Thank you, Dear Dr. Chris!
(First posted on Facebook, after the recent death of our friend, Chris Lane.)
I’d been waiting.
Perhaps some of you have been wondering — because you’re so wonderful and have been so kind to pray for our puppy.
But I’d been tentative to give another update.
After all, there’s not really anything new to report as far as her health goes. She continues to improve, for which we are very, very thankful.
Mostly, however, something happened the other day that shed some perspective on things. Although very important to us, Prancer’s health suddenly seemed small in comparison.
But today, I read two devotions that seemed to whisper to my waiting heart, “You can share.”
And so I will.
Bill and I went to Greenville to visit our puppy last Friday. She was excited we were there — though we weren’t sure how much she could actually see. She was very grateful that we’d stopped at a dog bakery to get her a brand new bone, and she chewed it happily as we scratched her tummy and talked to her — telling her how much we miss her, how we can’t wait to have her home.
Although she was well enough to be discharged from UVS, she still had several infusions to go. That would mean making trips back and forth to Greenville — an hour and a half-long trip one way — three times this week. Prancer doesn’t really enjoy car rides. (I mean, almost every time she gets in the van, she’s gone some place where she’s poked or prodded. Not so fun!)
After talking to her sweet vet, Dr. Hogan, we decided to get through one more week before bringing her home for good. As Dr. Hogan said, “Look at it this way. It’s one short week of missing your puppy to reach the long term goal of her likely living a healthy life.”
(Well said! We just LOVE this lady!)
So, prior to visiting late last week, we’d decided to keep Prancer at Upstate Veterinary Services for a bit longer.
(Don’t feel too sorry for her! She’s become a favorite there! We received a text with pictures from her vet the other day saying, “She’s doing great! Helping me do paperwork and eating cookies.” We fear she may NEVER want to come home!)
Hence, the visit.
Because we love her and don’t want her to forget us, Bill and I made the trip last Friday. Allie wasn’t able to come due to a school function that evening, so we FaceTimed with her instead. We spent a lot of time just loving on our puppy, both Friday afternoon and again on Saturday morning — laughing through tears, thankful she’s doing so well.
While in the “visitation” room on Friday, my phone rang. I looked at the screen and saw it was my dear friend Marion. I knew she and her husband were to be traveling that day, and I thought perhaps she just wanted to chat. I wasn’t really supposed to be on my phone, so I made a mental note to call her back after we’d left.
Then my phone rang again. It was our pastor, which was a little strange — considering the calls came back to back. But again, I wasn’t supposed to be on my phone, so I didn’t answer. I’d call him back too.
Then Bill looked at his phone and saw he’d missed back-to-back calls also — one from Pastor Owen and another from our friend Jon Grady. We knew something was wrong then, so Bill returned the calls.
And there, in the room with Prancer, we learned that our dear friend, Dr. Chris Lane, had passed away earlier that day.
Fellow church and small group member.
Husband to my precious friend Marion.
Father to three beautiful girls — Mary Claire, Katie and Colleen.
Grandfather to three beloved grandsons.
Servant in our community for many years as a devoted physician — who delivered countless babies and cared for women in need.
A man of few words, his wisdom and wit made folks lean in to listen when he spoke, because you knew it would be well-worth hearing.
And in that moment, perspective hit home.
It’s not that we shouldn’t be concerned about our puppy — as she is indeed a special part of our family. But it helped shed light…
To dispell the darkness brought on by —
Feelings of sadness.
Our friends Chris and Marion had just shared less than two days earlier in our online small group that they were supposed to travel Friday afternoon to Charlotte to be with their kids — to celebrate Mary Claire’s 25th birthday on Sunday.
Instead of Charlotte, family would gather in Waynesville.
Instead of a birthday, there’d be a funeral.
Our puppy will be coming home. This ickiness with blastomycosis is a drop in the bucket in the great scheme of things.
Yes, an inconvenience of sorts.
Yes, perhaps I’ve felt guilty — wondering if there was something we could have done to prevent this disease, though we have no idea what.
Yes, worry — but why? Why don’t I cast my concerns to God more often?
A woman has lost her husband.
Girls have lost their father.
Children have lost their grandfather.
Siblings have lost their brother.
Women have lost their doctor.
Unborn babies have lost their deliverer.
And many have lost a friend.
Chris loved his dogs. Most recently, I remember how much he and Marion grieved when their puppy Lyric became ill and passed away.
They’d gone to great lengths in their attempt to return her to health, just as we have.
Somehow learning of Chris’s passing while visiting Prancer just makes sense to me. Because I know both he and Marion understood how our hearts hurt over her illness. They prayed for her when we shared that she was sick. And I think Chris is happier now even more than us to see that she is doing well and will likely come home soon.
Chris now sees with eyes unveiled —
From his eternal Home.
With his heavenly perspective.
Because he’s now where there is no separation between his Creator and himself.
The first devotion I read this morning came from Joni Eareckson Tada’s book “Diamonds in the Dust.”
For October 2nd, she opened with this passage, “A man of knowledge uses words with restraint…” (Proverbs 17:27)
She went on, “Only in silence can you hear the heartbeat of God and His still, small voice. In quiet, you realize spiritual insights that reach far beyond words…”
Dr. Chris Lane had acquired this gift, and now he not only knows the heartbeat of God, but he can feel it — up close and personal, as he sits with his Father.
I bet no words are necessary.
The second devotion came from my Daily Guidepost 2018 for today.
It was written by a woman named Elizabeth Sherrill about her late father-in-law who became blind suddenly when he was only 49.
Rather than lament the loss of his eyesight, he rallied — learning Braille and memorizing the pathways of the campus where he was a professor.
Sherrill wrote, “Dad Sherrill taught more students and wrote more books without his eyes than with them.
‘There are many ways to see,’ he told [her] once. ‘The important thing is to look with love’.”
Dr. Chris looked with love — upon his bride, his girls and the world.
And now he looks into the eyes of his Savior — beholding Jesus face to face.
Prancer may come home permanently blind.
We know this is a good possibility, and I’ve fretted about this more than I care to admit.
But somehow today, I have perspective.
Yes, I see more clearly.
Blindness will be okay…
She’ll learn to adapt —
Because, after all, ‘there are many ways to see…’
Yes, our sweet puppy always ‘looks’ with love.
And I believe Chris is smiling.
Thank you, friend.
Without a word, you’ve helped me see.