We learned a few things about our beagle/bassett, Lily, this week. On a long-overdue visit to the vet, we found out she wears a microchip — and she has heart worm disease.
Lily has lived on our farm for three years. She came to us from Florida via Tennessee and we don’t know much about her — except that she’s friendly, cute, lovable, very loyal, a good watch dog and an avid hunter. When Lily arrived, we already had two male dogs, but we’ve since lost one to old age and another to a speeding auto on our country road. Lily has been lonely, so we’ve begun hunting for a rescue-pal for her. The shelter I visited requires existing dogs of adopting families to be up-to-date on their shots, hence the trip to the vet.
When the vet discovered the chip, he gave us Lily’s ID number and a toll-free phone number so that we could find out if her registration is still active. It is, and we now know that Lily will turn seven years old on September 3. Lily’s part of our family, so we’ll celebrate that date. And, because not dealing with her disease could result in death, we’ll also begin a six-month protocol to rid her body of heart worms and help her to heal.
Handling Lily’s health issues this week got me thinking about the state of the human heart. We’ve been in the midst of some truly broken-hearted people recently. Feeling their pain makes me wish for a pill or injection that would bring about healing. Our sweet Lily’s heart is not broken, but it can become badly damaged without proper care. While her disease is blamed on an infested mosquito, disease that wounds the human heart is not so easily pinned down.
There can be many reasons for a “broken” heart:
- Loss of someone we love
- Loss of a career that has defined us
- Loss of a dream that has inspired us
- Release of our children so that they can take the next step on their journey
- Release of a grown-up child so that they can learn life’s lessons the hard way
- Release of a loved one to the care of a physician…..or nursing home professionals
- Knowing you face a future that isn’t what you had planned
- Knowing the truth — there are some things you will never be able to change
- Knowing the world is full of innocent people who suffer unjustly
A broken heart impacts the whole body. The effect can be crippling, and it takes time to heal. Lily’s heart worms are moving to other parts of her body. She will have to lay low for a time after the first of her three injections. It will require patience on her part and ours as we wait for healing to take place.
There have been days when a broken heart has laid me low. On those days, I’ve been like a sheep who has rolled over on her back and just can’t get up. Author Karen White, in her recently published devotional, points to this verse, John 10:11:
“I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd gives his life for the sheep.”
White reminds us that when we’re “down and out” and feel like we can’t get up — when our hearts are broken and we need time to heal — our Shepherd is there to care for us.
“…..we have a Shepherd, who reaches down and gently turns us over in order for us to stand. Jesus is the Good Shepherd who gave His life for us, His sheep. Thus, we have the reassurance that the next time we are on our back like a sheep all we have to do is look up to heaven and say with confidence…..
Roll me over Jesus!”
As we gently care for our Lily, I’m reminded I have a Father who cares so much more.
He cares about my broken heart.
He cares when He sees me down and out…flat on my back…exhausted or flailing…diseased or defeated.
And He’s in the business of mending.