The flu bug hit us hard, and I have to stay home today and miss work at church. I feel extremely lame, but I don't want to spread this flu around to the whole congregataion.
And the worst bummer is that I had a story planned for service that I'm not going to get to do now (I think no one is going to do it, I'm not sure how the minister is planning on covering my absence). It was a cool story I wrote inspired by the book The Tenth Good Thing About Barney:
When I was a child, I had many pets: fish, hamsters, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs, and dogs. I loved my pets very much, and I learned many important lessons from taking care of my pets.
What kinds of pets do you have?
One of the things I learned from my pets was that everything that is alive will also die. Pets don’t live as long as people do, so over the years I loved a pet, and then I had to say goodbye to it when it died.
Have any of you had to say goodbye to a pet?
My favorite way to say goodbye to pets is to bury the pets’ body in my garden. At my house now, my children’s pets are buried in the garden.
(Bring forward the little tray of dirt and the spoon.)
I dig a hole in the earth, and then we say goodbye and put our pet in the hole. I have some stones here that we could pretend were our pets we had to say goodbye to. Would any of you like to say goodbye to a pet by putting a stone in this dirt?
At my house, after we say goodbye, I cover the hole back up with dirt. The amazing thing is that we wouldn’t even have dirt if living things didn’t die. All the dirt on our planet is a mix of minerals, or rock, and organic stuff that came from living creatures that had died.
When the first life came up out of the ocean, there wasn’t good soil for plants to grow in. The plants had to gradually grow across the land, and when they died they helped to make the soil that more plants could grow from.
So what happens in the garden, after we say goodbye to our pet?
The pets become part of the soil again, and in that spot where we buried them, we can see their bodies become part of new life.
(put some flowers on the tray of dirt)
When I see the flowers growing in that spot, it makes me happy to remember how connected all life is, and how even though I had to say goodbye to my beloved pet, now they are part of the beautiful garden.
Would you each like a flower, to remember your pets with? Here is one for each of you, and now you can go back to your families. Thank you for helping me say goodbye again.