It happened one night last December - there were these two little kittens that kept coming to our back porch. Of course it had nothing to do with our children feeding them everyday and building a shelter for them out of the gas grill cover and cardboard.
Well it was a very cold night - getting down to 17 degrees and we were about to go out for the evening. Just about ready to leave, my wife was reminded that the cats would probably freeze to death if they were left outside. Just one of these little furry critters could fit into your palm . . . so we did the right thing and put them in the garage and fed them.
Okay, so long story short, they are now our outdoor cats. They have grown a bit, but they still sleep on our back porch. Our kids have named them Nellie and Chloe (even though one of them is a boy). How do we know? BECAUSE WE PAID TO HAVE THEM SPAYED. I didn't think we were going to be collecting any more animals - we already had an inside cat and two hermit crabs.
Now that they have weathered the winter, they are young and strong and take every opportunity to exhibit their worth to us by bringing the corpse of some other cute creature to our back step. When I come down in the morning the lifeless eyes of a bird or a bunny or some other helpless creature staring at me. Nearby a very proud young cat is licking its paws.
In fact the other morning I was making an omelette and my 5 year old states rather nonchalantly that Nellie is eating breakfast. I glance outside and see the decapitated mangled body of a bunny being gnawed on. It was something out of Saving Private Ryan. I had to rid myself of the image as I continued slicing mushrooms for my omelette. I kept thinking how thankful I wasn't eating anything Italian.
It made me think: "How can something so cute be so savage?"
The two don't go together. It runs counter to the definition of 'kitten.' You think of little fur-balls lapping milk, not predators who kill.
But maybe this is a kick that I am on. You see, I can't hack it when people (especially Christian people) act like total jerks. Spending some time in the city recently, you watch some people act like complete beasts to each other. Using each other. Manipulating each other. Hurting each other. It makes me lose faith . . . quickly. I wonder how God can put up with it.
Not only that . . . but I wonder how can faith be real when people act so disgusting to each other (sometimes in the name of Christ). One of the biggest questions I routinely choke on is how all of this works in the context of heaven. Think about it:
1. We are all sometimes little beasts with each other.
2. Being a beast doesn't work in heaven.
3. So we must be changed in some way so as to not reflect our beastliness.
4. If we are changed that drastically, how will be recognizable to each other? To ourselves?
Not a whole lot of answers . . . maybe that is where you come in.
Does it bug you that people who claim to be of faith are nasty little brutes? Does it keep you from belief? What is it that God would need to change in us that makes something like heaven possible? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Perhaps it al comes down to the whole idea of dying to the self. If we don't die to the self here in this existence, is the sinful part of the self killed off so that we don't live for ourselves ever after? If that is true, I would like to get started on that way of living here and now.