Sunday, 16 September 2012

The Material Soul by James Valvis

My daughter wants to know about the cat.
Will it go to heaven when it dies?

My wife is content to tell her that it will, but I know it won’t.
That cat, according to the faith we practice, has a material soul.

Our heaven is a heaven for humans: not cats, cows, or cabbages.
How could we even begin to move, to live in any way,
if every bacteria we killed was equally made in God’s image?

But I don’t pretend to understand it all myself.
Heaven has always seemed to me less likely than hell.

It’s certainly harder to imagine what it is like to be there
and what might deliver you there in the first place.

In many ways, the cat is more deserving of heaven than I am.

The cat has never yelled at my wife over nothing,
never flew off the handle at my daughter for her trichotillomania.

It’s not easy to conceive of a place that invites none of the things we love.
It’s even harder to imagine a heaven where a beloved daughter misses her cat.

James Valvis, Washington, USA


Anonymous said...

I have a feeling that heaven will be whatever makes us the most happy...if that happens to be a be it.

Anonymous said...

I have been feeding three feral cats at 5 a.m. for a couple of years and other feral cats prior to them that I hope have gone on to some reward.

I got roped into these feedings by rising too early with my wife still asleep. She is the one who draws cats to our place. They spot her in the yard tending roses and they stay for a lifetime. Not one has had a bad appetite.

But I wouldn't be without them now for anything. They bicker at times and tolerate each other at other times. It's hard to believe that dust is all that awaits them.

Donal Mahoney

Christie said...

I probably share your faith, and know I share your daughter's experience. We had to put down our dog of thirteen years a few weeks ago.

The official teaching of my Church is that animals don't have immortal souls, so they can't go to heaven. But the unofficial teaching is, "Why not?"

But you've touched on a bigger issue here: how can we understand heaven? And how can we want what we don't understand?

Thank you for sharing.