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Getting Our Hands Dirty

  • Rabbi Moffic,

    Thank you so much for this one-time message. My 16-year-old Labrador Mix "Lupe" has been ill with cancer pretty much her entire 16 years. In the last year, I have been faced with many challenges but she has a Veterinarian who comes to my home to take care of Lupe and her needs and my other 2 pets. But, mostly to help Lupe have the best quality of life in her last year, and she did have that until the very end.

    On March 7th, she stopped walking as her hind legs were weak. So, it was not the first time I had hand done everything for her with my hands, feeding her, cleaning after her, and washing her bed constantly all day while still serving the Lord as a full-time pastor out of my home. Yahweh has been my strength and always will. 

    This past Friday, March 7th, Lupe took a turn for the worse. I knew this because she not only stopped eating and only wanted water. I now the signs as I have had pets all my life. We were raised that way. They are part of our family, not just dogs and cats and part of God's creation for us to take care of. She spent Friday night not so well so I never left her side as I knew in my spirit this was it. I called her Veterinarian Dr. Rodriguez, to find out she was out of town. So, I prayed to Yahweh knowing that it was God who was going to bring me through this process once again and that I was to be totally dependent on Him. Saturday morning Lupe did not wake up well, as she really did not sleep from the pain and neither did I. About 10:00 am Saturday morning. I had some human tranquilizers in my home that I feel everyone should have in the event of a crisis. I ran to the internet and looked up the tranquilizer and if I could administer it to my Lupe with a syringe. To find out that I could. I injected her thigh with 3 tranquilizers not 8 like the internet said, but it put her to rest. She was screaming prior to the several injections I had to give her due to her excruciating pain. This was the first time in my life I had ever used a syringe or injected anyone or any of my pets. I had syringes that Dr. Rodriguez had left with me last year.

    This past Saturday the 18th she spent most of the day under 3 strong tranquilizers so she was out of it. She could not feel her physical pain as she was basically asleep for many hours. The Lord led me to do this as only He knew what I was to face ahead, and alone with Him. No family and no one else but God. Lupe started to wake up with very heavy breathing around 7:00 pm Saturday. I knew that I could not give her more tranquilizers, but to pray for her and to let her know every moment that I loved her and that I was right there, she was not alone. The next 3 hours were horrible and do not wish this upon anyone. Lupe suffered beyond comprehension in her last hour and her last 10 minutes I cannot explain. 

    Lupe had relived everything I went through with my husband 7 years ago when he was passing from a very aggressive cancer that ate him away. She went through the same thing her daddy went through and in the same place in my living room. No family, no friends, just me and God. One of the 4 promises my husband asked me was that I took good care of Lupe, his pride and joy, and a gift from him to me one day to add to our pet family. Lupe became very special in our lives. Our other dog and 2 cats were dearly loved until they passed away, but Lupe was special. Probably because she was all I had left of my husband. I know that to be absent from this body is to be present with the Lord. This is just a shell that our soul and spirit live in. I also know that although Lupe had to suffer beyond comprehension due to circumstances and me as a widow not having money to take her to a place where they would charge me over $1,000, I chose to let God lead me.

    Lupe has gone to be with my husband her daddy, my earthly daddy, my very best friend who just passed in December, my other pets, and precious lifetime friends. They all had one thing in common, they all passed away from cancer. I sit here Monday morning not even 48 hours later, still grieving. It is ok to grieve as long as you learn to move on. I will move on but right now I am in solace with my Jesus. We are to mourn, Jesus mourned and the word of God tells us to mourn in Ecclesiastes 3:4. There is a time for everything under heaven. 

    Although I never knew Lupe's doctor would be out of town and with that having no one to take Lupe after she passed. She laid nicely covered for 12 hours before the humane animal removal company came yesterday about 9:50 am. A very nice man by the name of Rob and his wife Jennifer. I understood that they were just taking a shell, but that was my girl Lupe in a bag. Have I had known all of this it would not have benefited me spiritually in the days to come and the years to come? God's ways are not our way nor His thoughts.

