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Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

When the decision to help Biscuit die had been made, we had to talk specifics with the vet’s people. A very gentle, soft-spoken woman named Heather, presented the options to me over the phone. I asked for the prices of each option. I was somewhat in a fog of grief, so I had to ask her to repeat several things. The gist of it all was, Biscuit’s body could be returned to us for burial (no charge, except for the injection); he could be cremated individually and returned to us in a basic urn, or in a decorative urn of our choosing ($200 plus injection and urn cost); or he could be cremated along with all the other animals who had recently died, and nothing would be returned to us ($90 plus injection). After going over the prices, Heather added, “I know your bill is already huge, with the last week of day hospital, so I imagine you want to keep costs down…”

“Well, yes,” I answered, on autopilot, while mulling our options. We had once buried another dog in the yard of our old house. We had been told then that it was illegal to do so in our area, and this was a source of anxiety for a very young LG. I thought aloud that cremation would be better. I mentally dismissed, though apparently did not state, that I did not want Biscuit lumped in with all the other deceased pets.

So Heather continued trying to help me with arrangements. “OK, then, we’ll have $90 for the euthanasia; we’ll do the cremation; the mass is an additional $90…”

The mass? We would, I was certain, say a prayer of thanksgiving and blessing as we buried Biscuit’s ashes in the yard, but we had no intention of having a mass for him. $90? For a priest . . . mass cards . . . ? Just when I was mentally finalizing the funeral arrangements, Heather throws in this monkey wrench. I went through an elaborate inner process, trying to find a compartment for this new mass information. I finally decided that I needed to respond something like, “Thank you for thinking of that [clearly, Heather is Roman Catholic, and apparently assumed that we are as well; she is only trying to be sensitive and attentive to our spiritual needs], but we are Presbyterian [Biscuit has received communion (and by “received,” I mean stolen, and by “communion,” I mean bread) on at least two occasions], so we really won’t need a mass, we’ll take care of our own service.”

I opened my mouth to make this rather odd reply, but instead, out came, “Wait, what?”

Turns out, “the mass” meant “mass cremation,” as in, with all the other pets. That’s not what we wanted. Even though we were already dipping into all the $ we had, and some we didn’t, for his care, we wanted him cremated alone. I told Heather this, and that we’d take the basic container, nothing fancy, and we’d bring him home to bury him.

So that’s the story of how Biscuit was almost converted at the end of his life. We were greatly surprised that the “basic container” which I imagined as a plastic margarine tub, is actually a lovely wooden box with an intricate floral carving on the top. It is now on a bookshelf. I don’t know when or if we’ll bury it. Presbyterian.

RIPBiscuit

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Easter cupcakes

I wish for each of you a joyful Easter day, peace beyond all understanding in the midst of whatever is happening, and a way to get to a place that feels like home. Those are the blessings of Easter, it seems to me today.

I learned something about Easter celebrations this year, thanks to the internet. All my adult life, I’ve heard Roman Catholic friends and relatives talk about “doing the Stations of the Cross.” I figured it had something to do with remembering the crucifixion of Jesus, but I didn’t know what. The “stations” are not part of my Protestant tradition. But I was curious, and I had internet, so I went a-googlin’. First I found sites for adults that gave me information but didn’t entice me in the least. I learned that the “stations” are a devotional practice that begin in the 4th century in Jerusalem. Believers went to places that Jesus had gone during His last days and hours, and meditated upon His experience and its meaning. For a Christian, that is clearly a worthwhile thing to do, but the way in which it was presented — going to different locations in a church and reciting scripted verses and prayers — didn’t capture my imagination.

Then I went to a Stations of the Cross site for children, and I saw much more value in the practice. That’s the site I’d like to share with you this morning. What I liked most about it is that after describing each scene — Jesus being mocked, or Simon helping to carry the cross — the reader is encouraged to remember a time when you felt that way, and “show Jesus your heart.” Then Jesus will help you change your heart, will heal your heart. That seemed to me to be as good a description of following the Christian path as any I’ve ever seen: showing Jesus my heart, getting help to change my heart when it needs to change.

Happy Easter, friends.

He is risen!

Psalm 51:10-12

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