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Friday, December 03, 2010

Part of the Family

I read these verses in 2 Samuel 12:1-3 yesterday:
And the LORD sent Nathan to David. He came to him and said to him, "There were two men in a certain city, the one rich and the other poor. The rich man had very many flocks and herds, but the poor man had nothing but one little ewe lamb, which he had bought. And he brought it up, and it grew up with him and with his children. It used to eat of his morsel and drink from his cup and lie in his arms, and it was like a daughter to him.
Of course, Nathan was setting David up. He wanted him to become incensed after learning that a rich man killed a poor man's pet lamb because once David grasped the enormity of the rich man's injustice toward the poor man he would be overwhelmed by his own sin of taking another man's wife.

A couple of things struck me about these verses that I have never seen before.

First, they seem to confirm how important a pet can be to people in need. In this case, it was a poor man who couldn't afford even one more animal.

That caused me to think about modern day examples of people in need, like a widow who decides to get a cat to fill the silence and stillness in her home, a man who retires and buys a dog to establish a new routine and residents of a nursing facility who aren't visited by anybody, but find comfort in the resident pet.

Second, this passage seems to confirm that a pet really can be "like a daughter" to people in need. I wonder how people who make fun of pet owners who say their animal is part of the family would respond to these verses?

As many of you know, I lost my beloved cat, Midnight, earlier this year. She was 20 years old, so I knew the end had to be near, but that didn't make losing her any easier. I struggled to put my pain into words. All I could say was, she was all I had.

After two weeks of a cat-less home, I couldn't take it anymore. I got a new cat and named her Latte. She was wild and I knew we were both in for a period of adjustment, but even in the first couple of days, something magical happened.

Latte climbed into the same kitchen windowsill Midnight used to sleep in and plopped down on the same towel I'd placed there for Midnight to sleep on. It still had Midnight's fur on it, but Latte didn't seem to be phased in the least. And then she found the place on the living room carpet Midnight used to sleep on, and like the windowsill, it was still covered with Midnight's fur. Latte plopped down on Midnight's fur as if to say, "If she meant something to you, she means something to me."

Midnight enjoying the windowsill in 2004

Latte in the window
Latte enjoying the same windowsill, and towel, in 2010
Those two moments brought healing.

Not only did I not replace Midnight, because you can never replace pets who are part of the family, but I found a new pet who accepted Midnight's place in my life while also slipping into her own place in the family.


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