Blessing Animals

Thursday was October 4, which is, in the Christian calendar, the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi.  There is much to admire about St. Francis.  He was born into a wealthy family, but he walked away from that (there’s a whole story about Francis stripping naked to give his clothes back to his father).  The new Pope has taken his name from St. Francis, which tells us a lot about this Pope.  But this isn’t a post about Pope Francis.  This is about St. Francis.  And animals.

St. Francis is associated with animals. He’s associated with miracles in which he was able to communicate with animals.  So it’s traditional to have a blessing of the animals on the feast day of St. Francis, or on the Sunday following the feast day of St. Francis.

So yesterday, I conducted an animal blessing at my teaching congregation.  A few people brought their pets, or representations of their pets.  I read The Canticle of the Creatures, (also known as The Canticle of Brother Sun, or The Canticle of The Sun) a prayer written by St. Francis, and I blessed the furry friends.  (There were no feathered or scaled friends as it happens).

Right now, I’m wanting to bring another dog into our family.  We had Dusty for 12 years – we got him when he was three, and he was happy here and brought so much love, but in May, when Don was so sick (in fact, when Don was in the hospital), Dusty could no longer stand up, and it was time to have the vet come over and euthanize him.  It was a sad day, but he could no longer be happy, and that would have been sadder.

Then in August, one of our cats died.  She’d been sick for a while, and medication didn’t help her.  So now we are left with Rosie.  Rosie the cat.

All of these animals have blessed us in one way or another.  Even though they’ve also clawed my furniture (oh, that poor, poor chair!), even though Rosie has torn up all sorts of papers, even though they’ve pooped and puked on the floors, and sometimes on the bed, they’ve been blessings.

Poor Rosie is grieving the loss of her best friend Dusty, and Don, whom she curled up with all the time.  I do get frustrated with her sometimes – she’s lonely, so she wants to be with me all the time.  With me in my face.  Did I mention I’m REALLY allergic?  That’s why I have so many pets.  Well, I love them in spite of the allergies.

So I don’t just want to bring a new dog into the house for me, I want to bring one in so Rosie won’t be so lonely.

Now, Dusty isn’t the first dog I’ve ever had.  Rosie and Allegra aren’t the first cats.  New dogs and cats aren’t replacements.  They’re just new ones.  They fill some of the void, but not the whole void.  And they are beings in their own right.

So many changes in my life right now.  It’s nice to have some pets who love unconditionally.  And I’ll try to remember to unconditionally love them back.

That’s my mite.  It’s all I’ve got today.


Playing Games

Time out!! Sometimes I really just want to shout that – in life.  Or, “Base!  I’m on base!  You can’t touch me!” I’m not saying that my life sucks, and this isn’t a “poor me!” rant, but I really would just like to catch a break for a minute.

In May, we had to put down our 15-year-old soft-coated wheaten terrier, Dusty.  He’d been on pain medication for a long time, but one morning, he couldn’t even get up, and it was time.  Unfortunately, that time came while Don was in the hospital, so Don couldn’t even say goodbye.

Then of course, in June, Don died.  That’s really the big one here.  Yeah, I know, no surprises there.

Last week, one of our cats, 14-year-old Allegra, died.  She’d been sick, and when I took her to the vet last month and saw her chest x-rays, I knew it was bad, and when the antibiotics didn’t do anything, I knew it was worse.

Now our one remaining cat, Rosie, is beside herself.  Well, mostly, she’s beside me.  She and the dog were best buddies.  And the cats had decided that Don was their person.  So now Rosie follows me around like a puppy.   She gets right in my face sometimes, (which is wonderful for my allergies), and she wants to be with me almost all the time.  Every once-in-a-while she’ll curl up with 20-year-old daughter.  We need a new dog.

Things around the house keep breaking.  I keep getting them fixed.  Sometimes they don’t get fixed quite right.  There was a thing with a basement window and the outlet for the dryer vent, and I got upset, but there was a nice and helpful person on the other end of the phone.  It’s a little better that way.

Then there are the things that are fixed and then they work.  That’s pretty good, actually.   So there are good things.  There are good things.

Yesterday I took 20-year-old to the Virginia Scottish Games.  That was fun.  In some ways it was like a little time-out from life.  Also, it was seriously hot, so we got very tired, and I had no trouble sleeping last night.  Which was good, because today was my first day as a ministerial intern.

So things are looking up a bit.  I have a job to go to, now.  It makes a difference to have things to do during the day.  That means that all the stuff that keeps breaking around the house will have to get fixed on my schedule and not just any time.  But still.

It’s another face to wear.  Another game to play, in a way.  I have a base, as it were, at the church.  I have a desk.  And an e-mail address.  Right now, I feel safe there.

Oh, and yesterday at the Scottish Games, we visited a Cairn Terrier rescue group (if you are unfamiliar with Cairn Terriers – Toto was a Cairn).  I’m looking into getting another dog.  That will make the cat happy.  And us.

I know I can’t usually run up to the front door and yell “Base!”, or stop in the middle of everything and call a time out.  I guess I’ll just keep slogging through.  I still have to make time for those breaks when I can.  I can’t prevent everything from breaking.  I can’t stop the bad things from happening.  But I can play the games.  I guess I’ll just keep playing along.

That’s it, that’s all I’ve got.