Thinkerfromiowa's Blog

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Rainbow Bridge

Rainbow Bridge

Hello, everyone.

In one of my Asperger’s Syndrome groups this morning (1/17/12), there was an e-mail that almost broke my heart.  Someone in that group had to have his pet cat put down, and people were trying to comfort this person.  Those of us who have loving hearts and souls have traveled this path and know how it feels to lose a beloved pet.  Here is the pertinent part of that e-mail.

– – – – – – – – – –

Have you ever heard of the legend of the Rainbow Bridge? It goes like this:

Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor. Those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent. His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together….

Author unknown…

– – – – – – – – – –

It is hard to imagine, but there is indeed a contrast to this glorious scene.  That contrast appeared in a Chicago newspaper back in the middle 1980s.

After I lost my Ginny and before Carol came into my life, I lived and worked in Waukegan, Illinois.  I worked third trick at a facility for the developmentally disabled in that town.  I subscribed to the Chicago Tribune and would buy a copy of the Chicago Sun-Times when I would go out for breakfast after getting off work.

One of the papers carried Dear Abby’s column and the other carried Ann Landers’.  I don’t remember which column carried this item, so I will say it was Ann Landers.  But I remember the item vividly; here it is, as I remember it.

A child had a pet kitten who died.  The little girl asked her pastor why did God let her kitty die.  The pastor told the little girl to shut up and quit asking such stupid questions.  The little girl’s mother asked Ann what she thought.  Ann’s answer was priceless.

“I have seen mean and vicious behavior in my time, but this tops it all.  What a cruel, heartless, vicious thing to say to s little child who had lost a beloved pet!  In my opinion, this man should not be allowed to be around young children at all, but if he is, he needs to be under supervision at all times to prevent any possible child abuse.  This man is very sick, but he is also extremely dangerous.  If he can react in this manner to a serious trauma in the life of a little girl, then what evil is he capable of committing in the lives of those under his professional care?”

What wisdom!!  And what truth Ann spoke!

I over time have mentioned Sandy, my little beagle mix who was at my side when I lost my Ginny.  I have related how she used to lick the tears from my cheek in my times of grief, while the followers of “Jesus” laughed and sneered at me as I went through my personal hell.  I have also mentioned Wrinkles, the Shar Pei that Carol’s sister and family owned at one time.

One time, Carol and I were discussing our loss of Sandy and Wrinkles, and we came to the conclusion that God had a special place in heaven for these and all the other loyal pets who precede us in death.  Indeed, to deny such a reward to our faithful pets makes no sense at all.

I have also mentioned the Nazarene pastor who got his knickers in a knot because he read in a magazine, which had an ax to grind, that people spent more money in a given year on pet food and vet bills than they spent on winning souls for the “precious Lord Jesus.”

So let’s look at this “precious Lord Jesus” in the light of our faithful pets.  First, in Matthew 21, there is the account that Jesus cursed an innocent tree because it did not have any fruit on it – during a season when it WAS NOT SUPPOSED to bear any fruit!  So we can get a good idea of what Jesus’ reaction would be if Fido refused to fetch or if Fluffy hissed at him.

In terms of animals, we have the accounts of the “healing” of Legion, when Jesus answered the prayers of demons and sent the demons into a herd of pigs.  The story is told in Matthew 8, Mark 5, and Luke 8.  Nothing is said in the accounts about the pigs doing anything to upset Jesus.  They were simply doing what pigs do.

And then there is the story of the so-called “Triumphant entry.”  THIS story is told in Matthew 21 and John 12.  Now one could logically expect that a virile man in his 30s would be capable of walking into a town or city under his own power.  Yet Jesus needed the assistance of a donkey to enter a city.  And according to Matthew, he needed the assistance of a donkey’s foal as well!

Christians are VERY fond of saying that “man” is the crowning glory of God’s creation and that he is far superior to the animals.  Yet there is a passage in Ecclesiastes 3 that is absolutely remarkable!  Here is Ecclesiastes 3:18-21.

“I also thought, ‘As for me, God tests them so that they may see that they are like the animals.  Man’s fate is like that of the animals; the same fate awsaits them both:  As one dies, so dies the other.  All have the same breath; man has no advantage over the animal.  Everything is meaningless.  All go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.  Who knows if the spirit of man rises upward and if the spirit of the animal  goes down into the earth?’”

