The Face That Changed Everything

Marley by Liz Gray

“Marley” — February 27, 2013 by Liz Gray

“Then I saw her face; now I’m a believer….”  “Believer” by SmashMouth  (“Shrek” Soundtrack)

    As promised; this was THE MOMENT, THE FACE, THE EVENT that I already know changes everything for our family.  Meet Marley!  Our Marley!  Yes, his name was partially inspired by the beautiful lab in the adorable and heart-wrenching movie “Marley and Me”, but it was even more than that.  My young son walked into the home of the loving gentleman who offered us this sweet puppy–a beautiful golden male lab.  When my son first laid eyes on him, he shrieked “Marley!”  It was as like watching two brothers reunite who hadn’t seen each other in a while.

     At seven, he’s only wanted a dog for about 2 years.  My husband has waited nearly thirty years for me to say, “OK, let’s get a puppy.”  Moreover, he wanted a lab like his own brother has and is so fond of.  As do half our friends!  Yes, I know–labs make great dogs.

      “But what about the work?” I asked while detaining my family all these years.  “What about poop duty, puppy training, daily walks, feeding schedules, their TOTAL dependance on you for EVERYTHING?”   “What about it?”  tiny little eyes seemed to plead.  “It’s really not a big deal,” my husband and adult daughter have told me.  Millions of people have dogs.

    I know.   The thing is I’m a cat person at heart.  Because they’re easy.  You show a kitten a litter box, walk away, and five seconds later they are potty-trained for life.  It’s all easy breezy from there until they get older and face health problems, and believe me I’ve had my share of older cats and all their issues from diabetes to heart defects. That’s the hard part about pets.  It usually always ends one of two ways:  ABRUPTLY or SADLY.

      Just like in the movie “Marley and Me.”  You know from the get-go the dog is going to die.  Still it was watched and adored by millions.

      I get it.  See I know the real reason I’ve put off this decision all these years.  I already know what all of us in our family are risking:


      I know in the “typical” lifespan of this breed of dog, you’re looking at twelve or fifteen years, God willing, and if life goes as “planned” which the movie “Marley and Me” clearly showed that life rarely goes as such!  But I can see the foreshadowing already.  Two of my children are adults now.  Their lives will change.  Weddings, grandchildren (hopefully) and a host of other changes I’m sure will come.  My husband and I are at the middle mark. Our parents are getting older.  The future now seems less predictable then the plans we had for it about this time when we were in our twenties.

        All these things bring changes in life.  And through it all to come, we will have another soul witnessing the entire bloody and blessed drama that will certainly play out.  Our dog, this sweet newness, will be part of it; for better or for worse.

     Our souls are going to get tangled up worse than a little girl’s long hair.    We’re going to experience magnificent things as a family.  And most likely some heartaches, big and small, and crises of all kinds from the daily annoying to the ones of epic tsunami proportions.

    It’s the part that scares me so much.  And yet, I know from experience that’s the best part in life.

      The part where we risk it all. 

      The part where we say:

  • I do
  • I will
  • I promise
  • I commit
  • I love
  • Always and forever

May you live your life large today and all of your days.  Find good risks to take and find God-sized faith to propel you forward as your step into the great unknown.  Travel well and may you have the shadow of a companion and the comfort of the spirit of God always by your side.Marley Gray

Marley at 8 1/2 weeks, plays with a ball for the very first time.  “I’m still getting a grip on my coordination,” he says!



Lower Image:  The FIRST moment my son set eyes on the puppy, he shrieked “Marley!”
I will forever cherish this moment!