The Things We Carry
Be kind and compassion to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God has forgiven you. + Ephesians 4:32
In our family: we have a sweet, troubled, neurotic cat named Phoebe.
She licks her heels bare with worry.
She over-eats until she’s sick.
She howls in the night as if her world is falling apart.
When we found her, she weighed 3 pounds, and we were told she lost 3 kittens to starvation on the streets of Boston.
Yesterday, I found two socks and a slipper by the front door.
This is not the first time objects have appeared out of place. Phoebe has a history of dragging items around. Often, I find several soft, small things gathered together. Phoebe always digs through our dirty laundry or the bottom of our closets to find them. She then carries them around in her mouth and picks a place to nest with ‘her baggage.’
Every time I see these random items out of place, I feel compassion for Phoebe. Is she remembering her lost kittens? Is she simply having an anxious response to our absence?
We all carry around indicators of our past. Feelings and emotions buried deep. For most of us, the things we carry are invisible. I believe, if we had eyes to see - we would notice all sorts of relics from the past piling up around us - reminding us of times we hurt, or experienced loss, or felt vulnerable. It’s true for our neighbors, too.
Every time I come home to a pile of socks by the front door, I’m grateful to Phoebe for reminding me to live compassionately, to treat the people I meet with respect and understanding.
Friends, will you join us as we practice the spiritual discipline of tenderness towards all of God's creation this week? We can't help but think it would be a great way to get ready for the mysterious season of Lent that God has left for us to find, just around the corner...