My great-uncle Glenn passed away last Friday.
He truly was a GREAT uncle in every sense of the word—over six feet tall, an encyclopedia of knowledge on everything from science to literature to history to woodworking to plants, and always ready with a wisecrack, a story, or a hug. This past Easter, the last family holiday he was able to spend with us, we got to hear some of his most classic true tales once more, like how on his first date with his wife of over fifty years, he showed up at her college dorm walking on his hands.
Or how, when he was four years old (the youngest of seven children) and traveling by train from Kentucky to Arizona with his family during World War II—they had to move to a drier climate for his father’s lung condition—he walked up and down the train telling all the GIs on board that he had found a worm in his oatmeal.
In the above family photo, taken three years ago at Thanksgiving, Uncle Glenn is the bearded gentleman sitting down on the left. We are looking at old family photos on the computer, and based on Uncle Glenn’s straight face, I’m pretty sure we are all laughing at some dry comment only he could make.
We are going to dearly miss Uncle Glenn.
Just over a week ago Sunday, we got the news that he was failing fast. And as I sat on the floor by the sofa and cried, my husband sought to comfort me the best way he knew how—by filling my lap with kittens.
And even though they weren’t in an especially snuggly mood at the moment, their cuddly, squirmy softness did help. I smiled, and even laughed through my tears.
So yes—nearly two months ago now, Anthony and I adopted two kittens.
These two little half-grown males, Purrsnickity (black and white) and the Little Dark One (all black), have added much delight and laughter to our lives…if occasionally some anxiety. Purrsnickity, especially, has a bent for trouble—during his first week or so with us, he tried to hang himself on a curtain hem thread, gagged on his collar, and jumped in the toilet. (Help! Help! It’s all wet in here!)
Little Dark One (also known as Star Wars’s K2SO) is much more cautious, preferring to check things out before investigating himself…or let Purrsnickity get in trouble first while he watches to see what happens. He was so shy at first we weren’t sure if he would be cuddly, but now he’s eager to snuggle behind Anthony’s neck while he sits on the sofa watching a TV show, or fall asleep against his arm. They both like to climb on the bed during the night to cuddle and sleep with us.
They have so much love to give…and correspondingly, generate love in us. When we come home after a long day of work, there are now two furry faces waiting for us at the door, and suddenly we don’t feel quite so tired any more.
And I’ve been realizing, as the kitties comforted me last week, that we have much to learn from these furry, trusting little guys.
Anthony was mentioning it the other night too…how we can see the Lord through these kittens, in their unconditional love, their trust of us, their peacefulness. Our kittens are incredibly trusting—sometimes even to an unfortunate extent, as they will twine about my feet or dart right before my toes as I walk, perfectly confident that there is no way I could possibly step on them. Even when they don’t like what I’m doing, like trimming their nails, I don’t sense they are afraid—they politely kick with their claws held in, as if to say, “I know you’re not going to hurt
me, but I really have important toys to play with—couldn’t we do this another time?” And there’s the blissful peace on their faces when they sleep sprawled on our laps or in our arms. They just seem to know they needn’t be afraid, for we will take care of them.
Why is it so hard for me to be like that? Why do I flinch and tense at the least hint of trouble, when I know I have a Father who has me safe in His loving arms? Who isn’t surprised by anything, whatever grief or trial or trouble might come?
“Are not five sparrows sold for two cents? Yet not one of them is forgotten before God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.”
For if we so love our little kittens, how much more must our all-knowing, faithful Father love us? And as they relax in our arms, I want to relax in His. Or even let Him use them to comfort me when I cry, and remind us of His tender care.
Do you have pets? How has the Lord used them to minister to you? Please comment and share!