To all the dogs I’ve loved before
This is a tribute to the three beautiful canine spirits that accepted my invitation to grace my life with their presences: Nicholas, Jake and Cassie.
And don’t miss the photos at the bottom of the page, of my newest canine friend, Tess.
What Thou Givest, O Lord, Thou Takest Not Away
by Rabbi Morris Adler
Shall I cry out in anger, O God,
because thy gifts are mine but for a while?
Shall I forget the blessing of health
the moment it gives way to illness and pain?
Shall I be ungrateful for the moments of laughter,
the seasons of joy, the days of gladness and festivity?
When tears cloud my eyes and darken the world
and my heart is heavy within me,
shall I blot from the mind, the love I have known
and in which I have rejoiced?
When a fate beyond my understanding takes from me
friends and kin whom I have cherished, and leaves me
bereft of shining presences that have lit my way
through years of companionship and affection.
Shall I grieve for a youth that has gone
once my hair is gray and my shoulders bent,
and forget days of vibrancy and power?
Shall I in days of adversity fail to recall
the hours of joy and glory Thou once had granted me?
Shall I in turmoil of need and anxiety
cease blessing Thee for the peace of former days?
Shall the time of darkness put out forever
the glow of the light in which I once walked?
Give me the vision, O God, to see and feel
that imbedded deep in each of Thy gifts,
is a core of eternity, undiminished and bright;
an eternity that survives the dread hours of affliction and misery.
The youth that once was mine
continues to course in memory and thought
and remains unspent even in age.
It lingers in the brightness still cast
upon the dimmer landscape age unfolds.
It gives vitality to the compassion,
and strength to the greater understanding
which many years of living and feeling
have brought as their enriching gifts.
Those that I have loved, though now beyond my view,
have given form and quality to my being
and they live on, unfailingly feeding
my heart and mind and imagination.
They have led me into the wide universe
I continue to inhabit, and their presence
is more vital to me than their absence.
What Thou givest, O Lord,
Thou takest not away
and bounties once granted
shed their radiance evermore.
Within me, your love and vision,
now woven deep into the texture,
live and will be mine, till Thou callest me hence
to another realm, where these moments of eternity
shall be joined together
in unbroken sequence
to form eternal life.