Things I Think…

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42 Responses

  1. Dan from Georgia says:

    well spoken thoughts here Micheal. We aren’t promised a pain-free life and those that say we should always be “victorious…wealthy…flourishing” are selling crap. Life involves pain, and loving someone is painful, whether or not they are covered in fur – wasn’t trying to be funny there…just tying into your #9 & 10.

  2. Michael says:

    Dan,

    That is truth…we’ve been sold more than a few “false” Gospels…

  3. Captain Kevin says:

    So much truth here.

  4. Michael says:

    Thanks, CK!

  5. Em Wegemer says:

    Wise thoughts, Michael, wise thoughts

  6. Josh says:

    Keep singing the blues, Michael. For some of us, it is the only truth we are sure of.

  7. Michael says:

    Thanks, Em…

  8. Tim says:

    One thing that always strikes me about Jesus’ presence at Lazarus’ tomb are His tears. He weeps, even while knowing that Lazarus is about to walk out of that grave at Jesus’ command. Yet Jesus still weeps. That is how much He loves Mary and Martha, how much He identifies with their grief.

    Weep at the death of Smokey, Michael. It is normal and God-given. I would be more concerned if you did NOT weep at the death of your beloved friend.

  9. Michael says:

    Josh,

    Amazing that you would use that metaphor…I was thinking this morning that singing the blues moves into great black Gospel…the pain produces the joy or at least the promise of it…was listening to Sister Tharpe at 4 this morning…

  10. Michael says:

    Tim,

    Well said and true…thank you.

  11. filistine says:

    pain, loss, and tragedy are seeds sown onto the ground–and some fall on rocky ground, others on dry ground, still others the birds pluck away, but some falls on fertile ground and much fruit comes from their bounty. Too many proclaimers of the gospel actually inhabit infertile, hostile ground and the difficulties of life do not produce in them the character of Christ. May it be not so with us.

  12. Michael says:

    fil,

    God word…amen.

  13. Officerhoppy says:

    It’s already been said but this is a great post.

    I especially liked #2.

    I’ve never owned a cat but I’ve had dogs all my life. My favorite was a Carin Terrior. She was my “study buddy”. My sermon prep was normally done at my house, in my office, and Maggie would always be at my feet.

    I used to put a basket on my handle bars and she would ride with me.

    One day after a ride, her back legs wouldn’t work. Took her to the vet who said she had a large tumor in her hind end. We had to put her down. I loved that dog and I wept like a little child.

    If there is a secret to a “happy life” is learning to shake hands with suffering—IMO—and after grieving (which our own bodies tell us when it’s time to stop) moving forward.

  14. Michael says:

    Officerhoppy,

    Thank you and amen…

  15. parker says:

    Michael,

    #9 – YES! Well expressed.
    and especially, “The issue is the loss of a loved one.” Exactly!

    Even in the midst of your pain and talking about yourself and your feelings you are ministering to me and many others.

    Hang in there. You know that in time the pain will ease.

    “Sister Tharpe” – That made me smile.

  16. Michael says:

    Thanks, Parker…Sister Rosetta chases away the blues with the blues…

  17. Alex says:

    #2. Truth. I’m copying this to my own FB page. Grief as prayer is a perfect way of expressing what is actually occurring. This distorted idea that grief shows faithlessness needs to be obliterated; I believe it to be quite the opposite – my grief takes me to the very throne of God. Thank you for your words.

  18. Michael says:

    Alex,

    Thank you…if it resonates with you, then I trust I got it right…the religious among us will never get it …

  19. Janet Linn, BrideofChrist says:

    Thank you for posting so honestly about your grief, Michael . My dogs are like family and the tears I shed when one of them passes are very real. I am so sorry for your loss of a beloved companion who brought you so much comfort in your life. My beloved father passed recently at age 96, and luckily I was able to fly to Wisconsin to spend time with him during the last week of his life. It’s been 5 months since he passed and it’s still difficult for me because I simply miss him so much. I almost feel guilty grieving because I know I was especially lucky to have him in my life for so long, but that I think that is also why I miss his presence so much. Years ago a friend passed away and when I attended his funeral at Calvary Chapel I wore a black dress jacket. I actually got some disapproving looks because I was wearing black. I had forgotten the ‘no wearing black’ rule at Calvary Chapel funerals because we were all supposed to be showing how happy we were that the deceased was now in the presence of God. I knew this man was with the Lord and his long battle with cancer was finally over, but he left behind two young sons and a young wife, and I was very sad about his death. There’s no use denying how difficult it is to part with a loved one; better to grieve openly and honestly. God is real, but He can’t take away all our pain until we’re actually in heaven. It was sometimes stressful at Calvary because I always felt the pressure to pretend that Christians never feel pain and sadness. Jesus knew better when he was on earth, Jesus wept. Thanks for reminding us of this and giving people permission to grieve in their own way instead of trying to follow some made up formula.

  20. Michael says:

    Janet Linn, BrideofChrist,

    Thank you and may God bring you every comfort in your loss.

    Some folks think they honor God by denying their humanity…and that is a lie from the pit.

    Grieve as you loved…in that way you honor both the person (or pet) and the Lord who brought them.

