I don’t know why the death of a dog is so hard, but it is. Last week we had to put our beloved Pip down, after fifteen years of love and loyalty and goofiness, and we miss him very much.
This little prose poem, from Light When It Comes (Eerdmans 2016), is partly in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of the first moon landing, but more in loving memory of this wonderful dog.
If there were an earthquake and you were on the moon looking down, you wouldn’t see any movement at all. The earth would seem to just hang in space, seas a deep blue, clouds creamy white.
And it’s good to look at life like this, from a distance, because it humbles us and exalts us and it makes us aware of how fragile life is and interconnected, the way it did the astronauts, gazing homeward through their hatches.
But it’s good, too, to zoom in and keep on zooming, from high up all the way down to the very pixel you’re in, to the living room and to the couch in the living room and to little dog sleeping on top of the back cushions of the couch, his head and his front paws draped over your shoulder in such a way that one day during Holy Week, when in the scene from the Last Supper in the gospel that morning the Beloved Disciple leans back in his love and his sadness and his grief against the chest of Our Lord, your left ear is pressed against the chest of that little dog, and you hear through the layers of his fur and the muscle and the bone the steady beating of his little doggy heart.
You sit there a long time. You hold very still.