Raising cats and compost

A few years ago my next door neighbour’s cat died. Her name was Lucy, and she was a short-haired calico. The cat, that is, not my next-door neighbour.

My daughter was four. She was sad, because our cat had died barely a year before, and this time my daughter had a new arsenal of knowledge under her belt: she insisted that I go round to my next door neighbour’s house and pray for the revival of the cat.

Ummm…

Because God can do anything, Mummy. Don’t you believe that?

Well, yes, I do believe that. And yes, I believe that the power of God can raise people – and even cats – from the dead, and that if we have that power living in us then yes, we too can see cats raised from the dead. We’re big on faith, our family.

But…ummm…

Now I’m not ashamed of my faith. Hell, we had our family photo plastered across a double-page spread of the paper as a representation of a Christian Family In An Age of Declining Faith! But still, going to visit my non-Christian next-door-neighbour in post-Christian Australia to tell him God’s going to raise his cat from the dead…ummmm…

Some things just need to stay dead. And that’s OKAY.

I’m remembering this today, because there’s something else that died a few years ago – eighteen years ago to be exact – and by now it’d be pretty darn smelly if it were to get up and start wandering round the grass again, and that’s exactly what it’s threatening to do. It’s a dream I used to have. Something I loved. Something I used to believe in. Something that died, and I grieved, and allowed new dreams to grow from the compost of what used to be.

Except now the new dream is wilting, its last bright petals shriveled and dancing to the dirt, to be swallowed by the compost, and suddenly I see that the compost that birthed it is stirring to life again, and is wanting to walk. This has happened before, with something else. It hurt. A lot. Some things need to stay dead.

But when I look back at that time, with the Something Else, the dead thing that walked, no matter how much it hurt at the time, I’m a better person, a happier person, because of it. Yes, it was smelly. And pretty ugly at first, but it grew into something beautiful. It grew into me.

I’m sad for the wilting dream, and, smelly though it may be, I’m just a bit excited about the walking compost in my heart. I’m glad there’s a time for resurrection.

My next-door-neighbor moved out a few years ago, and all that’s left of him is a memory, and a scrawled note on the bottom of the fence that I can see from the kitchen window. It says “Lucy Girl”, and it marks the place where the little calico cat is buried. There’s a beagle in the garden now, and much mud and compost. I’m hoping that the beagle doesn’t turn into a digger – things could get interesting (and smelly). But a pertinent reminder: even now, in God’s universe, it’s never too late.

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