Friday, July 13, 2012

Family Feud

Matthew 5:43-45
"You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.'  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.  He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous."

When Danny and I get married, we know there will be issues with the kids adjusting to a blended family.  It's to be expected.  And, although we have our fair share of bumps in the road, Sarah, my daughter, and Danny's two boys, Giovanni and Nicco, roll with the changes and learn to get along.

What we don't anticipate, however, is the reaction of our pets.  I am bringing my dog, Maggie, and cat, Jordan, into a household which already has Allie, a sweet, good-natured cat who, when she's not roaming the outdoors, stays in the garage.  How will they respond to one another?

Maggie is used to cats, so having one more around doesn't faze her.  While Allie is cautious around the dog when they are in the yard together, she doesn't run or act skittish.  She lies down quietly and tries to simply blend in with the scenery.  Maggie takes this as acceptance.

But, when Jordan and Allie meet for the first time on our deck, it is loathe at first sight.  Oh, the hissing!  The posturing!  The caterwauling!

Jordan strikes!  Allie counters!  Danny and I separate them immediately.

"What are we going to do?"  I lament.

"Well, we can make sure they're not outside at the same time," Danny suggests, "or, we can just let them work things out and hope for the best."

Fast forward seven years.  The cats still feud like Hatfields and McCoys.  While the physical attacks have abated, Allie continues to tell Jordan off with a threatening meow.  Keeping her at bay.  Letting her know who rules the roost.

No peace.  No harmony.

Until . . .

It is a sultry July afternoon.  Both cats like nothing better than sleeping on the deck in the summer heat.  Not knowing Jordan is already outside, snoozing away, Danny lets Allie out of the garage.

What unfolds next takes us both by surprise.

Curled up in separate corners of the deck, Allie and Jordan are too lulled by the sun's warmth to care one whisker about intimidating each other.  They lounge for hours, soaking up the rays.

Looking like amicable friends, not sworn enemies.

There is peace.  Harmony . . .

And, maybe, just maybe, a wee bit of love is kindled in their kitty hearts.

 Allie

Jordan
~
Can you love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you?

Will you pray with me?
As the cats found peace basking in the warmth of the sun, Father, may we find our peace in the warm embrace of Your Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ.  May His love for us help us to love our enemies and pray for them always.  Amen.

56 comments:

  1. Oh I loved this story, Martha. It's so true when we're basking in the love of the Son our insecurities decrease and we feel more generous towards others...If only we'd make time to soak up more of this Love!

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting today, Corinne, and that you loved the story.
      Yes! We all need to soak up more of His love. The world would be a much kinder and gentler place for sure!
      Blessings!

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  2. Great story, Martha. Cats are almost as strange as people.

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    1. Thanks for dropping by today, Glynn, and so glad you enjoyed the story.
      Yes, cats certainly can be quite strange, can't they? We already know that about people . . .:)
      Blessings!

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  3. That's the real test of spiritual progress...when we can feel both love for our friends AND enemies. An important lesson Jesus taught us and one that's so easy to forget, nonetheless so important to remember!

    Great post.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting today, Jessica.
      You are absolute right - being able to achieve this point of love and forgiveness is the height of spiritual maturity. Jesus taught us so well, didn't He?
      Blessings!

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  4. Enjoyed it-

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, David, and so glad you enjoyed today's story.
      Blessings!

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  5. Hi, Martha! ~

    Great story ;-)

    In my life, I don't recognize the concept of having 'enemies', but I definitely know people who are toxic to be around. I love them, acknowledge their right to be who they are and choose to keep my distance.

    This perspective is facing a challenge, as you know, with upcoming events involving a reunion, of sorts, for my fam of origin as the first of the next generation walks down the aisle next month...

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by today, Linda!
      It's good to know that you are able to love those persons who are "toxic" and to allow them to be who they are, realizing that nothing you could probably do or say will change them.
      Know I will be keeping you in thoughts and prayers as you prepare for this family reunion.
      Blessings!

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  6. Another story so easy to relate to. Love it and the kitties!
    Gina

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    1. Thanks for stopping in, Gina, and glad you liked it. Yes, our kitties are really cute and sweet when they're sleeping. LOL!
      Blessings!