    Rabbi Moffic, I am very well aware of the way the Jewish people bury their deceased loved one's and the orthodox traditions as well, even if you are married to marry another. I am not going into this as you are Jewish and know the Jewish traditions. I am not Jewish and know the Jewish traditions and the orthodox Jewish traditions. Only because my Savior is Jewish, so I studied and wanted to know everything about Judaism and live by the Jewish calendar and celebrate all the Jewish holidays the way we are supposed to.

    I did "get my hands dirty" this weekend. I am sorry for the long message but felt very led to share with you since your message was meant for me. Seems all of them for the past 3 days have been for me. God speaks to us directly in many forms. Jehova Rapha is healing me. There is something phycological and comforting in "getting our hands dirty".....religious rituals like this are the "healing balm of Gilead" of Jeremiah.

    Thank you, Shalom.

    Pastor Marty Pena

    Prayer: Lord Jesus,
    thank You, for holding me up during difficult trials, and I pray to always keep You FIRST in my life above it all......"The Profit of Trials" James 1:2-4 "Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

    Message sent to me from a dear friend, Rabbi Evan Moffic. 

    From: <> on behalf of Evan Moffic <>
    Sent: Monday, March 20, 2017 8:36 AM
    To: Marty
    Subject: Getting Our Hands Dirty
    We typically do not like to “get our hands dirty.” But there is one exception. Jewish tradition is for mourners to use their hands to place earth into the grave of a loved one. 

    We get our hands dirty in the service of burying a loved one. We do not let machines do our work. 
    It is an ancient custom, perhaps one of Judaism’s oldest. Cultural anthropologists tell us that burial customs were among the very first religious rituals to emerge among human beings. 
    It is also quite powerful because it gives us a way to channel our sadness and energy into something physical. Rather than sit still at a graveside, we can use our hands to show respect for the deceased. 

    There is also something psychologically comforting in doing that. We know what we are supposed to do, and we do it. 
    To me it also shows the power of religious ritual to help us through difficult times. 

    Life presents challenges and hardships to everyone. We all experience loss and disappointment. Rituals are a way of coping with them. 
    They do not always give us easy answers. They may even leave us with some frustration. But they provide a path forward. And sometimes that’s all we need. 

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  • 1
Pastor Marty Pena
Pastor Marty Pena Julie, thank you so much for your comforting words. Yes, the passing of Lupe our dog has renewed my very deep pain on the loss of my beloved husband. The grief and pain I wish on no other. But, I know you understand. Many do not only because they have not been here and I do not wish this on anyone. God is our only comfort and strength in our difficult times. He said we would face these trials, He knew better than anyone and knows about this pain better than anyone. He is Jehovah Rapha our healer, and He leads us step by step until we are ready to move on. He is our "Balm of Gilead." Only He can bring this kind of healing no one else. Thank you again. I love you. God bless you, my sister. Shalom.
March 21, 2017
  • 1
Pastor Marty Pena
Pastor Marty Pena Thank you, Sylvia, I was just coming to ask for prayer. James 5:13-30. We are all sinners saved by His grace. And, I am in need of prayer for comfort. Although God is with me and He is my rock and my strength, we are commanded to pray for one another when in need. A man who does not need the prayers, or does not turn to their brothers and sisters for the prayer of faith is a foolish man filled with pride. Thank you again, Sylvia. In Jesus mighty name. Amen.
March 21, 2017
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Julie Schneider
Julie Schneider

I am so very sorry for your loss. I remember losing my late husbands dog many years after he passed and it renewed my pain and grief. May God comfort and be with you during this difficult time.

March 20, 2017
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Sylvia Todd
Sylvia Todd

Lord, I lift up Marty to you and pray that you bring her much peace as she mourns, that you comfort her at this time and during the coming months as she and her family learn to live with this new hole in their household. I thank you and pray this in the name of Jesus, amen <3

March 21, 2017