John Lynch not only talks a lot about grace, he embodies grace in his interactions with those around him. And when he doesn’t, he’ll talk about that too. Besides his transparency, we love John because he is good at seeing people as God sees them, and calling it out to them. Plus he wears fun shoes. John will be speaking at Sandy Cove this summer during Family Camp Week 4. This article is shared from JohnLynchSpeaks.com
Not long ago, my dog Bali passed away. She was sixteen.
Wherever God has you on your journey, I hope you enjoy this piece I wrote many years ago, when Bali was young...
About a week ago, my family and I came back from a vacation at Newport Beach. It was a great time. I was allowed to take naps and mindlessly surf cable stations through Ginsu knife infomercials and reruns of Barnaby Jones. None of this, of course, am I allowed at home — Stacey works me pretty hard. But I digress.
With us, was our Golden Retriever, Bali. I like her more than I do most humans. We made a bed for her across the front seat, while all three girls crammed into the back. Did I mention I really like her? Bali loves the car and I often take her on short trips to the park, or to pick up something I forgot at the office. But she soon realized this would be different. We were about 45 miles away from Phoenix, entering the world’s most desolate stretch of desert wasteland. She stared out the window and then back at me, as if she was saying, “We’re not going to the park, are we? And hey, we’re going really fast. You’ve never gone this fast before. And I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’m not wearing a seatbelt.” (Maybe I’m over-reading her comments, but I don’t think so.) Then she studied me for a long time as if she was thinking, “Master, do you have a plan? Are we gonna be alright? Can we just go home? I’m really thirsty.”
In that moment, it dawned on me that Bali was the only one of us who didn’t understand what was happening. The rest of us knew the plan. We knew where we were going. For all Bali knew, we were moving, or she was being taken to the animal shelter for some indiscretion back home. All I could do was try to reassure her by stroking her fur and whispering that everything would be alright and tell her that soon she’d be running free at the beach. All of which I’m sure sounded to her like, “We are going to abandon you here in the desert at the next mile marker.”
By the time we got to Blythe, she had to pee. When I let her out at their grim version of a park, she looked at me and shook her head, as if saying, “Let me see if I understand this correctly. You want me to pee here? I thought we were friends.”
For the next several hours, she couldn’t get settled. She was panting and drooling from fear or confusion. Then something beautiful happened. She took a deep sigh and laid her head down heavily on my right hand. Soon she was fast asleep, unbuckled in a Honda Element, barreling down the highway faster than she’d ever gone, to a place she’d never been.
I didn’t move my hand for almost a hundred miles. Even in those desolate surroundings, she knew I loved her and would protect her at significant cost to myself. It touched me to see how much my dog was counting on me to be a good man; how much she trusted me.I’ve been reflecting on that ride for the last several weeks. Bali’s journey is not unlike my journey with God. Although He knows exactly where we’re going, it’s lost on me. I have no idea why certain events happen each day — I mostly just feel like I’m along for an out-of-control ride. Sometimes it feels like things are occurring because of something I did wrong. The road goes mostly through deserts, it’s uncomfortable and cramped, there are way too many stops that look like Blythe, and we’re going really fast and I’m not wearing a seat belt. Much of the time I’m panting and sighing out of confusion and fear, and all I’ve got going for me most of the time is this dogged conviction that He is good and He is not playing a game with my heart — that He knows exactly where I’m going, and at some point in the trip, I will get to watch a sunset with my family on some beach. So finally, I lay my head upon His hand. And He doesn’t move it. Those are the times I am at peace. Those are the times I rest and enjoy life, even though everything around me is chaotic. I’m pretty sure my trust touches God’s heart too.
The featured picture is not of John's dog...photo by Rachel Kirk from FreeImages