While chatting with Grandma, three-year-old Esther’s reasoning made perfect sense: “Mommy says we can have a pet as soon as baby-Ron is old enough to help me take care of it. I decided I wanted a kitty instead of a puppy, because kitties cover up their poops!”
We have had cats in the family ever since. In fact, I have had cats since I was a tiny sprout.
Because he was pure black, I named my first cat Bee Bee. He was only a member of our family two years when he disappeared for several days. By the time we found him hidden under a bush by the back door, Bee Bee was severely dehydrated and weak, his back leg mangled from a fight. The vet thought it best to put him to sleep. Bee Bee’s leg would need to be amputated, and the vet believed no cat could climb trees or defend himself with just three legs. I sobbed all the way home after telling Bee Bee goodbye, but in 1964 my single mom could not afford a second vet’s opinion.
Years later I read stories of both cats and dogs who had survived and lived full lives with only three limbs. If only we had known…
But, this isn’t a story about cats and vets and my regrets. I don’t think of Bee Bee too often, other than to wish I’d had the spunk to say, “Let’s try to save him, even if he just has three legs. Let’s not throw him out, just because he isn’t perfect. We’ll love him all the more.”
Is this our attitude with people, relationships, churches and jobs? Does our desire to be perfect and appear to “have it all together” cause us to throw away what could be useful, given a little loving help?
I wonder how many disciples Jesus’ would have been left with if He’d required perfection, or at least the image of it.
Peter would have been the first one thrown away—he was always shooting off his mouth and saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. When Jesus told His followers that He was going to suffer and be crucified, Peter had the audacity to argue: “Oh no, Lord, this will never be!” That stupid comment caused Jesus to verbally slap him upside the head and say, “Get behind me, Satan!”
Then there was Thomas. He was so downhearted about Jesus’ death that he refused to believe his friends’ witness and Jesus’ former testimony regarding the resurrection. He said, “My faith can only be based on what I see, not on Jesus’ word or what you tell me.” Jesus rebuked him, too, saying that we who believe in Him without seeing are more blessed than the prideful, proof-requiring Thomas.
None of them were perfect followers. Nor are we. Jesus refused to give up on them, however, simply because they were immature or foolish or beset with bad habits. He won’t give up on you or me, either.
This resurrection season, take home some hope in Jesus’ willingness to love, help and heal us, no matter where we are on our journey with Him. Missing leg, big mouth, failed faith or broken heart, His love makes up for our lack.
In this world of throw-away everything, Jesus calls all of us His keepers.
3 years ago