I can't believe 7 years have passed since I wrote this article. It's a story I shared with my daughter about my Maman's cat, but it also definitely applies to our other pets.
“Mommy – do you think kittens go to heaven?”
I knew the tears I’d recently shared with my mother over the loss of her cat, Genie, prompted my daughter’s question and I was acutely aware that I was being entrusted with a most delicate task. To some degree, the depth of God’s love hung in this child’s balance and I felt compelled to respond with the consideration and honesty such a question deserved.
In the space of two breaths, my mind rifled through every memory of Scripture written on my heart, but the echo of my mother’s grief distracted me…and I realized that the answer I so desperately sought lay in that grief.
For the sake of love, my mother was called to make a sacrifice – to put to rest an animal that had brought her so much joy, comfort, peace, love and who, in her last moments of life, elicited from my mother’s heart and soul, this ultimate act of compassion. This cherished pet, she lovingly placed at His feet – unwilling that the emissary of such Gifts should suffer.
“Oh yes, Anne-Marie! I DO believe that some cats go to heaven.”
“But how do you know? And which ones go to heaven?”
I repressed a smile, respectful of her solemnity as I cast about for the right words. Her gaze was expectant and unwavering.
“I know because God is an artist. Did you know that He paints the sky orange and pink in the morning and dots it with stars at night? And with a wave of His hand, He creates flowers and birds and grass…”
“And cats!” she added as she caught on.
“…and cats. He uses these things to bring us happiness and teach us about love – so they’re like His tools. And if a kitty can help God teach you how to love – then it’s a good tool.”
I knew she would understand because my 4 year old was already quite the accomplished artiste …and yet, I found myself completely taken by surprise when she added what she’d heard me tell her a million times before, “Good artists take care of their tools.”
copyright 2006 GJ Magazine