NASTY little scripture portion, that!  Evangelicals are VERY fond of braying that we go to be with “Jesus” when we die.  But that little tidbit clashes mightily with what Solomon tells us in Ecclesiastes.  Plus, there is not one single scripture to support such a preposterous idea.  Evangelicals – especially Fundamentalists – also like to bray that our pets can’t go to “heaven” because they don’t have souls.  But this also clashes mightily with what Solomon tells us.  Also, there is not one single verse of scripture that tells us absolutely that possession of a soul is mandatory for entrance into “heaven.”

Earlier, I cited an incident where a pastor – obviously an Evangelical – told a little girl to shut up and stop asking stupid questions when she asked the pastor why God let her kitty die.  Let’s pretend that she posed the same question to a Mainline pastor – United Methodist, PCUSA, Lutheran, Episcopalian, etc.  We’ll call him Pastor Jones.

Susie asks, “Pastor Jones, why did God let my kitty die?”

Pastor Jones squats down so that he is eye level with little Susie.  “Susie, you learn about God’s love in Sunday School, don’t you?”

“Yes, Pastor Jones.  Mrs. Smith tells us that God loves each one of us and that he wants us to love each other like he does.”

“Well,  Susie, God loves animals just as much as he loves people.  That is why he takes care of the wild animals out in the country just like you took care of your kitty Fluffy.  Because God loves animals, he watches over them.  And because he is God, he knows things that we as people don’t.  I believe that God knew that Fluffy faced the possibility of going through a really bad time later in her life, so he chose to take Fluffy to be with him right now to spare her from going through that bad time.”

“So God took Fluffy to be with him because he loves her as much as he loves me.  Right, Pastor Jones?”

“That’s right, Susie.  God did not take you because he wants you to grow up to be a woman and have little Susies of your own.  But you know what?  God has a little corner of heaven that belongs to our pets like Fluffy.  I have 3 or 4 dogs who are waiting up there for me, just as Fluffy is waiting for you.  And one day in the future, I will be with my dogs again and you will be with Fluffy again,l and we will live together forever in the presence of God.”

“Thank you, Pastor Jones.  I love God and I love you.  And I will love Fluffy forever.”

What a contrast to the poor little girl that Ann Landers told us about!

In conclusion, here is another jewel from one of my Asperger’s groups:  This is from1/18/12.

– – – – – – – – – –

A Dog’s Purpose?

(from a 6-year-old).

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.

Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I’d never heard a more comforting explanation. It has changed the way I try and live.

He said,”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,

”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

I BELIEVE THIS APPLIES TO OUR FELINE FRIENDS ALSO!

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Be loyal.

Never pretend to be something you’re not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.

There comes a time in life, when you walk away from all the drama and people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh, forget the bad, and focus on the good. So, love the people who treat you right. Think good thoughts for the ones who don’t. Life is too short to be anything but happy. Falling down is part of LIFE…Getting back up is LIVING…

– – – – – – – – – –

“Dogs already know how to live a good life, so they don’t have to stay as long.”  What wisdom from the lips of a 6-year-old..  Not once in the speeches as recorded in the four gospels did “Jesus” ever come close to uttering anything this profound.

The Supreme God created us to love – to love each other as ourselves, as The Buddha taught, and to love God’s creation, as the American Indians believed.  That especially means loving our beloved pets, be they cats, dogs, birds – or even pigs!

That is truly a good way to live.  Too bad that “Jesus” and his robots never seemed able or willing to learn that very valuable lesson.

Have yourselves a good day today.

Bill

 

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January 19, 2012 - Posted by | Miscellaneous, Religion

2 Comments »

  1. Bill, did you ever hear of St, Francis of Assisi? Have a good day and love people too.

    Comment by Michael | August 18, 2016 | Reply

    • Yes indeed I have heard of St. Francis of Assisi and his love of animals. Indeed a classical composer — I forget who — wrote a piece of music titled “Francis of Assisi Preaching to the Birds.”

      As for loving people, I let them earn my love before I give it. I have learned to do this through hard experiences.

      Comment by thinkerfromiowa | August 20, 2016 | Reply


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