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  7. oh my gosh..what an interesting story!

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    1. Thanks so much for dropping by today, Annmarie, and glad you enjoyed today's story. I love it when I get the chance to talk about our pets.
      Blessings!

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  8. I guess those two worked it out...if only momentarily ~harmony!

    As I was reading I thought about running interference based on 'my' own limited thinking with my kids...one minute they are playing together and all is right with the world, and then next thing I know they are arguing. If, I interfere every single time, I say to myself...how will they ever learn to work it out?

    I like what Danny said, "Well, we can make sure they're not outside at the same time," Danny suggests, "or, we can just let them work things out and hope for the best."

    I do the same with my kids, sometimes I separate them and they have alone time, while other times I let them work things out and hope for the best! :) I know it is a bit different with animals, but this line of thinking also works very well with kids.

    Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Amy!
      Oh, I love your comparison of the cats with your two children! It brought back memories for me as how I, too, would sometimes intervene and other times leave them alone to battle it out. As parents, I guess we know instinctively when to separate them and when not to. :)
      Thanks for this lovely, thoughtful comment!
      Blessings!

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  9. Martha this story of your kitties reminded me of the first time Dave and Blaine fought over food. Other than that, they don't really fight and they get along really well.

    I've had those feuds with my family at some point in my life. It's absolutely difficult when you're not in good terms with the people closest to your heart. Prayer was (as always) my refuge. And God never ceases to heal the hurt, as long as we ask for Divine intervention.

    Thank you for your reflections and the story of your cuties, Martha! God bless and have a great weekend! <3 :-)

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting today, Irene!
      I'm so glad to know that Dave and Blaine get along and only had the one fight over the supper dish. :) When it comes to food, dogs will do that.
      We all have our family feud moments - I know my brother and I did growing up and so did my own two kids. I used to think Danny's boys would maim each other when they fought - luckily, they outgrew this within a year after we got married. Whew!
      And, yes, God is always there to help and heal when we call on Him. Thank goodness!
      Blessings!

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  10. Loved reading it... you are very right in saying that sometimes we loathe a person without any reason in the first instinct and then magically click with that person so well as if we knew each other since ages.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by today, Me!
      I really like the comparison you've made here, replacing the cats with people. Yes, isn't it strange how we can, for whatever preconceived notion, judge someone as "not our type" and find out later that just the opposite is true? You've made such a great point here!
      Blessings!

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  11. Martha, how sweet and precious a story! Love!

    I recall the time we were petting-sitting Red, a friend’s dog. She kept telling me that Red did not allow other dogs in her presence. She was a loner and don’t even think about walking Red with my dog Rip because it would never happen. I remember thinking, this is going to be a hassle, having to walk two dogs separately everyday for a week. I was dreading it.
    Then I got this idea that maybe, just maybe if I brought Red over and introduced her to Rip…
    I went over and got my burly neighbor Kim (yeah, Kim’s a burly woman) to go with me to get Red. The plan was for her to hold Red on the leash, for my daughter Abi to hold Rip inside on his leash, until they met face to face, and then if they started tearing each other apart we’d know there was no hope. That my friend had been right about her dog. But the difference between our thinking is that I believe all things are possible to those who believe. And so I pulled into the drive and held my breath. It was of such magnitude, that moment in time. I was bracing for an unprecedented dog fight, while simultaneously believing for a miracle.
    When we stepped out of the car with Red held tight on that leash, I nodded to Abi who was standing at the door to come on out with Rip. Ready?
    She starts out slow and easy. Rip goes right over to Red and sniffs her butt. Red just stands there wagging her tail. And they lived happily under the same roof for a week, sleeping together on the rug, walking side by side on leashes, and barking in unison at the mail man. They were one in the spirit. Yes, even dogs ;-)

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Debra, and for sharing this incredible story about Red and Rip. I loved reading this miraculous doggie tale. :)
      And, certainly, when we believe, wonders will and do happen. All the time!
      Blessings!

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  12. Oh Martha, while I found the story 'cute' at some point as it involved animals and pets for that matter, it could definitely be uncool for humans.

