IntroductionThe war, the military, and living in far eastern ports had hardened Bruce’s heart. He was walking in a wilderness of intellectual pride, but he was only fooling himself. Then, through the companionship of Caleb, a miniature dachshund hound, God sent His divine joy and love into Bruce’s life. With incredible heartbreak, Bruce grieved the loss of his friend Caleb, yet with amazing grace Bruce found his Savior.
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Bruce's Best Friend - God's Messenger of LoveDogs, they say, are man's best friend. My, what an understatement. Caleb entered my life as a tiny, chubby puppy in the spring of 1992, shortly after my forty-second birthday. He cried for days missing his mother. I've had dogs, cats, birds, chickens, and gerbils during my life, but never have I had one like Caleb, my little "stinky butt."
Caleb was a miniature Dachshund with a soul that brought divine joy into my life. He was like a baby to me. He went everywhere I went - family picnics, hiking trips, and family visitations. Our journey together lasted barely eleven years, when I had to have him put to sleep due to chronic kidney failure.
My Greatest HeartbreakWhen he got sick, I left him in the care of my trusted Veterinarian, Dr. Karen Davis. At work that day I got the distressing news. The good doctor said there was no hope and that my baby was in much pain, and he was suffering from his own bodily poisons. I immediately left work and joined Caleb in his final minutes, holding him as the doctor administered the fatal dose.
My decision to have him put to sleep was by far my greatest heartbreak, and I wept uncontrollably. I took my baby home and buried him in his favorite blanket underneath an old apple tree where he would often play, chasing bunnies and squirrels. My heart was broken into a million pieces.
Taking a Look Back on My LifeMy life story began fairly simply. I was baptized in our family church shortly after my twelfth birthday, and was active in the church and youth activities through my high school years. After high school I was drafted and spent four years (1969-1973) serving aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea in Southeast Asia as an Aviation Ordnanceman.
Here's where things start to get complicated. The war, the military, and the years in the far eastern ports hardened my heart. I fell into sin of the most unspeakable type. I returned home full of hate, pride, and arrogance.
In the WildernessFor the next thirty years I walked in the wilderness as a natural man. I fooled myself with intellectual nonsense. I felt I didn't need the church in my life. I had convinced myself that the Bible was not what I had been taught, but rather just what my parents and grandparents thought.
I read books like The Passover Plot by Dr. Hugh J. Schonfield, The Lost Years of Jesus Revealed by Dr. Charles Francis Potter, The Jesus Scroll by Donovan Joyce, Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Michael Baigent, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln, and The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels. I prided myself as being very learned in the Bible and the 'myth of Christ' and I often reveled in arguments with believers.
I thought I could fool the world but I could not fool myself.
Black ThursdayMy world crashed on a sunny day at about one in the afternoon - my "Black Thursday," August 25. Caleb is dead.
Two days passed and I could not eat or sleep. For me life was now meaningless. I tried to rationalize my plight and the natural cycle of life and death. My best friend Russ was by my side, always comforting me in my grief. He told me that I need to lift my burden, and quoted scriptures. For the first time in decades this gave me enormous comfort.