Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mixed Feelings and Thoughts on Eternal Life

Is it possible to feel both good and bad at the same time? If so, how does one balance the two emotions to keep from slipping into utter chaos? That is the challenge I wrestle with at the moment.

The good feeling stems from the fact that my wife was promoted last week, on her birthday no less. I am happy for her and proud of her. She certainly deserves it. We celebrated the events (promotion and birthday) by going to dinner with our son to a nice Italian restaurant. No one can say we aren't doing our part to stimulate the economy.

The bad feeling comes from the fact that my best friend lost her job last week. It was a job she took because her existing job had been moved to my location and to me.

When she called to tell me what had happened, she went out of her way to make sure I wasn't feeling guilty about the turn of events. As she rightly stated, her old job was going away whether I was the one who took it or not. I have, though, managed to feel guilty about that fact since she and I first met.

At the time of her call, however, I was not feeling guilty. I have since started to feel that way a little. Somewhere inside me is the notion that this latest job would have worked out if she had not had to divide her time between it and training me. In my head, I know there were other reasons for keeping the old job while beginning the new one, but my heart can't quite escape the guilty feeling.

Worse still, her day had started with her having to have her 13-year old dog put to sleep. For those like her who are able to form special bonds with their pets, having to put a pet down is like killing one of your children. It hurts like hell.

When I was a boy, my cat got into a fight with two dogs and lost. I sat with him for an hour or so until he died. Then I cried for him and for me and what had been lost. Last week, I cried for my friend and for her loss because I knew a little of what that loss felt like.

One thing I asked my friend to hold on to was the memories of the times she and her dog spent together. I told her and I believe that as long as we hold the memories in our hearts, that loved one, whether human or pet, is never really gone, never really dies. I am beginning to think that is part of what eternal life is, what it means to live forever.

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