Friday, March 19, 2010

The Black Trailer

Boomer's time is drawing to a close. Tomorrow is his last show and place or not, he will move one step closer to meeting his destiny, which, in starkest terms, is someone's Easter lamb.
My son has tried everything to save his lamb but has come to the realization, however bitter, that a market lamb was purchased, rather than an animal rescue project.
He has worked hard, my son, giving up many camp-outs and other activities to take care of his lamb. He has spent many hours at the barn, cleaning (and re-cleaning) the pen, putting wood chips down (and down again) to give his lamb a warm bed. He has fed him twice a day (four around show time) and walked and run him many hours. He knows his lambs voice from all the others in the barn. The lamb, unlike other kid's animals, will follow him and when he runs, his lamb will run after him.
Boomer (because of his voice and the fact that he came from OK- heaven forgive me) will be leaving soon and my son is wrestling with the eventuality. It already hurts and it will only hurt more. He is being brave and he is learning life's lessons: of agriculture, and markets; of love, of commitment, loss and sacrifice. And he is learning, already, to start again, for in June, there will be another lamb (and possibly a goat) and he has already picked out their names: Calvin and Hobbes.
Some say that because of the love of some pet owners for their pets and vice versa, there may be cats and dogs in heaven, that a certain type of "ensoulment" occurs because of the symbiotic relationship between pet and owner here on earth. I know I've probably misspoke about the details of the theory but I do know that if there is anything to the idea at all, there will be at least one lamb to greet my son when that day comes.


kkollwitz said...

I don't think animals that predate Adam & Eve would be eligible for heaven. In fancy terms, they have an anima, not a pneuma/spiritus, which God breathed/respired into man.

But some animals that were created by man (e.g., working dogs. A cat is a decoration; a proper dog is a helpmeet) may share a bit of man's pneuma. I have to reluctantly admit, our two dogs exude something like free will and moral awareness from time to time.

I don't think any creature or thing will be in heaven because we want it to be there. But maybe a dog that shares in man's uniqueness among God's creatures might long to see the Face of God, and be able to.

eutychus said...

I think you're right, that there is a major difference between animal and man in these matters. Also, that no creature or thing will be in heaven because we want it there. I will also give you your rather charitable description of cats, though with my allergies to cats, I might think them more diabolical, even though they have been in my home since I've been married (18 years this month)and dogs have not since well before I left home (longer than I'd care to mention.)
But it is an interesting matter to discuss, though certainly not what one would describe as an "essential", this idea that you speak of, that a pet might "share a bit of man's pneuma" or "exude something like free will and moral awareness." I understand of what you speak and I think it is far more than a case of anthropomorphism. I also know that there is a major difference between the cat in my house that I feed and that of the feral cats that I feed at my back door that seems to go far beyond the matter of mere circumstance. I'm not quite sure how to describe or what to make of, the bonding that occurs between man and animal that leads among other things, to the pain upon their loss akin to the death of a family member, or how animals in our family spheres often seem to sense our pain and make moves to sooth. Like C.S. Lewis, i wonder how the animal world might have looked without the Fall. Perhaps when we love, truly love, (even an animal) then things- new things, great things, strange things- happen. Perhaps the love of a master and a creature, can save the creature. But of course that's true. Perhaps in our animals we catch the echo of that truth.

kkollwitz said...

Now you have me thinking again (a dangerous pastime). Heaven is a temporary spirit-only place which goes away after the Second Coming and our bodies'n'souls are reunited in the New Jerusalem. I suppose animals would enjoy the status quo ante of their existence in Eden. I mean, I have trouble imagining the animals had no awareness of God there. If that's right, then wouldn't the animals in the New Jerusalem have that same awareness?

eutychus said...

"Now you have me thinking again.."

Now that is indeed high praise!

"I have trouble imagining the animals had no awareness of God there. If that's right, then wouldn't the animals in the New Jerusalem have that same awareness?"

So it sounds like there may be a few lambs and (gasp! (hack, sneeze)) even a few cats. No allergies in the New Jerusalem ("there will be no tears"- after all)

Thanks for helping me work that out. I like your conclusion.