I found this challenge to be especially sad.
Today was different than all other days, and was filled with grief and sadness. We all gathered in the backyard today on Easter to have a family BBQ. That means everyone, including the pets in our family.
My daughter has a girl parakeet, Valentine, and my father has a boy named Otto. The two birds have been in love with each other since day one. They get to celebrate birthdays and special occasions, holidays, and occasionally have sleepovers together.
This afternoon as we were gathered together celebrating the day and the life that God has given us through his son Jesus, our little bird, Otto, was tragically taken from us. It was an accident. There was a game of frisbee going on, and no one saw that he flew into the middle of it until it was too late. He was stepped on.
After almost 4 years together, Otto's life has ended. If you have pets of your own, you can imagine how upsetting this can be. The celebration was suddenly over, and our hearts were broken.
I am reminded of just how fragile life truly is. We are not guaranteed tomorrow.
Each night I read a special Veggie Tales devotion with my children. Today's was set up differently than normal. It was a challenge to memorize the verse Psalm 118:24 , "This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." There was a note to parents to talk about the need to celebrate the gift of life. As I read this devotion I was reminded again that God always knows exactly what we are going through, and when we are going to go through it.
Right after the bird was found, we dyed our Easter eggs together. On the egg carton was the same verse, Psalm 118:24. I used that opportunity to talk with the kids about how we need to rejoice no matter what happens.
I do not believe it was a coincidence that the devotion was again bringing up the same verse in the Bible, and I was being encouraged to talk with my children about life being a gift. I know we often take it for granted.
Otto's life was a gift. We are so thankful for the time we had with him. He was a gentle bird. He liked to sing, and would never bite you. He was very special to us. We're all going to miss him.
As I was getting my children ready for bed, I found this verse in the Bible for them. "What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail—even numbering the hairs on your head!... You're worth more than a million canaries." Matthew 10:29 (The Message)
I found it especially encouraging to read the part that God cares about the birds even more than we do. If my children's hearts are breaking, how much more does God feel? Then it goes on to say, you are worth even more than a million little birds. He cares about our troubles and our pain. He's right there with us.
This is the last picture we have of Otto, taken minutes before the accident happened. I know we will always treasure it, and remember Otto in our hearts.