Yeah, I know...isn't she melt-your-heart cute? Her family left her in our care for the week. While they are vacationing at the beach she's vacationing at Camp Tom and Betsy. I think she likes it here. There's lots of house to investigate (when she isn't baby-gated to one room) and there's another doggie to play with. Our dog, Phoebe, isn't as enamored with little pup as pup is with her. Fortunately, Phoebe can get away through her doggie door, so it all works out. She'll let the little one hop, skip, and sniff around her, but when the nipping starts, that's it. Phoebe looks at me like, "Are you going to do something about this? 'Cause if you're not, I'm outta here."
This little fluff ball is good company and she keeps us on our toes. You wouldn't be wrong to interpret that -- she's pretty much underfoot...all the time. If I were much older I'd be concerned about tripping on the little sweetie and causing damage to one or the other of us. I've heard that older people live longer and stay happier and healthier if they have a pet. Which begs the question, am I an older person yet?
Pets, when they aren't causing grief, serve as comforting distractions from the real world. We lost our cat, Cleopatra, to old age this week. I'm grieving over her as well as for our son, Nathan. She was his cat. He knew her, cared for her, and loved her many more years than we did. Cleo came to live with us 3 years ago when Nate moved to California. Okay, truth be told, he left us with 3 cats, and Cleo was the last survivor. But listen...we're not that bad of caregivers...in our defense, two of the cats were old, and the young one met with unspeakable tragedy. Enough said.
This week I've been out the door every morning to help with Vacation Bible School. I have a job I didn't think I would care for. I shuttle 3-year-olds from station to station, helping them learn and participate, take turns and follow directions, have fun, be happy, and not think about mommy or daddy or grammy or whoever dropped them off.
Given a vote I would have said 3 is too young for VBS. But the director has a philosophy that if they'll stay at 3 they'll begin learning how VBS works, how to be part of a group, they'll get a clue what this is all about, and next year they'll be eager learners. I think she's right! I've seen these kiddos grow more confident every day. They sing the repetitive parts of songs and do the motions. They're listening to stories, answering questions, making crafts, and waiting for prayer before eating snacks. They are so indescribably cute -- precious, adorable little munchkins! Tomorrow is the last day of VBS, our last day together. Oh gosh, how sad. I'm getting separation anxiety just thinking about it. It's been a joy this week to make the little 3-year-olds feel welcome.
There are a lot of important things I'd like to write about. I'm passionate about social issues like feeding the hungry, protecting people from senseless violence, teaching tolerance. encouraging dialog with and respect for people of differing political and religious views. I'd like to defend the persecuted and stand up for equal rights. I want to love my enemies, bless those who curse me, do good to those who hate me, and pray for anyone who spitefully uses me.
But here I am, blogging about puppies and small children. The innocent, the cute, the cuddly, the ones who offer acceptance and affection, no questions asked. I like them best. I think maybe they are the greatest on earth and in the kingdom of heaven. It's no wonder Jesus told us we need to be like little children. Just like children and puppy dogs, Jesus is all about unconditional love. He offers it freely to everyone. Good thing too, because, if not for his unconditional love, I'm afraid we'd all be doomed.
Who Is the Greatest?
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”
2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
6 “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. 7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!