Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Moving On - A Chapter From "Saving Grace

Chapter 47- Moving On

My husband and I had retrieved the rest of my things to be moved from my home to his. There was a box of dog toys on the porch which I couldn't bear to open. We had talked about getting another dog, looking at reputable breeders, checking ads; but I didn't think I was ready, waiting for a sign perhaps.

That night as we went to sleep I dreamed of my old dog Barkley, something I’d not done in several months.

* * *

In my dream life hadn't changed; my brother and Barkley were still with me and it was just a normal day of prayer and reflection.

On the wall is a crucifix, symbol of blood and wind, strength that follows me through my day.

As I enter the building the light shines on those small testaments of ritual, those things that bring peace and beauty to what could otherwise be chaos. A drape of white cloth upon which lies a cup; a candle there, unlit for now but soon to be anointed by flame.

I know he's waiting for me so that I can unburden myself. He's probably thinking as well, it's been so long since I've been back. I wait outside the door for just a moment, taking in the tranquil quiet, the peaceful shadow.

But first I will light the candle, for me, for souls unlit. For the ones I could save and those I could not, all merging now into one sustained breath that ignites this small candle into flame. The flame swirls up unto the heavens as the stars bow and draw backwards.

In my pocket are implements forgotten. I gently finger them like beads, uttering the words that came from my mouth as I worked with them, words that strung out like coronals of roses as I disturbed another’s solemn remains, bent and bowed to my duties. Forgive me. Forgive them.

I pull those tools of my day from my pocket and lay them upon the white cloth. In the candlelight they gleam like the nicked and scuffed chain mail armor of angels.

From behind the door I hear the murmur of movement as my arrival is sensed. I stand outside, as silent as I did not long before, tongues of ash and flakes of fire raining on down, anointing the bones of men. How I wish they would stir, awakening to the fire, but they sometimes do not. I make the sign of the cross, peace to their ashes.

I open the door but it is not the door to penance and confession, not at this hour, this place. But it is a door to one that still, with heart untouched by either sin or evil, will listen to me even if he cannot speak.

He will listen as liquid words flow from weary brain, symbols that are not of a periodical but of the elements of mystery, questions asked, and reasoning answered. He will listen without asking and he will forgive without penance, though he can be stirred to almost evangelical zeal by a small nugget of biscuit.

From the distance, a church bell---a sound that does more than note one more hour, one more increment of time and grief that's ticked since Genesis. It's the sound of hope and faith, one that cleaves the air with a sharp instrument of promise as a dog joyously barks.

For it is not a man of a cloth I was unburdening myself to, but my best friend Barkley the Labrador retriever.

When he has eaten first I will go out to sit at that cloth covered table. I will take the meat, the bread, and the wine and I will pause, bent with sin but saved by grace, there as I bow my head in thanks. It is thanks not just for the company of friends and the reminder of hope but for a small furred creature who blessed me with the wag of a tail.

* * *

I awoke with tears on my face and the comfort of words in my head.

I think it is time to add another dog to this home. This time it's going to be a rescue, a dog who needs a home as much as we need him.


  1. Oh, this is lovely ...I do understand some of your feelings. I lost my beloved dog Pip about 18 months ago. I still have a box of his clothes (he loved clothes) which I can not bare to open.

    I'm glad you found comfort in your dream.

  2. Thank you - I've so enjoyed the chronicles of Pip and the love that little soul brought into your life. Thank you for sharing such a special one through written word.

    LB and Abby

  3. It is so hard to say goodbye to such cherished friends. I lost an angel and then we rescued our Sasha. I will never forget Angel Holly but Sasha surely has brought us joy. I am glad you found comfort.

    Anne and Sasha

  4. Saying goodbye is never an easy thing to do. In fact it's probably the hardest thing we've ever had to do. But allowing another lost soul into your heart saves 2 lives. I sometimes think the one that was lost has a say in picking out and training the one who is rescued.

  5. It is so hard to close one door, and open another, but there is always someone on the other side that needs your love.
    stella rose

  6. Oh, that was just beautifuls!!! Ma's eyes are leaking nows...;)
    Ma can't find your email addy...could you email me at judi1040(at)gmail(dot)com?
    I thinks I got the PAWFECT date for you!

  7. Wow, this is so moving and beautiful! We definitely move mountails with tail wags and with smiles and kindness.
    Grr and Woof,
    Sarge, furiend

  8. We hold on so tightly, even in our dreams. Beautifully written!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

  9. Chef Sasha - I wish we would have known Angel Holly but you have brought so much laughter to us.

    Amber DaWeenie - I do think Barkley had some say in this. She just came into our lives at a perfect point for us both.

    Stellaroselong - Abby needed us as much as we needed her.

    Ruby - Abby sent a message and she is SO excited about the dance.

    Sarge - grr and woof to you too, my friend.

    C.L.W. Step - there were a few tears as this book was written and a lot of laughter

    Murphy - thank you. Please tell your mom to check her SPAM folder as I just sent her a kindle copy of Saving Grace as a gift for her to read to you. There are several stories of doggie adoption in the book, not just people.

    LB - Abby's Mom


Welcome to The Book of Barkley and the Blogville dog blogging community. This blog was created for more memories of Barkley as well as updates on our Lab Rescues that have joined our household since Barkley left us.

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