Some Sundays, the sermon message is unbearable! But, I go, I listen, and I try to discern what God is trying t tell me. I let the minister speak to my heart and I ask God to help me be discerning.
Today was one of those days when I longed for a pastor who could divert her attention from the lectionary cycle and get with the stuff that is more “cultural.” After all, it’s Father’s Day! I don’t want to hear about the unbearable!
But, based on John 16: 12-15, somehow Rev. Jean Johnson at our Madison Valley Presbyterian church came us with this unlkely message for today:
Jesus did not tell His disciples
All that He had to say.
He said some things were unbearable.
They’d hear them another day.
Preparing for vacation, a family
Was told to come right away.
There had been an accident –
Too unbearable to hear any day!
Their son had not survived.
They were devastated, of course.
How can we respond or help?
We can’t fathom their remorse.
Think of a time when indeed,
Delight and splendor were spilled overboard.
Ever had so much happiness
You could only say, “Thank You, Lord”?
The touch of your spouse’s love
Can be beautifully unbearable
When you know forgiveness
Was given for the unshareable.
Things can be unbearably wonderful,
Or they can be unbearably awful.
Unbearable opens our hearts to love.
The opposite, unfeeling, should be unlawful!
When you bear the unbearable,
God is with you, alive and well.
In tears of joy or cries of agony,
God’s more present than we can tell.
When life is too big, too real,
Too much – too much to bear,
That’s when we know God for sure,
When the Spirit declares, “I Am There.”
Nothing is withheld from God.
We may feel a flutter like a dove…
It’s God, who is lifting us up.
When in the unbearable, we feel His love.
Thank You, God!
You never fail me!
I pray you had an UNBEARABLY joyful
Father’s Day today!
Life is a book;
Each day a new page.
The story’s not written
By some far off sage.
You write it each moment;
It comes from your heart.
Today’s page is blank
‘Til you get up and start…
Start by breathing deeply;
Thank God for each breath.
Begin each day with gratitude –
From your birth to your death.
Praise God for Creation.
Look around and then start
To praise Him for His presence
In your life – every part!
Ask God for His wisdom
To help you every minute
As you choose your day’s tasks
And the JOY He puts in it.
My granddaughter, Hope,
and her husband, Drew,
are expecting their baby girl any day now.
Knowing this is the week
we will lay my friend, Carol, to rest,
and this is the week our grandson,
Chris, is ending his 6 month stay in the USA,
it is fitting that a new beginning
God bless this new life about to join us!
See you tomorrow
Reverse Cinquain summary:
• 5-line stanza inspired by the haiku and tanka
• syllabic count: 2-8-6-4-2
• meter optional
• rhyme optional
• titled, where the title is used as a sixth line
• may be centered or left-justified
Over the course of several years, the term Rainbow Bridge has become synonymous with animal lovers who have lost a pet.
You may hear a grief-stricken owner say their deceased pet has “crossed the Rainbow Bridge” or say “I’ll meet you at the Rainbow Bridge” in reference to the pet.
However, have you wondered what exactly the “Rainbow Bridge” is, where it came from, and how it became so widely used?
Although there is still some speculation as to how the term came about, pet lovers do have a number of answers which we’ll cover in this article.
What is the Rainbow Bridge?
The “Rainbow Bridge” refers to an other-worldly place consisting of a sunny, green meadow and multi-colored, prismatic bridge the pet eventually crosses that leads it to heaven.
The term is believed to have originated in several works of poetry from the 1980s and 1990s that were meant to help relieve deceased pet owners of the pain of their loss.
According to poems, upon death, the pet finds itself in a lush, green meadow filled with sunshine. The pet’s health is fully restored and it can run and play as it did in its prime with unlimited food and water.
There, the pet waits until its human companion dies and is reunited with them in the meadow. Together, they cross the Rainbow Bridge to heaven.
Where Did the Rainbow Bridge Idea Come From?
The concept for the pet Rainbow Bridge may have been based on the Bifröst bridge of Norse Mythology.
The Bifrost bridge was said to be a burning rainbow bridge that reaches between Midgard (Earth) and Asgard, the realm of the gods.
The first reference to a meadow in which pets await their owners can be found in the book Beautiful Joe’s Paradise by Margaret Marshall Saunders.
Beautiful Joe’s Paradise is a sequel to the book Beautiful Joe, which was one of the first that helped raise awareness toward animal cruelty and told the story Beautiful Joe, a dog from the town of Meaford, Ontario
In Beautiful Joe’s Paradise, pets await their owners in a grassland and help one another heal from cruelty they endured during their lives. However, the book makes no mention of a Rainbow Bridge and the pets eventually ascend into heaven by balloon.
Who Wrote the Original Rainbow Bridge Poem?
The first appearance of the Rainbow Bridge in relation to animals is believed to come from a poem by Paul C. Dahm, a grief counselor in Oregon. He wrote the first Rainbow Bridge poem in prose style as seen below:
“Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge. When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.
All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.
Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….”
The popular rhyming version by Steve and Diane Bodofsky came later and was inspired by this original version.
How Did the Term “Rainbow Bridge” Become So Popular?
Steve Bodofsky believed the original poem by Paul C. Dahm was great, but needed “a bit of coaxing to bring out the meter and rhyme”.