  21. Linn says:

    Michael,
    I’m glad that you are willing to open your heart to another cat! When I lost Ally last year, after only having her for two years, I didn’t think I could have another cat for a while. I didn’t want to get hurt again, having lost my cat of 18 years during the beginning of the pandemic. But, there was Felix, whose owners needed a place for him quickly due to the allergy issue that they didn’t know about when they adopted him. Three weeks after Ally took off, Felix moved in with his all his goofiness and attitude. I was smitten immediately and I’m so glad I said yes. Liam won’t be Smokey, but I hope that he will provide much joy as you get to know each other.

  22. Jean says:

    “9. People try to differentiate between the loss of a person and the loss of a pet, but that is not really the issue…the issue is the loss of a loved one…the loss of love given and received…yes, people are more valuable than pets, but love for either is love that refuses measure…“

    In all seriousness, this is perhaps the most insightful thing you’ve ever written. It helps me understand the grief I feel for the loss of a pet.

  23. Elena says:

    Well said Michael!
    Those in pain understand and appreciate your writings🥹
    And I am so glad you’re having another roommate 🙃…
    That’s awesome 🤩

  24. bob1 says:

    “Be thou comforted, little dog, Thou too in Resurrection shall have a little golden tail.”

    Luther

  25. Michael says:

    Linn,

    I wasn’t going take him…the losses are too hard on me, especially as I get older.
    But…Liam and I are already buds and he’s mean to another cat I consider a friend as well.

    Liam and I already have a relationship and if anything happened to him it would hurt no matter where he lived.

    I also think he’ll help with mom…so here we go. 🙂

  26. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Thank you…I hope you feel free to give the loss as needed and deserved…

  27. Michael says:

    Elena,

    Thank you my friend…I know how much the losses have hurt you too…

  28. Michael says:

    bob1,

    Luther and I agree on something!

  29. Linn says:

    Michael, I wasn’t going to take Felix, either. I asked for a couple weeks to think about it because I didn’t feel ready. Then they sent me a photo and I couldn’t say no to those big blue eyes. He has had his issues (play aggression being the main one with one trip to urgent care for me from a bite). But he’s much calmer and a true character.. He did fill the hole and he gets me, which is why cats are such great companions.

  30. Michael says:

    Linn,

    He looks like a character…a handsome boy.
    If I would have said no, it would have meant that death had the victory over both Smokey and I…and I would be a lesser man for lack of a cat.

    They keep me in touch with my better angels…

  31. bob1 says:

    Michael, 😀

  32. Linn says:

    Michael,
    I live alone, so coming home to Felix is always a gift.
    He just stuffed half of himself into his too small yurt leftover from my last cat. I’ll be looking for a full-sized model!

  33. Michael says:

    Linn,

    For the most part, I’m isolated too.

    By choice and by circumstance.

    Miss Kitty kept name going as we fled the fires together.
    Smokey got me through heart surgery.

    I’m glad you have Felix and wish you many more happy years.

  34. JimmieT says:

    Great post Michael.

  35. Michael says:

    Thanks, Jimmie T.

  36. Em Wegemer says:

    Sorrowful….
    Had to go in to town today to sign some papers….
    Coming home there was a dead deer beside the road. I put my flashers on and got out to see if there was a safer place that I could drag it to.
    It had been hit in the head, lost an eye and it was still breathing! There was nothing I could do and right now I don’t feel very good, myself!

  37. Dave says:

    Michael,
    Some ‘professional losses’ (human fatalities on my watch) have likely tainted my perspectives on the existential value of striving to subsist in a terminally broken world.
    I sometimes think that a dead animal next to the road was weary from mourning the futility of a scarred existence, and knowingly chose their path of liberation …ending the struggle and the sorrow.

  38. Michael says:

    Em,

    Those are hard situations…and can be dangerous. Praying for you…

  39. Michael says:

    Dave,

    I understand that to a point…but every cat I’ve ever had stayed on as long as they could…because the bond they had was worth the futility.

  40. Muff Potter says:

    Michael wrote:
    “because there are those who think both are a sin…”

    Their god (small ‘g’ intentional) is a cruel and petulant tyrant whose only aim is to aggrandize himself.

  41. The New Victor says:

    Michael, I’m sorry for your loss of Smokeh The Kitteh, to channel colloquial.

    My mom ran something like a puppy mill from before I was 10 until I moved out at 18. We had a few free range cats but up to 50 dogs at one point. I had cutsey nicknames for every one of them, most with official AKC names, but I saw so many die tragically that by the time I was maybe 14 I was numbed to losses.

    Over 10 years later, my neighbor gave me her pet rat. When she expired in my hands, looking me in the face, still bruxing (grinding her teeth, the rat equivalent of cats purring), I weptm like a babe, the first time in over 20 years after I witnessed our first muttely die from car, parvo or old age. I realized that it was OK to cry over the loss of “just an animal.” My rat Rizzo who sat on my shoulder and nuzzled in my hoodie and would come when called by name.

    Anyone who shames you over that grief is anathema. Animals were created to be our companions after all.

    Sad to hear that CC shames grief… invalidating closure.

  42. pstrmike says:

    Well said Michael. Thank you. 🕯️

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