Holding the Tension

A year ago today, I spent the day holding our beloved dog Duke as we waited for the vet to come over and put him to sleep.  Just a day and a half prior he began to show signs of illness and we discovered he had an aggressive liver cancer that only shows signs when the tumors start to bleed and the animal is near death.  It was a terrible day and also a profoundly holy one as I had the privilege of holding his beautiful body as he passed over from this life into the beyond.  Duke’s death left a large hole in our lives, he was such an amazing companion and teacher.  Even with our sweet Tune, I still miss Duke each day and long to hold him against me one more time.  The sadness of this anniversary began to wash over me last night.  I don’t know why bearing losses is woven into the fabric of this world, but I do know that we are called to great sorrow over it.   It is not enough to praise beauty, we must also cry out and lament that what we love is gone or is not yet. I believe that the spiritual life is holding these two in tension — praise and lament — which is also the way the psalms show us how to pray. 

We went to the Burke museum today to see the Native American arts celebration they were holding this weekend.  It felt like the right place to honor the memory of a noble creature who radiated his presence through our lives and continues to do so in story and memory.  We watched beautiful dancing, heard engaging storytelling, and watched Native artists at work in their crafts.  We also got to see a beautiful photography exhibit which recently opened there called Yellowstone to Yukon with stunning photos by German photographer Florian Schulz.  I ended up buying the accompanying book, but if you live in Seattle it is worth the visit to see these images blown up.

-Christine Valters Paintner @ Abbey of the Arts

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