An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
Any adult birthday, I think, tends to send one into a reflective mood, but crossing decade thresholds are often particularly potent at doing so. This particular birthday was complicated by a farm tragedy in that we lost our matriarchal goat Firefly.
We found her down as we went to milk last night and then, despite all our efforts, she passed at 6am this morning. We think she may have had hypocalcemia and so we flooded her system with calcium to no avail...it was perhaps already too late. But we'll never know for sure and we are having now to deal with questions, regrets, and worries if we did enough or did something wrong to begin with. Experienced dairy goat farmers, however, tell us that these things happen and indeed we recognize that if you are going to work a farm you are going to have to deal with both intentional and unintentional death. We've obviously had the former, but never the latter until now.
When we found her in the morning it was obvious she was in her death throes and within a few moments her labored breathing had ceased. I considered at length how exactly (and where) to lay her remains to rest and at last decided that out north behind the garden would be the easiest place to dig such a large hole. Spending my birthday morning watching a goat die and then digging a massive hole to bury her in was not my idea of ideal, but we do what we must.
We are going to miss Firefly, not only as a major producing member of our humble farm economy (odds are our soap production has just been pushed back a year at least, and I don't want even want to think about all the cheese we were JUST getting used to having), but also as a pet who we could be sure would be found waiting and asking for a maple leaf treat out in front of the barn as you'd pass by. And of course...she was our first goat.
Oh yeah...and I'm 40 today. Great. And no, those older than 40 may not deny me the right to feel a little old today, but I willingly offer that I feel no wiser.
I don't know if animals will in some participate in the resurrection...but I know that Christ's Resurrection does indeed restore all things and so even the death of a goat is somehow made right. Death is Death...it's not normal. So, even singing "Christ is Risen" over the grave of a beloved goat makes all the sense in the world.
...offered by Dn. James Ferrenberg, a sinner at 10:36 AM [+] +++
Well, I'm not going to say something silly like "Hope your day was the best!" (insipid grin), but I will say that here's to a wonderful celebration in the not too distant future, perhaps involving a sixer of Snowcap.
Welcome to the club. If I ever feel any wiser, I'll let you know.
And yes, all things are made right with Christ's resurrection. I still miss my first dog, and things like that will be okay too :-)
I'm sorry for your loss. I agree: Somehow, the power of the Resurrection will make all things new and right. The great Jaroslav Pelikan, on his deathbed, said, "If the resurrection isn't true, nothing else matters. If the resurrection is true, nothing else matters."
So, OK, there's probably some hyperbole there, but I think we all get his drift.