November 2016, Vol. 35, No. 11

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The Losses We Endure

posted on February 5, 2018

It was 2009. She died in my lap. I do not agree with those who say animals seek to be alone near death, though perhaps some seek comfort elsewhere. My cat friend had been poisoned as had been her sister who had died earlier. Our vet was fairly sure it was deliberate. I was too, as I had found another cat garroted with a wire coat-hanger in our pasture. Now, my kitten held on to my legs and arms with claws that held tenuously. I was angry and sad, quivering as she passed from this life to her next. Ella consoled me but she and I both shuddered, broke down and cried.

We could not prove who had done this but we suspected. We had witnessed the same meanness by our neighbors before toward our furry friends who refused to be kept safe indoors. What I could do was mourn. What I could not do was get justice. I still hurt remembering this. I wanted to get even, but it dissipated over time into the fog of protecting all of our other furry babies. I am not convinced that animals have no spirits for they have the spirit of life, and as Job said, “who knows…but YHWH!”So I mourned her cruel crossing from this earth, hoping she was at peace.

I wonder what the 11 Apostles who watched and mourned Jesus’ death, only to rejoice at his resurrection, thought as they saw the Spirit touch the lives of those who shouted “Crucify Him!” The ones who cried to the masses, “Men and brothers,”What have we done and what do we do now?” Did Peter secretly smile and say under his breath in the ancient language,”I know something you don’t know!” only to have the Spirit of God burst forth from his lips as the ears of those who were ready were opened! In 70 A.D. there would be an end to life as they knew it. John later saw an apocalypses that would scatter and change the Jews forever. But for now, Peter had to be patient as many he had once feared were buried with their Lord in a watery grave to rise to a new hope. It was a different kind of justice. Their past was a fog they put behind them as the urgent task of spreading the gospel, the euaggelion or Good News gripped their spirits!

We do not forget the past, as we do not forget the actions of a few who seek to hurt anyone they can. The past “Is what it is” as my friend Jake likes to say. But neither can we dwell on the losses, letting them foment and boil in anger until we are gripped with rage and hatred, ripe for Satan to pick and carelessly toss at others. It is why forgiveness, not vengeance, is so sweet. Jesus said “Forgive them Father. They simply do not understand!” Let us be stronger for our losses than those who cause them believe themselves to be!

Mark Burgess
Putnam church of Christ
Putnam, TX

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