I love you, Lord; you are my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;

my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.

He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.

Psalm 18:2

My hands curl around the handles of the brown paper bag, I thank the lady behind the counter, walk out to my van and wipe the tears dripping from my sunglasses. I hold all that is left of my dog Winston, his ashes, in that brown paper bag.

I pull away and travel to the next place on my list, order my son a hamburger from Sonic. He stays at home sick while I run errands. When the girl behind the window hands me the warm white paper bag, she doesn’t see the tears behind the sunglasses, but she smiles when she hands me the change.

The bags sit next to each other in the passenger seat. Holding a hamburger and my dog.

And later, when Mary hands me my bag with the black cotton handles at the make-up counter she says she is sorry about Winston, then asks me if I know about Laura. I look over at Laura while she applies makeup to the face of the blond lady sitting in the tall chair next to the counter. “No, what about her,” I ask.

Mary says Laura beat breast cancer two years ago but now she has lymphoma and wears a wig. She has a big mass in her throat like Winston. Explains how she gets the drip of chemo all day every three weeks. Tears well in her perfectly lined eyes when she says, “It’s been hard.”

I tell her, that Christ is our hope. That knowing Him, it is our only hope.

And she walks around the counter right up to me and hugs me tight, holds me there for a while standing at the makeup counter and says, “ Thank you.”

In the midst of life that shifts like the tide, may you find security in the person of Christ who never changes. Happy Sunday!