I, like I’m sure so many others often do, tend to question why God lets loved ones die by unnatural causes and tragic circumstances. This past year I lost two good friends to drug overdoses, one was in his mid 50’s and the other in his mid 30’s. I also lost a very dear friend of more than two decades to an immune system failure, and just the other day my 4-year-old cat Smokey abruptly died due to his bladder bursting from a urethra blockage.
When my cat left in the carrier that morning to head to the vet from not being able to pass urine for almost 12 hours, I had prayed and prayed and laid hands on him, asking God to help him. Little did I know that the help would be to put him out of his pain permanently a mere hour later. At first when my partner returned home to tell me the terrible news, I was shocked and wanted to believe it was all a joke somehow. Smokey had been my rock over the past three years, constantly bringing me comfort whenever I was hurting from my health issues. How could God have taken him away when I needed him the most? Why would God do such a thing? Was this really the answer to all my desperate pleas and prayers I had done that morning and all the prior evening when Smokey had started not feeling well?
At that precise moment my partner had told me this heartbreaking news and stared at me in tears, all I could think of was that King James verse from Job 1:21 that said “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away” and believe me, it did nothing to comfort me. I’ve struggled in recent times to find comfort in reading the bible, having suffered for far too long.
As I thought about that passage, my anger began to consume me. I then pondered all the other awful deaths I went through this year and felt my physical pain overwhelming me, when suddenly I started cursing my existence just like Job once did with all the loss he went through.
I really wanted to take a drink or do a drug or act out in some serious addiction, just to numb the hurt, the pain, and the loss of the only thing I had in my life that represented 100% unconditional love. Not once did Smokey ever treat me poorly.
Thankfully, I kept all my sobriety and went out that afternoon and evening with a rapidly growing friendship to a guy named Mike while my partner decided to distract himself with his schoolwork. Mike has been such a blessing for me in a number of ways, including being able to make me laugh pretty easily, which normally doesn’t come that easily. After a few hours of hanging out with him over a meal, a coffee, and a drive, I felt much better and was far less self-piteous. It’s then I began coming into a greater place of acceptance.
The thought crossed my mind that if my partner and I had proceeded down the path we were considering that morning, that being to get immediate surgery to correct Smokey’s urinary condition he was born with, there was a very good chance it could create a long road of heavy vet expenditures, as we were told. For a guy like me with no job and no steady income, and a partner who supports the both of us, maybe indeed God saw best to take Smokey from this plane to save many expenses, headaches, and anguish? Whatever the reason why it was Smokey’s time though, I also had acceptance that he was at least no longer in pain. I had watched him countless times over the last three years sit in his kitty litter, sometimes for more than 10 minutes, desperately trying to pass urine.
So, in the end, I accepted that even if Smokey’s passing had nothing to do with God wanting my partner and I to avoid paying high vet bills in the future for his health, that God must have had a reason that was for the greater good for both Smokey and us. Accepting that made his passing much easier to deal with and ironically even helped to appreciate that biblical verse, even if it took me a good number of hours to get there, when I finally could say it really is ok that “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away” because in the end, it ultimately is.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson