surprise endings

For many years in late summer I have enjoyed a week in the cool, forested North Carolina mountains in the heart of the Blue Ridge. It’s kind of a reset. On the surface my life appears stress-free… I am retired, my son is grown and living a happy, successful life on his own. But stuff does happen. Things build up. So these precious few days alone in the cooler air seem to clear my head and I get maybe not a do-over but a restart.

This is usually in prelude to a visit with my family at a beach south of where I live. We’ve been meeting there for the past ten years, for a week at a little inn where the same families come back each year. For better or worse it is our “family vacation” and I always look forward to it.


Until Lily.

Two weeks ago today we were outside for the last perimeter check before bed. The people on the other side of the fence behind my house have a super-aggressive dog that loudly charges the privacy fence between us. Rescue dog Lulu, all 20-pounds of terrier responds in kind. Rescue dog Lily, somewhat protective of her little sister wandered over to be sure aggressive neighbor dog failed at her efforts.

Then Lily quickly walked back by me and sat down. Hard. I looked over at her. “Lily?”


She turned to me. “Can you come over here?” I asked. She rose, painfully and with a pronounced limp came over to me.

No. But yes. The other acl is now torn.

So no plans. Cancelled the little mountain cabin the end of this month (I’d planned to bring Lily and Lulu this year). The only pet sitter I trust Lily with declined staying with her, understandably concerned about the intensive care Lily will require after her surgery.

I have not yet told my family I won’t be joining them though I have cancelled my reservation at the inn.Β  There is a reason for everything.

I reflected on life, years ago in my chaotic vortex, newly divorced, sudden responsibilities of single parenthood, jobs, schools for my son, sitters, car maintenance, the whole aspect of LIFE that happens for everyone but I had never had it all. And I believed that. I believed it was all on me.


Bit by bit, mistake by mistake I gradually learned I could depend on God. No matter what it was… a new clutch for my car, an unexpected medical bill, leak in the ceiling. No, God did not come here to fix these things Himself. But He gave me peace. He strengthened me when I wanted to run away. He helped me persevere, gave light and calm in the storms.


And I remembered my feeble prayers! Sometimes just a faint, “Help, please!” And He did. He heard me. He strengthened me. Every time. For any reason, crisis or not. He truly never left me. He keeps His promises, even when we forget, ignore, disbelieve or panic. He doesn’t give up on us.

My prayers in those times weren’t great. Sometimes I don’t think even I believed them. But He did. Because what or how or why I prayed them was not the point. His faithfulness is all that matters.


So Lily and I will get through this. And about the time she is finished with her physical therapy and beginning to be strong the weather will have cooled enough for her to enjoy her walkies again.


26 thoughts on “surprise endings

  1. Poor Lily. Our Heathcliff has gone through the surgery twice. And although I would never wish suffering on anyone, it is through suffering that we humans grow. Thank you for your post. Praying for all.

  2. finding the positive in a situation is something I’m working on right now. I admire that you can do that – and when it’s cool and Lily is walking without pain, you will look back on this summer and say goodbye, see ya, we survived it.

  3. Praying for Lily, and you. I am sorry this happened but you have the attitude I have been searching for the past few trying weeks. I appreciate this post because it is just what I needed to read. I thank God for using you πŸ™‚

  4. A wonderful post – enjoyed reading every word. May God bless you each day and may you get to the next family reunion and have that trip to the mountains again. God is always by our side to help us – even when we turn from Him and think we are alone. Praying for you and Lily. Peggy

  5. So beautiful and so true; I just went through a storm myself; maybe 80% of something similar back in 2010 or 11; not sure when but it was painful but I grew because I refused to complain, I trusted Him in it even when I didn’t feel His presence when crying out to Him and He got me through and shared some neat things with me that I will probably share on my own Blog post soon. Yes Ekurie, He is faithful to complete what He started and I’m so glad I know Him as my Savior and Lord!

  6. it was good to come by and read these great quotes again

    thanks for sharing them

    hope lily is recovering well

    very cool ur family meets together for past decade

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