We own cats.
I feel that I have already made a fair number of startling confessions on this blog, so by this time, you really have no excuse for being shocked when I tell you that I am not a cat person. However, I am also not a rat person, and since moving to the damp side of Washington State, where roof rats rule the literal roost, I have had to choose between these two possible identities.
The decision was made very clear last Christmas. I was leading an online Bible study, sitting at the kitchen counter, when my entire family walked soberly into the kitchen, out of the view of the laptop screen, with faces all molded into similar masks of disgust. They had been fetching Christmas decorations out of storage and discovered that if a gang of young roof rats get the idea in their collective heads to ingest their weight in Christmas candle wax, it will actually serve to preserve their dead bodies eerily well. I suspect that it was a hazing ritual.
I don’t know if you have ever contemplated eating large volumes of Christmas candle wax, but if so, you’ve been warned. Your face absolutely will stick that way.
That was the day that I decided to get cats.
This isn’t the first time that I have been seized with rodent-motivated decisiveness. When we moved up near the Canadian border, we moved into a mouse mansion and after having to scour all my kitchen drawers multiple times, and then seeing the spiteful creatures skibble across the floor (like they owned the place!!), I reached my breaking point. Did you know that you can actually have feral cats delivered to your door? It’s true. You do not adopt feral cats; you “rehouse” them. Well, I had 13 feral cats rehoused to my garage and I must say, the mice problem dropped considerably. To my mind, they were the perfect pets — they were cute, but had zero desire to have you touch them (the feeling was mutual) and they were vicious killers.
So when we discovered the mummified rats, I decided it was time, once again, to become cat owners, but this time, I opted for kittens that could grow up to be murderous fiends, but also would be fun to pet and cuddle and play with for the quail (wow, that sounds wrong). And thus we acquired Fingal, Eberhard, and Ibbotson. It may or may not be obvious, but house rules dictate that Mother names the pets, vehicles, and appliances. None of this “Fluffy” or “Mittens” business. If you want pets that will sink their teeth into things, you had best start by giving them names they can sink their teeth into.
Fingal, sadly, failed to return home some months ago. For better or worse, raising kids on farms, they grow up knowing that cats are a temporary gift. There is no telling when they may disappear, or where they go. One particularly young and adorable quail, after such a disappearance, pondered, “Maybe he went to college!” It seemed as good a theory as any.
But Eberhard and Ibbotson have proceeded to become everything that a hired gun (or, hired paw, if you prefer) ought to be and this week, they proved their mettle by an absolutely disgusting dismembering of a rabbit in the yard. Huh… I think I was supposed to put alerts at the top of the page that those sensitive to the killing of cuddly animals may want to spend some peaceful moments in the archives, reading about less graphic subjects, like my hysterectomy, and bypass this post altogether.
You must understand, though, that rabbits in the world of farming and gardening are not adorable and harmless. They are a pest. They kill food for people. With me so far? Done gagging at your screen and weeping over your childhood Beatrix Potter stories? Good. Let’s get to the point.
You and I have a problem with sin. If you have spent longer than 5 minutes on this blog, then we can consider that point fairly well established (even if you aren’t yet convinced of yours, you have ample evidence of mine). But our problem goes beyond the simple fact of our constant sin — our problem gets even gnarlier because we think our sin is cute.
Why is it that it is so satisfying to gossip about another person? To delicately criticize another woman’s parenting, or how a family schools their kids? To make comparisons where we brazenly tip the scales in our favor, putting our own rebellions and failures and disgraces in a photoshopped light — that favorite filter of ours called, “mistakes”? The truth is, we don’t really think our sin is all that bad. Oh, we know we are sinners (how does that phrase go — “I’m only human… humans make mistakes, but we should take the good with the bad”…), but deep down, we don’t really view our sin as disgusting, as murderous, as a threatening and vicious beast that constantly seeks to destroy both us and everyone we come into contact with — everyone we love.
It is only when we come to grips with the sinfulness of our sin that we can see the graciousness of grace in Christ Jesus. He came to save sinners.
So be brutal with your sin! John Owens, that wise Puritan preacher, once said, “Be killing sin, or sin will be killing you.” Hire the Hitman (the only payment that will suffice is all of you, hold nothing back), and sing His praises as He puts it to death.