A little girl, 4 years old, stopped me this morning as I was coming into the church. "My doggy died," she said. I knelt down and she came over for a hug.
Death is a harsh taskmaster. We are all caught up in its clutch from the moment we are born. We participate in it. We are affected by it. As much as we do not like death, it is always there. The ultimate pink elephant in the room.
Lent, these 40 days before Easter, are a season of self-reflection. Many Christians begin the season with a smear of ashes on their face and the words are said, "From dust you have come. To the dust you will return." A morbid moment really.
Yeah, death. Cold. Harsh. Real.
And there behind death is Christ. Laughing at the vain attempts to keep us in submission.
"Daddy said, 'Our doggy has gone to heaven,'" she said.
"Yes. And someday you will get to see him again," I said. And I thought of my favorite dog, Danny Boy. And how someday, after I have become dust, I will sit in a swing under a live oak tree, watching the late summer sun set with Tammy by my side, Danny boy at my feet, and a baseball game playing on the radio.