Years ago when I first wrote this story of my dog Tank and his tail surgery, I thought the work was complete. It was meant to be a simple story about communication. It was about the journey I was taking with my beautiful dog. Tank was more than “just” a dog, and our conversations together went well beyond the dog directed commands of “sit, stay, and come.” And it was also about my life long journey and conversation with God.
Here’s the ending. Tank is fine. No surprises about a disaster during surgery. I am not able to write that kind of thing about my own dog of the decade. But really, this in about how to talk to Tankster and explain the details of what will happen to him and his recovery.
Me to Tank: “OK Tank, here’s the deal. You have a growing cyst at the end of your beautiful tail. The Doctor is going to try to remove it in such a way that we can save your fluffy white tail flag.”
Me to Tank: “I know that everything will be fine. But this thing can rupture. You could bleed out when I am not at Casa Canine. It needs to be done. Let’s go for a morning ride in the snow. I know you don’t understand. And I know you think you are going to the dog park. And I have to believe you are curious why we are not in the van with your Casa Canine housemates.”
Ok Tank, be good, I will be back for you later. These are good doctors.
Then I got the message on Facebook. from the Vet.
Vet: We had to dock the tip of his tail. It was a sebaceous cyst.
Me: I understand. thanks. I will miss his flag
Vet: He still has a flag. It’s at 3/4 staff…
And then Tank came home. He was on pain medications. And bandaged heavily. And he was good, until the morphine wore off.
Me: “I know Tank, I am sorry for your pain. We had to do this. I need for us to be together a lot longer. Please. I am sorry you are hurting. Can we snuggle? How can I ease your pain?”
Docking a tail is not a normal procedure for an 11 year old dog. Painful enough for puppies. But for a senior, well I guess it is similar to an adult tonsillectomy in human. But Tank it must be done. If the cyst continues to grow, and it is growing, it can burst. An you can bleed out. And something simple could become something tragic.
Oh how I wish I could be like Dr. Doolittle. The Tankster and I are linked in spirit and we seem to communicate. But it is not like he will blog, and he has never read any of my posts. How much easier would this be to explain why we had to remove the tip of his glorious tail. If I could just talk to the animals.
I have heard folks say something of this sort, “I wish I could become a dog, and just explain to my dog in dog language.” I watch the dogs communicate at the park, they really do speak a language they can understand between each other. Or at least that is the appearance of what I think to be true.
I really wanted Tank to understand. I really love him. I really wanted to take his pain. I hate to see him suffer. Many dog owners are like this I think. We talk to our dogs.
And of course, as it does do in my life, that starts my wheels turning about spiritual things. And this is my thought for the day.
If I were God, and I wanted to talk to people, how much easier would that be to come to Earth as a person and try to explain what was going on. If I were God, I would love for you to know me as you see me in Nature, and in babies and puppies, and in the stars and the mountains. And I would try to make it obvious.
But a moment of conversation, Person to person. Well that could make a difference. And for some, this is what happened in fact.
John 1: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. . . .The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Well I need to go now. Tank and I have some talking to do.
Since this was written Tank crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. My dog and I had many conversations over the years. He became one of my best friends. Tank’s ability to communicate with me far exceeded my ability of talking to him. Tank was indeed a master communicator, up to and including the day he told me he was ready to die. I have shared this in my blog entitled “Breathless.” Feel free to pause if you care to read.
For decades I have listened to the voices in my head. So much of what I see is below the surface of what is seen. I have learned and continue to learn. I ask, hoping it will be given. I seek, believing I will find. I knock on many closed doors, expecting one to open. And this is what has been required or me in order to learn the Language and Word of God.
God is not always easy to understand I hear His voice in the wind and weather and from the mountaintops and in the valleys. I experience a relationship with Him almost every day. If I listened, I know it would indeed be EVERY day. God is a good friend. He is both a gentle and harsh taskmaster. There are so many Words of God that I read in the Bible or the Word of God. Sometimes I read these Words and have not got a clue what is being said to me. Sometimes the meaning is so clear I wonder how everyone does not see in God, what I see. And sometimes I just stare into the abyss. Sometimes He is the Hallelujah Chorus…. wonderful, marvelous, the Prince of Peace, the Everlasting God, Emanuel, God with us, God with me. And Sometimes He is just a fricken mystery. There are those moments when I talk with Him that I truly have NO clue how anyone can have a relationship with this Transcendental God. And in these moments, I know more that ever that God actually loves me, and in is a relationship with me.
Within the last year, the year of 2020, the year of the Pandemic that I began to understand why God is so easy to meet and yet so hard to understand. It is at that moment that I remember my dog Tank. We spoke daily in some form or another. Simple words, and from those I learned complex lessons. And I know that Tank and I spoke different languages. And I remember that God and I try to speak the same language, only we speak it differently. Communicating with God REQUIRES that I understand Two languages. Though we use similar or same words, they are often not the same words at all. And what does that mean, you ask? God understands what I am saying, the fact is that it is only through God’s Filter that I can understand what He is saying to me. God and I speak the languages of different perspectives. God speaks The Language of the eternal and I, the language of time and space. And what does that mean?, you ask. Here is a thumbnail picture. It means that I, we, humankind who call themselves Christians number nearly over 2.5 Billion worldwide, attending 37 Million churches, including over 30,000 denominations. And what does that mean? To me it means God spoke clearly in the language of the eternal, and lots of folks interpret, including me, in the language of time and space.
Consider this if you will. I can tuck the Bible under my arm, The Word of God, and easily travel both hither and yon. (I am so proud, I have never written that phrase in my life, until this moment.) And yet, I can sit in a Theological Library 24/7/365, consuming book after article archived sermon, and never complete the reading of the volumes, and periodicals, and digital discussions such as this. All written, spoken, published to discern the interpretation of the Word of God which is written in one Book, tucked under my arm. God speaks in the ETERNAL.. “A thousand years in your sight, are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.” Psalms 90:4 And I hear the Virus tainted voices of my people cry out about the year 2020, and the people cry out, how long must we endure. Jesus’ brother James understood this language difference and wrote about it. For those who do not know, Jesus had siblings, and James was his half brother. And this is what James wrote 4:14, “yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” Although we speak of long days, and long waits, and long years, in the world of the eternal, we are but a puff of smoke.
So we speak differently. God and I converse, but we do not speak the same language. I can turn to a chapter and verse in any book of the Bible, and read about God. I can pray and praise and ponder and pontificate. I can read, revive, reveal, and reflect. I can wonder as I wander. I can understand that there is mystery, and I cannot ever fully explain the mystery that is God.
And so this I know. God has spoken to me. I am telling you I know this. Just Like My dog and I spoke with each other. But my conversation with Tank belonged to me and belonged to Tank. You could listen in, but I do not think you would understand what we were talking about. You would have to have your own conversation with Tank. I have friends who had those talks. And so it is also with God. You can listen in, but I am telling you… my conversation with God… it is mine. I encourage you to start your own dialogue with Him. Then you might understand the language of the Eternal One.