My grandfather always told me if you had two or three true friends in a lifetime you were a lucky human. His terms were strange and unbelievable, at least to a high school boy who was fairly popular, played basketball and was known all over school. That was until I get older and noticed my so-called friends becoming harder to find than a winning Powerball ticket.
I connected with one of my closest and truest friends merely because of the catastrophic loss of another relationship I held very dear.
My buddy Gage was dying from old age. He was a sage of kinds the different types with which I had a lot in common. He loved the outdoors, was an avid hunter, and was dedicated not only to me but also to my family. We didnt get at spend near as much time together as I would have liked because my work didnt gives people much availability outside of weekends. However, the countless frosty wintertime mornings we spent duck hunting together will never be forgotten.
Gage was unbelievably smart and had a type of sixth sense enabling him to know when something was incorrect with me even when I tried to conceal it. Even though I was the one always doing the talking, I felt he understood every term I spoke. Better yet, he was a great listener. He wasnt the different types who seemed through you as though his mind was somewhere else , nor was he the kind who interrupted your thoughts; he simply always constructed you feel like he really cared and understood.
When the news arrived that his internal organs were failing from old age, I was consumed with heartache. My wife, three kids and I all went together to pay our final respects. When the moment came for the veterinarian to set him to sleep, everyone left the room except my oldest son and me. Gage had been my sons Christmas present 12 years earlier. Neither one of us could conceive letting him leave this globe without us by his side.
Gage was unbelievably smart and had a type of sixth sense enabling him to know when something was incorrect with me even when I tried to conceal it. Even though I was the one always doing the talking, I felt he understood every term I spoke.
After he took his last breath, my sobbing household loaded him up to take him to the country for burying. Upon arrival, we wrap him in a blanket, took turns telling a prayer of thanks and buried him under a shade tree which is something we believed that he would rest in peace. A white cross emblazoned with his noble name marks his grave.
Gage defined, in many ways, the characteristics of allegiance and unconditional love.
After Gage passed to the next life to cavort outside the gates of heaven until we are reunited to walk through the pearly gates together, or so I choose to believe, I was ascertained not to buy another yellow laboratory. I knew it would stir too many comparings and memories and end up being an unjust comparing. After all , no other dog could ever live up to the standard.
That was until a dear friend e-mailed my spouse a picture of a beautiful yellow Labrador puppy. His email said he wanted to give me the dog as a gift because he would be proud to know this dog was by my side. Less than one week subsequently, Cross became the newest is part of our family.
Cross weighs 102 pounds, is an incredible hunter, and has an extensive vocabulary of words he understands. He sleeps inside on a leather sofa, obeys commands by hand and whistling, and has become one of my most treasured friends. His head and body are so large people often ask me if he is a full-blooded Lab. I always say yes, but its a lie no matter what the American Kennel Club tells, he is more human than he will ever has become a Labrador retriever.
If a men character is best known by his relationships, then Cross builds me look pretty darn impressive. While relationship is virtually impossible for me to define, because its depth, complexity and feeling is beyond justification, I can easily see it. It is in the shape of four legs, velvety floppy ears and a golden wagging tail and always answers to the name of Cross.
Jay Lowder is a full-time evangelist and founder of Jay Lowder Harvest Ministry and writer of Midnight in Aisle 7: Sometimes God Introduces Himself Outside the Church Walls. Follow him on Twitter at @jaylowder or @jlhministries .
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