    Like Linda, I never regarded anybody as an enemy. There are people who make my blood boil without knowing why...but as I grew up, my attitude towards others became simpler. I'd take that I'm beginning to love myself more and loving Jesus in others become easier too. I felt forced when I was younger because I didn't wish Jesus to be displeased over my relationships with other people.

    I remember my SD telling me to go out of the chapel and cease praying (because I won't be able to do so properly anyways):P and face the one I had a dispute with first ~ pretty much like 'leaving the gifts at the altar and reconciling first~ Mt. 5,24

    I pray with you...I think when we are already infront of Love, we forget everything else...yes, like basking under the sun's warmth ;)

    Love you lots Martha :* Thank you. I enjoyed the comments just as much :P

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting today, Melissa, and leaving such a great comment.
      Your SD is so wise . . . unless our hearts are in the right place and we are reconciled with the person with whom we've had a dispute, the prayers we offer are hollow and meaningless.
      And, yes, when we recognize that we are children of God and accept how much He loves us, it is so much easier to love ourselves and see Christ in others. When we truly bask in that love, as you prayed with me, we can't see anything BUT love!
      Love you, too! Blessings, my dear!

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  13. Well there's the problem...You allowed cats to enter the house LOL Glad that peace was made and they learned to live with one another. Sometimes I get a bad first impression about someone only to learn I was wrong and they're great. It takes time and a little effort to get along!! Take care!!

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    1. David, thank you for visiting and leaving this thoughtful comment.
      We often do get bad impressions of others when we first meet, only to find out that they are okay after all.
      And, my precious Maggie, gone the way of Erin, was so loving and accepting of everyone and everything. I still miss her . . . She taught me so much about living life to the fullest.
      Blessings to you!

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  14. it's hard to pray for our enemies. But I'm always trying now.

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    1. Yes, Irene, it's never easy, but it is required of us as Christians. So, we do it! :)
      Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Blessings!

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  15. Thanks so much for this post. Whenever I need to "hear" a message, the Universe delivers it to me. Blessings to you and yours.

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Suzy!
      So glad this post spoke to you today. I'm always amazed and gratified when readers say the subject met them right where they are at the moment.
      Blessings!

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  16. What a great message! Cats can be very particular about who they like, yours prove that peace is obtainable if we can coexist with our "enemies." I love it.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Maureen!
      Yes, the cats definitely demonstrated that we can at least co-exist with our enemies. Even that takes love and forgiveness.
      Blessings!

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  17. I try to avoid my enemies as much as I can, keeping them at arms-length. I pray for them to have a good life, to concentrate on their lives and not on me.
    More blessings to you, Martha. I so much enjoyed your post :)

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Luchi!
      Sounds to me that you are doing the right thing here. Jesus certainly didn't tell us to buddy up with our enemies; loving them and praying for them is all He commanded.
      Blessings!

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  18. Sometimes we learn so much by observing animals! Powerful reflections

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Jerly!
      Yes, I'm with you - we CAN learn so much by closely observing animal behaviors. I know my cats have taught me a great deal about myself.
      Blessings!

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  19. Awesome story, Martha! I think it goes to show that grudges only hold you back in the long run, limiting your movement. Instead of not enjoying the sun, your cats figured out that the world (or deck) is big enough for the both of them!

    I certainly don't wish my enemies ill (baby steps ...)

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Adrenne!
      I agree with you that our grudges DO hold us back from being whole, healthy human beings. Anger toward and hatred of another festers within us and destroys us before ever touching the "enemy".
      So glad you enjoyed the story.
      Blessings!

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  20. Love this Martha. You always relax me when I read you.

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  21. I'm so glad you enjoy reading my posts, Adrianna. :) Thanks so much for stopping by!
    Blessings!

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  22. Great post, as always. Love the photo of the cat fight. Maybe with age has come wisdom. Or just fatigue. Or just too much fun in the sun to care!

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    1. Thanks so much for coming by, Galen!
      I was so fortunate to find that photo on Google of the two cats that could be clones of Allie and Jordan. Yes, it may be old age that has mellowed the cats, but I tend to think it's just that good ol' sun they want to share in peace.
      Blessings!