Together with his wife they created their own rhyming version of the Rainbow Bridge poem which they shared with friends shown below:
Another popular Rainbow Bridge poem that helped popularize the concept worldwide came later from Steve and Diane Bodofsky, a couple that operated a ferret rescue.
“By the edge of a woods, at the foot of a hill,
Is a lush, green meadow where time stands still.
Where the friends of man and woman do run,
When their time on earth is over and done.
For here, between this world and the next,
Is a place where each beloved creature finds rest.
On this golden land, they wait and they play,
Till the Rainbow Bridge they cross over one day.
No more do they suffer, in pain or in sadness,
For here they are whole, their lives filled with gladness.
Their limbs are restored, their health renewed,
Their bodies have healed, with strength imbued.
They romp through the grass, without even a care,
Until one day they start, and sniff at the air.
All ears prick forward, eyes dart front and back,
Then all of a sudden, one breaks from the pack.
For just at that instant, their eyes have met;
Together again, both person and pet.
So they run to each other, these friends from long past,
The time of their parting is over at last.
The sadness they felt while they were apart,
Has turned into joy once more in each heart.
They embrace with a love that will last forever,
And then, side-by-side, they cross over… together.
(I hope I have not violated copyright laws by posting this for you!)
Upon getting positive feedback, they collaborated with a graphic design artist to produce Rainbow Bridge Fine Art Print and Rainbow Bridge Sympathy Cards and thus began increasing popularity of the term.
It’s debated when exactly the term Rainbow Bridge was first mentioned online, but the term began circulating in articles and websites as early as 1993 and possibly before that.
The rise of pet forums and pet groups, especially public Facebook pet owner groups, helped Rainbow Bridge reach the mainstream term that it is today.
Rainbow Bridge and Memorials
The reason the term because so popular is because most pet owners view their pet as more than just “a cat” or “a dog”.
The thought of reuniting with that specific animal companion is a heartwarming feeling in a very painful, emotional time.
In addition to printed versions of the poem in sympathy cards, there are now several “Rainbow Bridge” memorials one can buy to honor their pet or to give to someone who is grief-stricken.
In fact, Humane Goods is proud to have made our own memorial, the Rainbow Bridge Memorial Chimes.
These chimes are multi-colored and made of high-quality material for a beautiful sound. Each chime has a special remembrance seal at the bottom which catches the wind for the chime.
My friend, Sue, shared with me this morning the page below from a Hallmark gift book of collected saying, quotes, short stories, titled Wit & Wisdom of Women.
Today is the day my friend, Carol,
(I wrote about her earlier in My Friend, Carol)
made her journey over the “Rainbow Bridge”
to her Eternal Home.
When Sue read this page to me, I told her, “That perfectly describes my friend, Carol. Her 95 years on this earth were a testimony to kindness, strength, courage, wisdom and wit,
as well as her impact on others, and her ability to connect in very profound ways.”
Rest in Peace, dear Carol. You certainly brought a “special touch
that no other person has.”
You will be missed here on earth,
but your legacy will live on
in each of us who had the privilege of
knowing and loving you.
My prayers and condolences go out to your family.
They were certainly blessed to have you as their mother/grandmother!
Faith is belief in the unseen. To look beyond the obvious and see endless possibilities adds depth and meaning to our lives. It opens us to gifts beyond measure.
In Mark 9:22-24, a father of a mute son said to Jesus, “If you can do anything, do it! Have a heart and help us!”
Jesus replied, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”
No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts.”
In their book, Spiritual Literacy,
Frederic & Mary Ann Brussat talk about faith, “Recognize and accept that there is another dimension to life than what is obvious to us. Live with obstacles, doubt, and paradox, knowing that God is always present in the world.”
And because we believe in the God who is our Creator, and the One He sent to forgive us for our repeated wrong-doings to ourselves and one another, we also have the capacity to forgive.
The Brussats wrote about forgiveness: “In both your private and public lives, discover the sweet release that comes from forgiving others. Feel the healing balm of being forgiven and of forgiving yourself.”
Enjoy the sweet smell
Of receiving and giving
“I am a wretched sinner! I am going to Hell!” Mark shouted from his nursing home bed.
“Mark, we all have sinned. We all make mistakes. None of us is perfect. You have asked God to forgive you. He has! You need to forgive yourself!”
“I can’t! You don’t know how bad my sin is! You don’t know what I did! I can never forgive myself! I am miserable,” Mark moaned.
My friend, Mark, died later that week!
I don’t know if he was able to forgive himself on his deathbed, but I believe our Lord and Savior died so that Mark could be forgiven. He did believe in God. He professed his belief many times.
John 20:21-23 says,
“Again Jesus said to His disciples,
‘Peace be with you!
As the Father has sent me,
I am sending you.
And… He breathed on them and said,
‘Receive the Holy Spirit.
If you forgive anyone his sins,
they are forgiven’ …”
Are you looking for more meaning, more purpose,
and a peace that permeates your soul?
Live in Faith, my friends. Know the Holy Spirit lives in you, and know You ARE Forgiven.
You do not need to end your life crying in misery.
Believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God,
and that by believing you will have eternal life in His name.