and more every day as I get older. Death is such a big part of life that we must deal with. I have had to recently conduct funerals for a 25 year old that went to school with Hannah, a close friend, and a church member. It is real!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    1. Thank you Coach! That must have been an incredibly difficult funeral to conduct despite the beauty that he is with Jesus right now. I can’t help but tear up thinking about sheer grief the family of Hannah’s friend must be experiencing.

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  6. I have also noticed those seasons Beth. Sometimes our wheelbarrow of life is heaped full of life and vibrant blessings, other times grief and loss…You have sure picked the right verse to describe the most healthy reaction we can have. It’s just good to walk with God daily come what may.

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  7. I suspected your “fur family” was larger but didn’t know it was this big!
    The two verses from Job fit perfectly at the beginning and ending of your post—like book ends.
    I’m sorry to hear of your loss of two Labrador friends this year. Our dogs are like family, and it hurts to see them go.
    I know this is selfish of me, but as I was reading I kept thinking “Please God, not Adi or Summer.”🐾🐾🐾🐾
    I enjoyed your post, Beth. They are always to the point and well put together.
    God Bless!

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    1. Thank you David! Each of these fur babies comes with some wonderful humans attached whom I now consider to be part of our family as well. We had tick borne disease scare with Adi back in January which made Maxine’s passing from a similar illness this spring all the harder.

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