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Her name was Sadie—part this and part that, but mostly she was heart that she shared with her owner and my friend for sixteen years—until this morning.

Soulful brown eyes, floppy ears, smooth-haired brown and black coat, she was a companion to relatives, neighbors, kids, visitors, and other dogs. Her tendency to share her spirit so liberally was tendered by her owner, selfless and kind.

Whatever experiences Sadie had with a previous owner are unknown, but whatever their quality, she quickly bonded with her new one. Early years of romping outdoors, of sharing life’s joy and hits only deepened their relationship all the more. Daily walks among well-wishers, routine appointments kept at the vet and the groomer, care with nutrition and hydration kept Sadie fit and spirited and welcoming.

Then, signs of aging required more attention. Systems and joints slowed down, even requiring a ramp hitched to the back porch for access to their bungalow. Sensory deficit and signs of dementia appeared, necessitating nightly vigils that kept both awake. But last night’s was the worst. The decision was made.

It happened this bitterly cold morning. Close neighbors wrapped Sadie in blankets, held the tearful homebound owner, and left for the veterinarian.

Their later return completed the story, midst more tears and hugs and camaraderie.

Sadie’s spirit has completed her sojourn here, and continues on, per the research of world renowned medium spiritual James Van Praagh. His latest, Wisdom from Your Spirit Guides: A Handbook to Contact Your Greatest Teachers (2019) opens up this world to readers.

Sadie’s owner was critical to her psychic growth and I believe they will be reunited—here and in the beyond.

From wintry darkness emerges the Old Testament prophet Zephaniah who concludes his short prophecy with a Psalm of Joy:

Yahweh your God is in your midst,

As a victorious warrior.

He will exult with joy over you,

He will renew you by his love;

He will dance with shouts of joy for you

As on a day of festival.

These consoling interventions of Yahweh God are addressed to the anawim or lowly, poverty-stricken Jews living in Judea under the reign of the corrupt King Josiah in the seventh century, BCE. These are the remnant who remained faithful to the law of Moses; they’ve not engaged in the worship of Baal, a pagan goddess of agriculture, nor any filthy practices of their neighbors.

What precedes this Psalm of Joy, however, are Zephaniah’s condemnation of the religious and moral corruption of his people and the dire destruction of Judea on the Day of Yahweh. Underscoring these shattering pronouncements is Zephaniah’s sense of sin as a moral offence against the living God: abomination of abominations.

In my perception, nothing has changed much—even the scraggly street preacher (that I once saw while stopped at a red light) and his words, “Jesus saves! Jesus saves! “careening from his hand-held microphone under a sweltering sun.

Yet, this Psalm of Joy is included in today’s readings for the Third Sunday of Advent celebrated in the Christian liturgy. There’s still time to learn …

If you look closely, you’ll notice a cypress sapling growing within the fork of a city maple tree, the summer’s anomaly that caught the attention of a dear friend while walking her dog. Because she wanted larger exposure of her experience, she sent it on for my blog.

The genus of maple tree comes from the family Sapindaceae, with one hundred and twenty-eight species; while the cypress tree, from the family, Cupressus, with multiple species. Although an ardent lover of trees, I’ve never studied them. Still, the odds of two differing species sharing the sap of life, constitutes strange beauty that tingles the senses.

If you look even more closely, this photo also evidences Creator God’s handiwork, of which we are a minuscule part; it speaks more trenchantly than words, sourced from mystics that wobble in articulating the Unknowable, from whence comes LIFE—however we understand it.

Mystery surrounds us. It’s always been that way, apart from fleeting glimpses of the ordinary/extraordinary, cherished by my dear friend and shared with us. Such enrichment quickens our faith and trust as we continue trekking the next dark wood for more lessons.

And there will be more glimpses…

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