One of the sweetest pets I have known was a fluffy salmon-colored cockatoo. Bruno showed curiosity and love to everyone she met. (She was named before the owner definitively knew her sex.)
Bruno liked to be with people more than any other activity, including eating. She had a rich vocabulary usually used to persuade her human handlers to give her what she wanted. Loud screeching in the morning or evening meant "Where is my flock?" or "Come get me out of this cage." When she wanted a bathroom break, "Got to go bye-bye." My favorite was "Are you my honey, honey?" This was a signal she wanted to cuddle her head on your neck.
The bird used various looks and motions as well. Spreading out a wing meant "please scratch me under my wing." Staring at specific food items usually meant "I would like a bit of that banana" or "how about a nut for Bruno?"
There were many times when I would arrive home and feel totally worn out from the day. One look from that bird would re-energize me and make me glad to be home. Her unconditional love and unmistakable joy at seeing me washed away a lot of cares. Stereo-typically, she loved to get on my shoulder and ride around the house while I did routine chores, made dinner, etc.
When Bruno passed away unexpectedly one Winter, it was a soul-crushing blow. I bawled like a child when they brought me that ball of fluff all wrapped up in a blanket. Wisely, the animal hospital had a grieving room where it was safe to accept the stark truth that a beloved pet had gone on to their reward.
It is comforting to know that we have a God made flesh who cried like we do. At the sight of human mourning, John 11:35 tells us "Jesus wept." Though he knew that he was about to resurrect the body at this particular wake, he felt so much compassion for his friends that he cried. Sometimes, we need someone to help us through our grief.
Capital Baptist Church in Annandale, Virginia is about to embark on another 13-week session of Griefshare. This amazing program includes videos featuring prominent Christians talking about their losses, workbooks and small-group discussion. It is for anyone who has lost someone dear. If you are grieving and would benefit from such a program, please consider joining us if you live in the Washington, D.C. area. We will meet on Wednesday nights at 7p beginning January 25. I will be co-leading the group with Anna Innes. Send me an e-mail for more details about sign up.
If you are not in the Washington area, there are locations around the Country offering this program. I've been through Griefshare and it helped me immensely. Click below for the Griefshare website to learn more or find a group near you.