Looking More Closely by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

We just found out our sweet Mini-Goldendoodle, Jewel, has a heart problem. She’s had labored breathing and when she gets excited–like when we walk into the house after being away–she starts coughing. It’s breaking my heart because she has been the best dog we’ve ever had. So now, when I look at her, I don’t view her the same.

I think about the day she entered our lives as a puppy. We had a rendezvous with her breeder at a McDonald’s in Lewisville, Texas. The breeder held her out to us through her car window and said, “Here she is! It might take a while for her to adjust to you before she’ll play.” Jewel, however, immediately adapted to her new surroundings, defying the odds. She was playing the minute she walked in the door. I think about how, when we are away, even if it’s just a quick trip to the grocery store, she greets us warmly when we return as if we have been gone for days. I appreciate her loyalty, as she sits calmly at my feet while I am writing blogs like this.

I don’t look at her the same anymore.

After Jesus made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, His first stop was the Temple. Mark 11:11 says, “After looking around carefully at everything, he left because it was late in the afternoon.” As I read this passage today, I felt like this could have been a melancholy gaze around the Temple for Jesus. It was probably quiet, not bustling per usual. Perhaps He saw the moneychangers’ empty tables and was disheartened about what was going on at this holy place. The next day he would overturn all those tables. But maybe Jesus knew his time was short on Earth, so this was a long, emotional look around, like no other. After all this was the place he had spent numerous days teaching and arguing the Scriptures with the religious leaders. it was a favorite hangout. While he would teach there again, time was drawing to an end. I think this “careful look” was a type of goodbye. Because of this, I know Jesus understands how I am feeling right now.

While I am certain we have more days with Jewel, I can’t help looking at her in a different light. I’m appreciating her more as her end of days draws near. She has been a great companion and a faithful dog to our family. I see her from a different perspective—much closer—as I prepare to say goodbye.

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