Friday, April 17, 2009
First of all, apologies to those who read this the first time around....I deleted it a long time ago from my other spark page, and then had a sparky friend tell me that she was sorry I'd done that 'cause she had wanted to keep it, so apologies to Irishsunsets, here it is again, and I'll leave it up this time!
Have been talking of faith this week in one of my sparky groups, and have to admit, that's a subject very close to my heart. Has also been a subject I've struggled with along this route, along with so many others. I have come to believe, late in life, that a lot of what we've been taught via religion may not be completely accurate.....and that God is much bigger and more complex than any of us have ever imagined. I have also come to believe that a lot of the things that people use to condemn others have never been condemned by God...but that's a subject for another blog.
It was summer time, on a bright sunny day, and my daughter and I decided to go shopping at a mall about an hour away from here. I especially relished the trip because Mandy was driving, so I enjoyed just sitting back and watching the landscape roll by, and it was such a beautiful day. We had a wonderful time, and were coming back home when our eyes were drawn to a small yellow speck ahead, lying by the side of the road. Call it morbid fascination, but you know you always look! As we got closer, I found myself feeling sad, because it was obviously the body of a small yellow kitten. As we came up upon it, tho, it suddenly raised its head....and locked eyes with me. Mandy saw it at the same instant I did, so at the first opportunity, she turned around in the driveway of a golf club and we went back. We took a towel out of her trunk, made our way across the busy road, and we gathered the kitty up in the towel. It was......well, really bad. Its body was completely flat from the rib cage down. Its rear legs were lying one in front of the other instead of side by side as they would normally be, and it was covered with maggots. I held the kitty in my lap as Mandy drove silently to the vet's office without my ever saying a word. Altho she sometimes hates it, my daughter and I are more alike than she likes to think.
When we got to the vet, I explained the situation to the receptionist, who graciously agreed to work us in when the vet had a moment. When we finally got into the exam room, the vet gently took a look, and then said, "Well, the kindest thing would probably be to put it to sleep.....". So we agreed....none of us really thought otherwise, even tho it made us sad. The vet left the office to gather up what she needed to do the job, and I petted the kitty on its head, when it began to purr. The purr was almost shocking. It got louder and louder, until it seemed to fill the entire room. It certainly wasn't what we'd expected, and it actually made us feel worse. When the vet returned, syringes in hand, I said to her, "Are you SURE nothing can be done?" It was almost as tho she had been hoping for the question. She quickly (and almost eagerly) said, "Well....I can keep it overnight and clean it up and just see how it does. If it's still alive in the morning, we can go from there...." so in the end, that's exactly what we opted to do. Now mind you......the last thing I wanted was another cat. At that point in time, I already had five at home that I was about too thru with. But, what do you do? The following morning, I answered my phone, only to hear a cheery voice say, "You can come get your kitty!" so I brought the kitty home and settled it in a box with a fluffy baby blanket in the room that had been my son's old bedroom, and closed the door. Then began 'round the clock feedings, every four hours, using formula purchased at the vet's office and an eye dropper. I would hold the kitty, wrapped in a towel, in my lap, and would find myself rocking it like a baby. The following day, when I was doing this, I was horrified to find that there were maggots crawling from its rectum, so another call to the vet, who then advised peroxide enemas. So that also became part of the routine for a day, until no more creepy crawlies were found, and it was heartbreaking. The kitty would cry whenever I had to do this, and I had to wonder if I was really just adding to its misery.
After this went on for a certain number of days, I can't remember how long, each time I would hold that kitty on my lap, I found myself becoming more and more angry. I had been doubting for awhile that there even was a God, or a heaven, or any of the nice stories you learn as children and just accept as easily as you do Santa Claus or the Easter bunny or the tooth fairy, only to grow up and realize they were nothing more than pretty myths. I had grown up in a religious household, strict Roman Catholic, and had found far too many things of that faith that I could not accept within my heart, so I had left the church when I turned 18. I held that kitty, with this anger building in my heart, and finally had a day when I put that kitty away in its box after feeding it, and found myself standing in my den, teary-eyed, shaking my fist at the ceiling. And I said, "Why? WHY???? How can you let something be born, only to end up spending its short few weeks alive in pain and misery, mashed like a bug on the road, never knowing anything else? How can you DO that? All my life, I've tried to believe in a loving and merciful God, but are you even there? Do you even give a sh!t?? If you let this kitty die, never knowing anything but what it's been given, then F--K YOU!!! I will never say another prayer for as long as I live, because I will know that it's all a lie, and it doesn't matter, and YOU DON'T EVEN EXIST." And then I sat down and cried, for how long, I don't remember. And I went on from there, determining in my heart to do what I could do and not involve some nonexistent being in my train of thought, ever again.
The days wore on, and one day, I went to the door of my son's old room, only to be met with a tiny yellow paw reaching out from beneath the door. The kitty had managed to drag itself out of its box and was lying on the other side of the door, reaching thru the gap. I decided then to let it remain out in the house instead of closing it in the room, and the other cats seemed more curious than anything, but they didn't disturb him. The hair slowly began to regrow on its hindquarters, but its legs remained side by side, and it was only able to drag itself around using its front paws. And drag it did......room to room, even using its claws to pull itself up onto the couch. It so wanted to play with the other cats, but they gave it a wide berth, staying just out of reach, almost seeming to be amused by its efforts. Then one day, I found it trying to stand up.....it would pull and pull, finally managing to get its hindquarters up, only to flop to one side or the other, because with its hips still sideways and its rear legs one in front of the other instead of side by side like they should have been, there was nothing to stop it. Well......long story short, the day finally came when I knew it was time to find it another home, because over time, those hips straightened out, the legs became properly positioned, and the day that I saw him jump from the floor to the top of the washer where I kept the other cats' food, I knew.....and to look at him that day, nobody would ever have known anything had ever happened to him at all. He was a lovely cat, long yellow hair, striking green eyes. When I took him back to the vet for his shots, she was astounded. She said, "That's not.....?" and I said yes, it was. She shook her head, and said to me, "I only saw two animals this year I was 100% sure would never survive....and he was one of them." I named that cat Doubtful, and when the receptionist at the vet's office asked if I'd named him that because it had been so doubtful that he would live, I had to tell her no....I named him that to remind myself of the doubts within my own heart.
Sooooo......evidently there WAS someone listening to my angry rants that day, altho I was sure there really wasn't. And He had chosen to answer my anger, without rancor, and without ado, quietly...and without malice or judgment. Only love. I have never doubted again......and I'm not likely to in the future. And I have been humbled.