A Constant During the Shifts of Life 

Published 11:08 am Monday, April 10, 2023

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       The other day we were in a well-known, large, upscale, retail shop out of town, walking through the men’s clothing. As we rounded one section, a coat caught my eye. This garment was a long, brown overcoat. It appeared to be either cashmere or something similar. Being a lover of coats, I had to take a closer look as it was truly striking. Not that I intended on making a purchase, I was just browsing. 

        As Michelle and I walked up to the coat, we noticed the price tag hanging from the arm. I looked at Michelle to ask her if she noticed the cost of this garment. She had, and we both were in shock. At this point I had to try on the coat just to say I had, as the cost was astronomical. 

After slipping (carefully) into this beautiful coat, the sales associate came over to ask if I liked the coat. It was too big and I said no, as the coat did not fit me. He then asked if I was interested in a smaller size? As I was removing the coat, I thanked him and said no, I was not, but I had to try this garment on because it’s not everyday a person gets to put on a $10,000 overcoat. It was a first for me. I have never seen a piece of clothing that expensive before, much less tried it on. The man simply smiled and we all walked away. 

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       Michelle and I were laughing and joking because we thought it difficult to believe that someone would pay that much for a coat. It was beautiful for sure, but the Ralph Lauren Polo coat I purchased many years ago at Wilson’s Leather for around 50 bucks works just fine! We had such a jovial time at the fact I had tried on this pricey coat. We called the in-laws to tell them about my experience and we laughed even more. 

       We walked out of the shop and headed across the street to a more reasonably priced store. As we rode up the escalator my phone rang. It was  our friend who was watching our dogs. He had called to tell us something was not quite right with our oldest dog Sierra. 

After he described her condition, we had Larry drive over to the house so we could FaceTime and see her. Once Michelle and I saw her we immediately knew something was terribly wrong with her and she needed to be taken to the vet. As it was after 6 p.m., the only option was an emergency vet office. 

By this time, Michelle and I rushed back to the hotel so we could try to get home as quickly as possible. The emergency vet office in Flat Rock told us their veterinarian was going into surgery and we should take Sierra on up to Asheville. We immediately called them to let them know we were out of town and our friend was bringing our baby to see them. Michelle went online to fill out the paperwork so that would be done. Larry helped Scott load Sierra into his truck and he took off for Asheville. 

       Being distraught, I called my mother, who was teaching a class at the community college in Morganton and asked her to go be with Sierra. Before we hung up, she told the students the class was dismissed as she had an emergency. She darted off to Asheville. Mommy actually beat Scott there. 

       Once they arrived, the veterinary team took Sierra back, triaged her and then did an ultrasound of her stomach. By this time Michelle and I are almost to the airport to get a rental car so we can drive through the night to get home. 

As we are standing outside the rental car terminal at the Chicago airport, the vet calls us. He tells us that Sierra is not in good shape and he is afraid she is going into cardiac arrest. If she does, he asked, do we want them to do CPR and life saving measures. Michelle tells him, no. She has been a great dog and we did not want to put her through any type of suffering or pain. 

As Michelle finished telling the vet this, he told us Sierra just died. Our sweet baby girl of almost 15 years was gone. And we did not even get to say goodbye to her. There, in Chicago, on the sidewalk outside the rental car terminal, Michelle and I bawled our eyes out! Our hearts were and still are broken. 

       As I have reflected upon that day, I have been struck by how quickly life can shift from one extreme to another. One moment we were laughing and cutting up about trying on an expensive coat, and then the next instant we were crying our eyes out on the sidewalk in the rain. 

Such unexpected shifts can almost take your breath away. But even in these times, we can find a constant. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus speaks about building a house upon the rock. When rains descended, floods came, and the winds blew against that house, it would not fall because it had been established upon the rock. The only way to make it through the extreme shifts in this life, is to have your life founded upon Jesus. He will provide the sure footing when we face these shifts and will carry us through. 

A key is to have your life built upon the rock prior to the shifts when things are calm. Don’t wait until the storm to find your foundation; start building your relationship with Christ today as He will be your constant during the shifts of life that will come your way.