"Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It happens; or it does not happen. Grace happens."
This quote from a sermon by Paul Tillich, the theologian is something I am taking to heart this week. Those of you with pets know of the great pain I speak of. We had to put our dear Wellington to sleep after a valiant battle with cancer. While he may have lost his battle with cancer in the end he truly won because of how he spent his last year. We were able to provide him with a loving home in his last year. A loving home full of dog treats, adventures in the woods, long walks and a nice big queen size bed to sleep on.
I'll repeat the quote. "Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness." It is now that I realize the grace I need is already within me sent from God above. All I need to do is tap into that grace. It's that simple. While I still have moments of profound sadness, the grace I have been given helps me to realize what a gift Wellington was for our family. And what a gift we were to him.
A sermon given at St. Stephen's a few months ago had to do with the subject of faith. I quite regularly ask for faith in my daily prayers as I'm sure many of us do. And I truly believe that when we ask for faith, God most willingly gives it to us. But how are we to know that we have faith unless we are tested? That was the whole point of the sermon and it's something that has been at the front of my mind whenever I ask God for anything.
A dear friend sent me an e-mail this week with her interpretation of faith. It's remembering that no matter what, God is in control of the situation. He loves us more than at times we can comprehend. Accepting the situation is called faith. Faith that God knows the desires of our heart and wants the very best for us. When you have nothing left, you have to trust God. While at times I may not fully understand why Wellington is no longer with us, God does. It's letting that grace in that allows God to take control and heal my broken heart. It is in my humble opinion that this faith and grace work hand in hand.
I will close with this final quote for you readers to think about: "Faith is like stepping off a cliff and expecting one of two outcomes - you will either land on solid ground or your will be taught to fly."*Barbara J Winter
Matthew C. Thomas-Malani
March 4, 2011
In memory of Wellington Brooks, beloved dog
May 2004 - March 2011