Tuesday, August 28, 2012

goodbyes ...

My "grand-cat" died yesterday. She lived a long full life for a Scottish Fold, but the grief we felt as a family wasn't comforted much by that. Critters, in my family at least, are family members. They are "not just animals". I firmly believe all of God's critters are provided for in the next life, but none of that lessens the pain when eyes close for the last time, and furry bodies become empty of all that made them special. Shermin was a good cat. She put up with a family of large dogs, and did it gracefully. She didn't get the memo that Scottish Folds are cuddly lap cats, that all seemed to be beneath her dignity most of the time, but she was loved for the fur-person she was none the less.

I've often wondered why we lavish so much attention on our pets, and so little on each other. Is it because it's easier to love an animal who does not criticize, who forgives our transgressions (like an empty kibble bowl) or worse? Is it that it's easier to "let our hair down" for a critter than it is to expose ourselves to other people? I don't know. I have my own opinions, the strongest of which is that we respond to the unconditional love they give us, when we won't respond to our heavenly Father's unconditional love. I think their lives are shorter than ours to keep us from taking them for granted. We know when we first choose a cat or a dog, a bird or a hamster, that we're setting ourselves up for hurt when they die ... but we do it anyway. I've lived with cats for 43 years, as well as birds, hamsters, fish ... and grieved deeply when they died, but that didn't stop me from going to the pound and bringing home another. Not to replace, but to replenish.

And it doesn't stop there. I have outside feeders for birds, squirrels, any other creature who passes by, and I mourn the deaths of those who dare to cross the highway when they shouldn't. I honestly don't think I would live, or thrive, without the furry, finned and feathered ones who come and go in my life. People who have lived with me, or knew me, often didn't understand all that, but they're rather to be pitied than censured. They left out of their own lives some really wonderful and "wonder full" moments in life.

So, my challenge to you today is to stop and look around you. If you have pets, take some time to spend with them, with all your attention (not just filling the kibble bowls). Look around you at the flora and fauna that live around you. In short, "stop and smell the roses" of life. Oh, you might have a truly wonderful day if you don't, but you'll make it even more special if you do. And if you're too busy to do this, you're too busy!! MAKE time!

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