“NORTON STRONG!”

According to Amazon Prime, I have purchased this book 40 times in the last three years. That’s not counting the copies I bought before I had my Amazon Prime membership! It’s a great book, but a book no one wants. It’s a book that arrives in the mail days after your beloved dog passes away. While the book brings some joy, and an amount of comfort, the turn of each page reminds you that sweet Fido has crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and will not be curling up behind your knees tonight when you go to bed.

With the exception of one friend, who was emotionally unable to open the book upon the passing of her dear Daisy, the book has been a cherished addition to the memory of many a loved pup. Being the recipient of this book, however, puts you in a club in which no one wants membership. The Rainbow Bridge Club.

In my family, the book has been a treasured part of our puppy history for nearly thirty years. When a family member’s dog passes away, the book is given to that family member. Written in its pages are 30 years worth of names of dozens of pups who loved us well, and passed away too soon. Condolences and sweet memories, dates of births and deaths, paw prints, cards and notes fill the book to overflowing. But no one wants to be “the one” who is the current keeper-of-the-book.

My sister, and current keeper-of-the-book, once wrote a handwritten, page-long note and placed it in the book. She wrote that although the book has often been regarded as the “dreaded book”, it’s really a “book of life”. The book immortalizes the lives of so many wonderful dogs! The book provides a place where all the memories and names and dates can be easily found in one place and treasured and remembered.

Gifting a copy of the book to my friends and family who have lost a beloved dog has become my go-to-bereavement-gift for many years. It has blessed many families and given them a bit of joy during a very sad time. Maybe you’ve received this book from me! Today, however, I am at a loss. There is nothing on Amazon that I can purchase to send to my dear friend to minimize her unspeakable loss.

My friend and I have much in common! We are married to firemen; we have two sons; we love Jesus, family, dogs and America! She has been a dear friend for more than 25 years. Her beautiful, brave, strong son, Cory, passed away today after an incredible battle with cancer.

Cory and his brother were childhood friends of my two sons. They rode bikes together, they rode motorcycles through the desert together, they went dove hunting together, Cory vacationed with us in San Diego where we visited the San Diego Zoo and Sea World. Cory and my sons were out of control in San Diego’s Hard Rock Cafe, chugging Shirley Temples, and playing their air guitars. The boys spent hours fishing in Big Bear, or at the ponds at Jess Ranch, and hiking around the desert with their BB guns until the sun went down.

Cory and both of my sons grew up to be firemen, just like their dads. That’s how we all met. Their dad’s worked together at the same Fire Department.

A few years ago, Cory had an accident during training at his Fire Station and broke his back. Pretty soon a very rare form of cancer attacked his body. Cory, his beautiful wife and children were in for the fight of their lives, literally, a fight for Cory’s life! They were surrounded by a multitude of family and friends who supported them and loved them! They were “Norton Strong”! So full of hope, faith and love!

Now Cory’s fight is over. His beautiful wife must lay him to rest. His parents must come alongside her and the children and be “Norton Strong” for them while they themselves are in the deepest darkest place a parent could ever imagine.

Is there a book I can buy them? Can I log in to Amazon and click on “buy again” and send them the “book of life” as my sweet sister calls it? Of course I cannot. But in the midst of this deep, deep pain and grief, it gives me great joy to know that God Himself holds a much better book, and has Himself entered Cory’s name on the pages! It is The Book of Life! Because his name is in the Book of Life, Cory is immortalized, eternal and alive and well in heaven!

We all have a built-in need for immortality, a craving for an eternity, to be eternal. God placed it within us when He created us. He created us as eternal beings. D.L. Moody once made the statement, “One of these days you are going to hear that I’m dead and gone. When you do, don’t believe a word of it. I’ll be more alive then, than at any other time in my life!”

Each of us wonders about eternity. What is death like? What happens when I die? Is there a hell? a heaven? a God? a devil? What happens? We all want to be around tomorrow. The only guarantee we have of a future is to have the Eternal One in our heart! The Eternal One is Jesus Christ, the Son of God! And He wants to give you a future and a hope!

Romans 10:9-10 says “If you believe in your heart that Jesus is the Son of God and that God raised Him from the dead on the third day, and confess that with your mouth, then you will be saved.” What does the word “saved” mean? It means “removed from danger”. It simply means if you respect and recognize the worth of Jesus Christ and give your life to Him, God will take you out of the danger zone and receive you as a child of the Most High God.

“For God so loved the world (YOU!) that He gave His only begotten Son, (FOR YOU!) that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have EVERLASTING LIFE.” John 3:16

Everlasting life is ours for the taking, we can be removed from danger! God will, Himself, with His own hand, write YOUR name in His Book of Life if you believe in Him. THE BOOK OF LIFE! Eternal, everlasting, immortal life!

While Cory’s wife, parents, brother and all of “Norton Strong” weep and grieve at his passing, let us find comfort in knowing Cory is eternal, in heaven with God and we will see him again!!!

“NORTON STRONG!”

Published by

beyond-all-measure

I'm a daughter, sister, wife, aunt, mom, mom-in-law, and Mimi! More than that, I'm a sinner saved by grace. Sometimes life opens up and reveals lessons that I love to share! My hope is that you will enjoy some of the life experiences that I will be writing in this blog and be blessed by them. I love to share what God puts on my heart!

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