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  23. Good Morning, Martha:
    I can relate to this story on some level as my brother, Jay worked on Cape Cod in 1997. While there he found a stray Akita-Chow mix. She looked ALMOST identical to a Dingo. Same orange colored fur, same face, same ears. Every morning the dog appeared outside the house he was staying at. Oh look there's that Dingo he'd say to his roommates. The name stuck and she became Dingo. Longer story shorter. No one claimed her so Jay did.

    Meanwhile back home in Madison, CT we had my cat Tigger. The day Dingo came home there was some scuffling. From the start, Dingo just wanted to be friends. Tigger would have none of it. Every time Dingo came near, Tigger would either turn away or stare the dog down and howl and hiss. Eventually, Dingo got the hint and uneasy truce was settled.

    Fast forward six months:
    Dingo and Tigger were still at odds but something changed in Tigger and she began an uneasy approach to the dog on some early evenings when Dingo was sleeping. Kinda funny to watch because Dingo knew VERY well what was happening. She'd open one eye and see Tigger slowly navigating around her. Needless to say, they became fast friends after a few weeks of this behavior. They started sleeping in my room together. They'd eat at the same time together. It was a friendship that had a challenging start but ended up perfect.

    Speaking of challenging, when we had to put Tigger down it was perhaps the MOST difficult thing I had to do, because I moved out of my parents house. I couldn't take Tigger with me for two reasons:
    1. She was outdoors her entire 20 year life and where I was moving, the highway was just through the woods.
    2. I'm convinced she became sick because I left. I was the only one she bonded with and when I left she was NOT going to get the attention she did w/me.

    After Tigger was gone, it was sad to see Dingo as she scoured the house for her friend. For weeks, Dingo would sit by her food and look up at me then she'd run around the house looking for Tigger. At night when we were ready for bed, Dingo would wait outside my opened door. She'd glance down the hall expecting her friend to amble in and sleep beside her. They were each other's BEST friends, an unexpected friendship but one that had deep meaning for the other.
    --
    Chris

    Funny as I was writing this I came upon a blog post myself.

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    1. Oh, Chris, what a touching and beautiful story you have shared here. Isn't it amazing how some pets come around to really liking one another? It sounds very similar to the way my Jordan reacted when I brought dog, Maggie, home. Took her awhile to warm up, but they eventually became the best of friends. When, sadly, we had to put Maggie down, it was Jordan who sought her friend for days and days . . .
      Again, thank you for sharing this tale of pet friendship.
      Blessings!

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  24. Hi Martha, this was such a wonderful post to read. I could see the scene unfolding in front of me. You hit the nail on the head with this one...food for thought! A great post!

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Nelieta!
      So glad you liked the post. I certainly enjoyed writing it. :)
      Blessings!

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  25. This post was so relevant, Martha, as I just brought in a new little guy(dog) to our family yesterday. There are some growls and pouts but in the big scheme of things animals most often behavior better than most people I know so I am sure they will teach me a thing or two about my own behavior.
    What a remarkably touching post.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting today, Kathy!
      Introducing a new pet into the mix is never predictable. Hope the little guy will soon get along with the others like he's always been there. :)
      Glad you enjoyed the post.
      Blessings!

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  26. Dear Martha,
    As always, you give us something to think about. I love the pictures. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Andy! Glad you enjoyed the photos of the kitties. :)
      Blessings!

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  27. Just as I prefer peace and harmony in my human world, I want the same in the pet world! Not always reality based I know, but fighting cats/dogs make me so nervous! We had a third dog my daughter adopted that never got along with the other two and we eventually found a great home for him. Seems it was always just me around when they would get in a big dog fight too. Course now it's just me and the one dog left with separation anxiety. Sounds like we need a doggie therapist doesn't it? Clever post, Martha.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting, Lynne!
      I don't blame you for being nervous when animals fight. I am the same way, and have tried to intervene on more than one occasion when it looked like Allie and Jordan were on the verge of getting into it.
      Yes, your poor Shady does need some help, doesn't she? I feel so sorry for her and for you!
      Blessings!

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  28. Looks nice.
    It is nice to meet you! I will keep watching it in future,

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    ~priscilla~

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    1. Thanks for coming by today, Priscilla, and welcome aboard!
      Yes, I will certainly check out your blog. Thanks for the invite.
      Blessings!

      Delete

Pray!

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ...