Colleyanna’s bedtime prayer tonight:
Thank you for all our food and our houses. Thank you for Ezra and Eliza Jane and Mama and Daddy and Oreo and Fishy. Thank you that Baxter had a good life and a very long life. Please help all the people in our family to get to go to heaven. Please Lord, help Oreo to feel very sad that he was so mean to Baxter. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Baxter and Oreo are cats, Their owners, Ezra and Colleyanna and Eliza, are living in a rental house, for the time being, so the feline family members have been boarding at the Colley house. Baxter, who was 17 years old, died last Thursday. I dreaded telling the kids. I really dreaded telling the kids. I had so hoped that Baxter would not die on my watch. He had been the best kitty I had ever known–so longsuffering with rowdy toddlers. I told their mother first, while we were waiting in the car line to pick up Ezra from school. I should have known she would cry all that mascara right down her face. It was Hannah who was the most heart-broken that Bax was gone. She asked questions about the place of death and burial and then said “Wait, I don’t really want to know.” (Glenn took care of the mortuary services and we plan to let the kids plant some flowers whenever they all can come.)
Oreo was the Christmas kitten this past year. Colleyanna was pretty sure Santa Claus would not bring a pet, but she asked, just in case, and he did! To say Oreo is energetic and playful is understating this kitten case. During Baxter’s last days, I had to separate Baxter and Oreo often because Oreo had no conscience about eating Baxter’s food, drinking Baxter’s water, or giving Baxter a smack on the head. I’m surprised Oreo didn’t age more quickly because I was buying all these expensive senior cat foods and vitamin supplements for Bax, just praying he’d live a little longer, and Oreo was eating them up from Baxter like a champ.
Oreo has to go to the vet on Wednesday for his “calm-down surgery” as the kids identify it. I identify it as his “Mammy survival surgery.” I probably do not have time to get these mountains of laundry done, finish taking the Christmas decorations down from upstairs (I know, it’s shameful), or unpack from the last weekend’s ladies day, so I can do the one this weekend, but I have time to make it to that animal hospital this week, let me tell you!
Colleyanna’s comment of the day yesterday was this: “I’m glad Oreo is not a human, because I don’t think he would get to go to heaven.” She’s right. There was an Oreo-human in 1 Kings 2 who wanted a vineyard. There was one in 2 Samuel 11 who took Uriah’s wife. Another was described in Luke 16. He had a poor beggar named Lazarus lying at his gate. Then there was one named Haman in the book of Esther who met his demise on the gallows he had built for Mordecai. Jesus told the story of some in Luke 10, who left a man for dead on the side of the road. There was the Benjamite in Judges 19, who literally made a poor concubine go to pieces. The Bible is full of Oreo-human bully accounts. And it never ended well for them.
If your kids go to public school, they go to a place where bullying is a frequent and difficult problem. That’s not a surprise, though, since many kids grow up in homes where the adults are not about serving, but about succeeding materially; where people speak to one another in demeaning terms or where there’s a parent who is selfish, seeking his/her desires above the needs of a spouse. Such homes are breeding grounds for the bully spirit in children. I don’t think most of us can ever really know the power of doing marriage and parenting under the heart mandates of the golden rule. It’s less of lessons we teach at family Bible time and more of a deep and rich ingrained way of life that puts selflessness into the hearts of our children. It’s a dad who always offers mom a hand with the trash or the dishes. It’s a mom whose heart is in that home, as a matter of gladness and not drudgery. It’s the “you go first” at family game night and “I think it’s brother’s turn to pick,” comments that saturate unselfish families. It’s making casseroles and doing laundry for those with sickness in our churches and communities. It’s the involvement of kids in our evangelism. Probably most of all, it is the obvious placement of a spouse’s will above our own that puts the spirit of the golden rule in moldable hearts. And of course, it’s when we put the needs of those around us before our own, that we learn to serve the Messiah who is our Savior and Judge (Matthew 25:31-46).
I’m glad Oreo is not a human. But it would be better for some humans in the Matthew 25-day if they had been an Oreo! Unselfishness doesn’t come naturally. It is a fruit, born of the Spirit, in the lives of His people. I’m going to work today in my home on the fruits that take the bully out of my spirit: love, peace, gentleness, patience and brotherly kindness.
I hope it’s a great week for you!
P.S. This morning’s comment: “I bet, though, if Baxter was still here, Oreo would do some apologies.” (You might still have time to fix some things!)