My very first pet was a Tabby cat named Puff. I am not sure why I named him Puff. Maybe he was puffy or maybe that name was simply a product of the creative mind of a small child. All I know is that Puff was cool and aloof and he liked me. He did not even scratch me when I held him by the throat. I did not know that I was choking him. He must have been able to sense the love.
One day Puff did not show up when I went outside to feed him. That was odd, because He always came to get his grub on. So I broke THE cardinal rule that my mom had set for me – “Do not cross the creek for any reason!” I am not sure why that was such a big deal since the creek was only about six inches deep and about a yard wide. But my cat was missing so I took my Young Indiana Jones self, put on my cowboy boots and my favorite pair of shorts and crossed the creek and prepared myself for the long journey to the tobacco barn. It was about fifty yards away.
What I found inside the dark, musty old barn was a revelation to me. Lying there on the floor was Puff! Puff was a perfect name for him too because he was really puffy. In fact, he was about to burst. Pleased with my discovery and confident that my mom would be proud, I grabbed the bloated feline by the tail and dragged him down the hill, across the creek, and up to the step by the back door of our house. “Mom,” I shouted proudly, “I found Puff!”
I wish you could have seen her face. It was a mixture of horror, disgust, confusion, and prayerful reflection; as in, “Oh God, what is wrong with my son?” She did the best she could to explain death, that Puff was no longer with us, and that I should immediately, but gently, drop the cat before it exploded all over my favorite cowboy boots. She did a great job as the undertaker/minister. Finer words have not been said over a dead cat. Puff was buried with grace and dignity. My mom thought it was over.
It was not over by a long shot.
Imagine her bewilderment when I came to the back door about three days later and asked, “Why are there worms in my cat?” Now there is a Hallmark moment for you. It probably explains why my mother became such a deeply religious person. I heard her pray many times, “Oh my God!” She was so spiritual.
While digging up a cat is a bad idea it is eve worse to dig up your past. Past hurts, past failures, and past sins need to be buried under the forgiving blood of Jesus Christ and left there. Digging them up always stinks. It shackles you to your past rather than to your future. Everybody has past hurts, failures, and sins. Acknowledge them, ask for forgiveness, release forgiveness to others, and leave them in the past. God only uses broken people anyway. Being broken makes you depend on God and helps you understand others. Burying the past heals the cracks in your life and allows you accomplish God’s mission for your life.
So let’s stop digging up past hurts, failures, sins…and cats. Everybody will be a lot happier. Plus, it smells a lot better.