January 31, 2015

Looking Forward Looking Back - Guest Blogger Alan Anderson

As I considered the theme of this blog there is something that immediately came to my mind. This past year was an emotional one for my family and I. It began with the death of one of our family pets after sixteen and a half years. Misty our Border collie spaniel cross, died on New Year’s Eve day of 2013. I’ve always loved having a dog in my life and can only remember a very few years without having a dog as a great friend.

My wife and I knew that sooner or later we would have to say goodbye to Misty and realized this was the time. We made our final journey with her to the local animal clinic nearby with our hearts breaking. The veterinarian approached the care of our old dog with compassion and great kindness. He informed us that she would gently fall asleep and feel no pain. It seemed like only a short few years since Misty was a pup full of energy and fun. The time had flown by and now it was time for goodbye.

A couple months after Misty died our second canine family member died after being with us for almost twenty years. His name was Angus and he was a Poodle. Like Misty it seemed Angus would always be with us. They brought my family and I much love in the way only a dog can.

Most recently on Dec. 22 of 2014 a dear friend of my wife and I, who happened to be the grandmother of one of our daughters in law, died. Her daughter and other family members gathered round her in her final days while she was a patient at the local hospice. “Granny” received very professional and tender care from the hospice staff.

A theme of loss, illness and death help sum up 2014 for my family and I. Needless to say our emotions have been all over the place. I have mentioned only a few experiences that visited us this past year. Some issues related to health and illness continues to this day.

I thank God that our lives need not be defined by the grief we experience. To endure grief that will most assuredly come into our lives looking forward may be even more precious. The Great Shepherd of our souls is fully aware of our experiences and readily relates to our grief and the joys that come our way.

From my point of view as a husband, father and grandfather I look forward to enjoying life with my family. Perhaps due to the ministry calling the Lord has given me it has made me incredibly sensitive to how brief and fragile our lives not only can be but also are. After almost forty years of local church ministry including pastoral ministry and other areas of leadership my wife and I are tending more to our family. I also have more time now to devote to a more focused period of writing and look forward to seeing where this season of renewed focus will lead.

Here is a promise we may all look forward to. “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Rev. 21:4)" Our grief, tears and even our deaths are not without meaning. God knows them and has graciously promised us they will one day pass away.

Alan is a husband, father, grandfather, brother, and friend. He was born in Dundee, Scotland but has lived in British Columbia most of his life. he ministered as a bi-vocational pastor for a number of years and is currently employed as a Spiritual Care professional in a couple of long-term care facilities. Such work/ministry has allowed him to come alongside many people over the years and listen to their grief stories. Especially in adversities, we are each other's teachers and companions. God shows up in amazing of often surprising ways even in the presence of complex of healthcare needs.


  1. Alan, your post describes well how there are seasons in our lives, how each is important, ultimately leading to the hope we have. The Lord has taken you on a winding life journey to provide the meat for your writing. You have a lot to share!

  2. Alan, Thanks for sharing with us. In this life we experience many things that bring sorrow and grief. Thanks for reminding us God is there and He wipes away our tears.

  3. It's difficult to deal with the loss of a pet or loved one. It's part of the circle of life.

  4. Thank you for the encouragement ladies! We are more than aware of the "trials" of this life. The sting of the hurts make the promise of God even more precious!

  5. Thanks for the promise from God's Word. And keep us updated on your season of renewed focus. It is true--we never know where God will lead us.

  6. Sweet memories. I had to take our sick Sally - Mom and Dad's little cocker spaniel to the vets after 15 years. It was tough. Then a few years ago I had to take Chloe, our German Shepherd, too. She had a terminal disease and could no longer walk. The vet left us alone as the medication coursed through her. I was there with my daughter and her children. It was a valuable lesson on loss, pets, death and more - but it was tough. Then, that is life, isn't it? Nice post, Alan. Thanks for sharing a bit of your heart. (And I lived in Renfrewshire, then Linwood!)

  7. I have lived as a boy with his dog so to speak for most of my life. It now seems really strange without one. My wife and I stayed with Misty,our border collie cross, after the vet administered the injection and I have to admit I wept. Angus, our poodle, died at home. They left me with a tenderness that remains for little kids who lose their pets. Tomorrow Terry and I will be with two of our grandkids as our son takes their old dog Bob for one last ride.


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