watching, reading, and writing stories

Pondering Pets

Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile, it’s been a rough week. One of my cats got very sick and stopped eating. We took him to and from the vet multiple times and he ended up in an animal hospital over the weekend, but finally we had to just face it. He wasn’t going to pull through and it would be better to just put him down. I’ve never gone through this with a pet before. We used to have indoor/outdoor cats so they usually just disappeared or got hit by a car. We never had to be the ones to make the decision. And now I can see how hard it really is, and how drawn out the process is. We kept having hope that he would get better that different treatments would work, but they didn’t help. And even though I’ve cried more in this past week than I have in… a long time, I’ve also learned something.

I think sometimes how we love our pets can be a picture of how God loves us. It’s not a perfect picture, but there are several similarities. Like a pet owner, God owns us, we belong to Him and He wants what’s best for us. He loves us even when we make messes or need help and He delights in giving us good things that we enjoy. A book I’ve been reading called “A Shepherd Looks At Psalm 23” by Phillip Keller goes into this further. In it I’ve seen how much God loves and cares for us, like a shepherd does for his sheep.

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And although we may get annoyed by that incessant meow, bark, or whimper, God never tires in caring for us and wants us to speak to Him in any circumstance through prayer. And though we may not know exactly what our pets are trying to tell us, God knows your very thoughts and exactly what you need.

And I think that just like I enjoy when one of my cats shows me affection and wants to be near me, get petted and maybe sit on my lap, God enjoys when we just want to be near Him and spend time with Him and sit in His presence.

So anyway, hope you are reminded of God’s deep love for you by my random thoughts today.

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The Importance of Listening

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I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, I was the ‘shy’ kid. I didn’t talk much, at least to strangers and I was often quiet. It seemed like talking was just too hard, probably because I wasn’t sure what others would think about what I said, or I just didn’t feel like I had anything to contribute to the conversation. Especially in a big group, this can still be the case. So I thought it was a problem, if only I could talk freely like other kids… or adults.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve overcome some of those irrational fears that I had as a kid. I can talk in a group, or even on stage if I need to. But I still have a tendency to listen instead of speak. And I’m glad I do. I’ve heard so many things about the importance of listening… or “active listening.” It’s a real skill and not everyone has it naturally. I think because of my ‘shy’ personality, this was easier for me to learn, and it is very beneficial, especially in close relationships.

I’ve gone through a lot of trainings for Disaster Relief, or working with impoverished people, and even for leadership, and all of them have emphasized the importance of listening. Listening shows care for another person. It includes eye contact, nodding and can even include talking, such as repeating what the other person says to make sure you understand, or asking follow-up questions. But the focus is on what the other person wants to talk about, or in some cases needs to talk about.

Now being quiet and listening isn’t something I feel ashamed of, but something I’m thankful for. It’s a blessing to be a true friend for someone else and show care through listening. And though there are times I need to talk too, I’m glad I’ve learned how to listen.

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