9 days ago i walked into a pet shop to look at birdcages.
they were prohibitively expensive. while chatting with the owner of the petshop, explaining to him that i needed a 'catproof' cage, and complaining about the high prices of things in general, he asked me to come inside and look at his cats.
two persian cats in cages. one- fat and healthy and beautiful.
the other- a frail skeleton with half the hair on her face gone, lying in her own filth.
i gasped in horror and protested to the owner, 'why haven't you taken her to the vet?'
'there's nothing wrong with her,' he assured me.
sick to my stomach at the sight of this wretched animal suffering, i opened the door of her cage to see if she was too far gone. she staggered to her feet, crept to the door of the cage, and gave one frail cry. it was as if she said, 'please. this is my last chance.'
do i need to tell you what happened then? money changed hands...in ten minutes we were at the animal clinic just across the street, i was feeding her the boiled chicken from my lunch, and "penelope's" new life had begun.
it was a rough start. she was- still is- a very sick little feline. massive systemic infection. worms. protozoa. third degree malnutrition. and a dreadful growth in her ear that could be malignant.
a waste of money? possibly.
a hopeless case? maybe.
but all i know is that i could not walk away and leave her to certain death in that dark, dirty petshop.
Monday, October 15, 2012
i've been thinking a lot lately about mercy.
that rare quality that 'is not strained'...
that is an attribute of God...
that tempers justice...
my lowest gift.
i score really really low on mercy.
as in, zero.
in 2006, God played such a joke on me.
he gave me a baby girl whose name was 'mercy'.
that was her given name at birth-
we added 'emma',
but her birth mom gave her that lovely name
as her only gift
and we kept it.
letting the justice of a crime be forgotten.
not giving someone what they deserve as punishment.
hard for someone like me-
a black/and/white, prophetic,
no-nonsense type of person.
i'm an 'off-with-her-head' soul.
a shylock if there ever was one.
oh! but God has had such mercy on me.
such unmerited grace
and such undeserved putting-away
of sins and punishment.
how could i do less?
and so i ponder mercy.
and i look at my little daughter
and am in awe
that God- so intentional- reminded me
and gave me her.
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
I passed a woman standing by her gate
with her head tilted back
and her slender throat exposed;
eyes looking beyond her dingy world,
she swayed rhythmically
and I could see she was singing.
Inside my air conditioned chariot,
I heard nothing of her song.
Perhaps her radio was on-
Perhaps a neighbor was strumming a guitar.
or maybe she just loved to sing.
I don't know.
I sped through her world
of broken-down shanties
and narrow garbage-strewn streets
like a wind in the night.
But long after I'd left her behind,
I saw her song in my mind.