Christmas Courage

It's nearly Christmas, the shopping is nearly done, the wrapping and shipping nearly finished. My first Christmas post-divorce, and my second without my children.

It's strange how grief rolls out over time. Dealing with the pain of distance from my kids has been a daily trial. The wrenching pain of this distance is a wound that has to be dressed every single day. Because of its severity, other pain gets pushed away, pushed down because there is only so much you can handle at one time, and pain related to children triumphs all others.

I looked at my puppy Charlie the other day, and remembered the dog I had to leave behind.

The dog I loved, and who loved me. I had no choice; my ex-husband needed Courage and loved him more than any dog we'd ever had. It would have been cruel to take him. Savage even. And despite the pain and rage and fear of my departure, I couldn't do that.

And so that little dog, who was also my favorite dog of all, the one who loved me best, had to stay when I left.

It's been almost two years, a long time in a dog's life. I imagine how he has aged. I wonder if he wondered what happened to me. I wonder if dogs can think back and remember.

But I don't stay long in those wonderings.

I can't.

God is good. He has given me this new little dog to love. So strange and funny and smart and weird. In loving him, I am beginning to be able to mourn Courage. Which I think, is a sign of healing.

Merry Christmas Courage. I am petting you in my heart.


  1. "Someone might ask, “Have you always had such contentment, Joni?” And I would have to answer no. I well remember the first Christmas I got out of the hospital, my first visit home since the accident. Depressed and frightened, I remember going to church with my family on Christmas Eve. One particular carol stands out in my mind. I remember singing, with tears falling from my eyes:

    Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace! Hail the Son of Righteousness! Light and life to all He brings, risen with healing in His wings.

    When we got to that third verse of “Hark, the Herald Angels Sing,” I thought, Im sure this Christmas season I’ll get up out of my wheelchair-risen with healing in His wings!

    Little did I know (and I don’t know if I would have understood even if you had explained it to me) that in due time, God would heal me-but on a level I would have never dreamed.

    Just two years later, on another Christmas, I found the very peace and contentment that had eluded me. I also found joy, simply because I had embraced His will for my life.

    And what is His will?

    That you and I be in the best position, the best place, the timeliest circumstance in which God can be glorified the most.

    For me, that place just happens to be a wheelchair.

    That happens to be my place of healing."

    Joni Eareckson Tada, A Place of Healing: Wrestling with the Mysteries of Suffering, Pain, and God’s Sovereignty, Kindle Location 469-77.

  2. Thanks for this encouragement Ike... A reminder that my place "just happens to be" where it is.

    Hoping your Christmas season is bountifully blessed.


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