“You know when you know to let go”
- Jimmy Manser
Only the present moment has the vitality of a fertile existence. Whether through fires, floods, insect infestation, or man’s destruction of their habitat, nature adapts to changes while savoring the “here and now.” Humans not so much. It’s taken most of my adult life to embrace “everything with love and gratitude.” To grasp the moment requires more than focus, especially a consciousness to detach from life’s rear view mirror and future wishful thinking. While this fresh perspective has been formed from diverse sources of wisdom, it was a dog that really revealed the joy of squeezing life’s moments. Not just any canine. Suzi was the unequivocal love of my life. In remembrance, this blog is published on the eighth anniversary of Suzi crossing the rainbow bridge.
Suzi was a black and white female Shih Tzu. Her breed’s origins are from Tibet, that exotic place between China and India in the Himalaya Mountains. Though, Suzi’s angelic personality and loveliness made me think of the “southern edge of Heaven.” Like a best friend, our uncanny connection was mystical. There were countless incidents when Suzi’s energy would radiate comfort and protection. No doubt, she was more than a companion. More than a dog.
Suzi and I had many rituals - playtime, ice cream tasting, and those tender pre-sleep snuggles in bed, but our evening walks were what I cherished most. Whether on a country road or city sidewalk, she would keep pace alongside me, only inches away from my heels.
The walks always started with Suzi on a leash. After the pace reached a recognizable rhythm, a subtle, repeated, and persistent “Suzi Smile” would message me it was time to release her from the tether. This ritual included sitting down with Suzi, nuzzling her in my lap, and speaking gently into her eyes. “Stay near my heels, Suzi.” She always did. Many years after her passing, Suzi’s lesson to release her shaped my thinking about letting go.
A pattern had emerged in Suzi’s behavior in the summer of 2010. Her movements were erratic, reduced appetite, and occasional seizures. Most pronounced was a chronic labored breathing. She’d no interest in treats, walks or even cuddling. Her days were spent sleeping in a quiet spot alone. While letting her outside to do her morning business on Tuesday, August 31st, she stumbled down the porch steps. It was clear, Suzi’s seizures now signaled a neurological impairment. She walked in circles. When I called Suzi’s name, she glanced at me, but trembled as she slowly laid down on the soft, familiar grass. She was telling me to release her.
That afternoon, the compassionate staff at the Companion Animal Clinic relieved Suzi’s suffering with grace and mercy. The prayerful thought “all dogs go to heaven” gave me solace as I visualized Suzi frolicking on the “forever green grass” with other beloved pets. She was 12 years old, an average lifespan for a Shih Tzu. That evening I was sitting on the porch when a bright star appeared suddenly in the western twilight sky, just above the Cascade Mountain Range. In that magical moment I christened the celestial body as “Suzi’s Star.”
I would learn later that illuminating body was Venus, named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty, brightest planet in our solar system, and closest planetary neighbor. Now, when that evening star appears in the west, the moment is treasured in remembrance of Suzi and the release lesson she gave me.
Words and Music by Aodhan King, Ben Tan & Laura Toggs
© 2018 Hillsong Music Publishing CCLI: 7108455
Published on May 25, 2018
I close my eyes and colours fly
There’s no hiding from Your grace
I can’t deny Your heart for mine
And its unrelenting chase
I was on the edge of deception
Caught up in my own hesitation
Until Your love took over me
So I let go and I let love
Show me life like it’s supposed to be
An oasis here awaits us
All the freedom I’ll ever need
Now I’m alive
When I let go then I find life
The higher way is calling me
To a life unlike before
The Father’s heart is beckoning
And I can’t resist no more
Lead me in the ways of devotion
I don’t want to get caught in the motions
My heart is only for You Lord