The other day someone criticized me for how I have dealt with my aging dog Cindy. After being unemployed for two years, I decided to temporarily abandon my job search to stay home and care for Cindy. Since she was 16 ½, I figured that she would not be around much longer. The person alleged that I was wasting my time and money, and questioned how this path could be God’s purpose for my life.
Disclaimer – the bottom line is that this is my call. I am fully aware of the financial, relational, and other impacts of my decision and am prepared to accept them. I am neither soliciting nor receiving assistance from the government or other sources and this is not an issue of Cindy’s quality of life. I believe this is where I am supposed to be for now.
Yes, there are times when Cindy’s needs are challenging and frustrating, but there are still plenty of rewarding times as well. Am I supposed to look into her sweet face and say, “Baby Girl, I know you have been a great companion for 16 ½ years, but I am going to have the vet kill you because this is not convenient for me anymore.” Are you kidding me? What about the commitment I made when I took ownership of the six-week old puppy? Sure, she has issues and needs help with some things, but if she can still eat, walk, and do other things a normal dog does, can I just abandon my responsibility because it is periodically difficult?
So, where is the line between ethics, responsibility, and comfort? We want to be comfortable all the time and woe to the one who disrupts that comfort.
This issue highlights an intrinsic problem in our culture. Today in the United States, we live in a Disposable Society. The motto is – “If something is not working for you, get rid of it.” Manufacturers design products with a limited life span and in a bzillion different types so you will regularly buy new products, because that is how they make money. Do not worry about the effect on the environment, just dispose of the old, and buy new.
The same holds true in a rising percentage of relationships. Life can be hard. Relationships can be hard. Yet we are so addicted to comfort that at the first sign of trouble, we want to abandon ship. This person or issue makes me uneasy, so I will dispose of it. Couples split, friends abandon friends, parents neglect or abuse children.
What wanton hubris is this?* We end up with superficial relationships based on feelings that constantly fluctuate. This translates to fluid families where children have multiple combinations of half-siblings and stepparents come in and out of their lives. We do not honestly share our hearts with friends because if they say one thing wrong we will never talk to them again. <- Before anyone thinks I am preaching this from a pedestal, rest assured I am drinking my own medicine. God has already shown me two specific situations where I am currently trying to run away.>
God bless the spouses that work through the difficult times, friends that talk it out, and parents that teach their children the importance of responsibility and commitment.
I am so thankful that God does not view us as disposable. The One who never changes has given us an everlasting Covenant. God will not let challenges or feelings come between us. He always loves us and constantly longs to be close to us. Thank you, Lord.
The Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Deut 31:6
I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one will snatch them out of my hand. John 10:28-29
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 8:38-39