Freerange Friday: Change, Grief, and Gratefulness

by Lilly Lewin

By Lilly Lewin

For the past two weeks, I’ve been helping our youngest son move cross country from Nashville to Denver. I was recruited to be Uber Driver, Interior Decorator, and most importantly, Dog walker. My son had hip surgery in June so he really needed someone who could help him get settled in his new place and do all the leg work involved in moving, packing, unpacking, etc and helping his German Shepherd, Bane get used to his new environment while my son started school.

I’ve moved a dog cross country before and it takes care and compassion. Like me and many of us, dogs don’t really like change to their environment or their routine. It makes them anxious and uncertain and sometimes causes behavior changes. My son’s dog is champ. He did great on the long drive. We divided it up into three shorter days, that turned out to no to be that short due to everyone needing to stretch and have rest stops on a regular basis.

Bane has moved from a 92 acre farm to an urban high rise.
When you move from being a country dog to being a city dog you have to learn new things.
Like waiting for the elevator in order to go outside rather than just running right outside the door when Nature Calls. This can cause problems when your stomach is upset from too many changes all at once!

Consider the changes that you have made in your life in the past few months…
What were unexpected?
What were planned?
What surprised you most?

Job changes
Health related changes
Relationship changes… positive and negative

Like Bane, maybe you’ve had issues with the changes.
It’s hurt your diet and upset your stomach.
You cannot run free & off leash in this new season.
You have had to meet different people, and pets, and always be on your good behavior, especially in elevators!

Talk to God about where you are right now. Take some time to reflect on the various changes that have happened in your life. What things help you deal with change and make you feel safe? Like Bane in his house or on his tuffet.

German Shepherds aren’t always friendly, but they aren’t all scary attack dogs either. Bane is a fluff ball, a real sweetie, and he’s had lots of training, so he has nice manners. But when you see him, you have to deal with people’s fears and stereotypes.

Sometimes people are afraid of Bane, just because of his looks, they aren’t sure they want to ride in a small enclosed space (an elevator) with a very large dog, even though he’s being handle by a smiling mom who is 5”2!

Have you been misunderstood or miss judged lately?
Talk to Jesus about this.
Let Jesus have your pain and frustrations.

Or have you been the one to misjudge or be afraid of someone, or something because of your stereotypes or fears?
Confess this to Jesus and let him help you love rather than fear.

What about loss? Bane has lost all the familiar smells, sights, and spaces.  What have you lost in your life?
Have you taken the time to grieve the losses?
Have you stopped to celebrate the little victories or the big wins?

Too often we don’t take the time to mourn our losses.
As an Enneagram 7 , I don’t like pain in any form, and I’d much rather be on to the next adventure rather than sitting and processing a loss or or taking time to grieve a change that has taken place.
Jesus says “ Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.”
It’s worth stopping to sit in our pain and loss and learn what the gift is from the change and receive the comfort from Jesus.

Sometimes we need a change of scenery to have new eyes to see. Sometimes we need to learn to ride in an elevator. Sometimes we need to take time to get to know someone rather than pre judge them by their appearance or our stereotype of them.

The beginnings of a new seasons, and events like moving, give us opportunities to pause and consider and process changes. They also give us the opportunity to express gratitude and be grateful for the new things and gifts along the way.

I’ve appreciated the creative architecture of the neighborhood where I am walking Bane every morning and all the friendly folks walking their own dogs. I’ve appreciated all the beautiful flowers too.

I so appreciate the Methodist church for providing a poop station with dog walking supplies.. poop bags & trash can. It’s an awesome gift to the neighborhood! Now i just wish everyone would use it!

It makes me think of how I can be more helpful in my own neighborhood back home. How can you and I more practically serve our neighborhoods? As churches, as small groups, as individuals?

Providing a poop station on your property or a local corner
Providing a gift card for a family in need
Getting to know a local homeless person you see in the same place every week and learning his or her story. Finding out what might help them, like a gift card, a ride somewhere, or taking them out for a burger.

What things do you need to see with new eyes? Take a walk, ride an elevator to a new vista, explore a new neighborhood.
What new opportunities can you think of to serve your neighbors in the next few weeks?
What things are you grateful for this week?

I am Grateful to have the chance to explore a new place and enjoy a different climate ( It’s going to be really hard to go back to heat and humidity on Sunday.) Most of all, I’m grateful for the space and time to connect with my son and help him get settled in his new home as he starts this next adventure, and I am thankful that he has trusted me with taking care of his best friend.

©lillylewin and freerangeworship.com

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