We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Allie was our beloved cat whom my husband, Danny, adopted when his sons, Giovanni and Nicco, were small boys. They grew up with her as a constant companion, and both had a strong bond of love with this special kitty.
Sadly, we have to put the aging Allie down last year. Both boys are understandably grieved by this loss. Giovanni insists that Danny bring her body home from the vet. The thought of not giving her a decent burial is intolerable for him.
Giovanni calls Nicco, who lives with their mother, and they make plans to get together that evening to build a proper casket for Allie. They even bring its lid to us so we can write a special farewell and God bless to her before fastening it down for good.
It is pitch dark outside when the boys finish the casket. Taking the brightest flashlights they can find, they head to the yard to start digging her grave. The spot they choose is near the place where they had a sandbox when they were little. The sand is mostly gone, but the ground is soft and easy to work.
As Danny and I join them outside to say good-bye, I realize that the hole Giovanni and Nicco have dug is close to, if not spot on, the area where I planted a few tulips years ago. It doesn't matter. They never did well here. Sprouted, but never bloomed.
The casket is placed into the grave. The dirt is shoveled on top of it and lovingly patted down.
"I've got to mark it," says Giovanni. "I know what I'm going to make tonight."
Imagine our surprise and delight when Danny and I look out the window the next morning to find a simple wooden cross commemorating Allie's resting place. Whether appropriate in the strictest sense of Christian faith, this is what Giovanni's heart told him to do.
A beautiful heart which so adored this beautiful cat . . .
Several weeks ago, my granddaughter, Virginia Rose, and I are playing "soccer" out in our back yard. She is kicking her "Toy Story" ball in every direction imaginable, squealing and laughing when it rolls off the moss and into the leaf mounds which border it. Of course, I have to retrieve the ball from any number of precarious landings it chooses to take.
Virginia suddenly kicks the ball in the direction of Allie's cross. Down, down it rolls and tumbles until it bumps up against it.
"Great kick, Virginia!" I call as I run to get the ball once again. That's when I see them . . .
Tulips! Tulips growing on top of Allie's grave! When the boys dug it, the shovels must have freed the bulbs temporarily, but returned them to the ground when the dirt was put back in place.
New life springing where there was thought to be none.
And, maybe. Just maybe. The tulips will bloom this year . . .
How has God, through Christ Jesus, made your life new?
Prayer: Thank You, Father, for the new life springing up everywhere this time of year, reminding us that we, too, are new creatures in Jesus, our Lord. As we prepare to celebrate Easter, let us ponder the miracle of the resurrection and be comforted knowing that we will one day be raised to eternal life in heaven with You. Amen.