Our precious cat, Miss Ellie, passed last week just 3 months shy of her 20th birthday…yes, I said “20th”!!!  I truly believe that cats do have nine lives—maybe more!  As a very young kitten, my son rolled a back tire of his truck over her resulting in a dislocated hip…Vet bill #1!!!  She survived pneumonia, a bacterial infection in her bloodstream (Vet said she wouldn’t make it), and numerous sore throats that required rounds of Amoxicillin.  One winter after a heavy snow she ran outdoors and didn’t return for two days.  We never found out just where she spent those two “spa days” but she returned home with soft perfumed fur (a bath!!!) and sporting a blue ribbon around her neck.  The next summer she went AWOL for 3 days, and when I casually mentioned to our next door neighbors that our cat was missing, they replied that at night they kept hearing a cat crying.  Turned out that Miss Ellie had wandered into their basement while Mr. Neighbor was mowing the lawn and had been locked in when the mower was returned to the basement.  And then one frosty, dark Winter morning my son went outdoors to start his vehicle and noticed the outline of a cat in the car window of a vehicle that was only being driven occasionally.  I had moved the car the evening before, and apparently, Miss Ellie had decided to ride along and not make me aware of her presence.  So I find it hard to believe that this little creature almost made it to her 20th year.  In recent years she had some health issues and was on the verge of total deafness, but was still a joy to have around.  We miss her terribly; our house feels empty, and there is a big hole in our hearts.  In fact, our hearts ache with grief, and many tears have been shed.  As a writer for this website, I hesitated to pen this article since it might seem sad and negative in such a joyous season.  But this is REAL LIFE….and REAL LIFE can hurt.

Will I see Miss Ellie again?  I surely hope so.  Revelation tells us that Jesus will return on a white horse (Rev. 19:11), and that He will be accompanied by the armies of Heaven, also on white horses (Rev. 19:14)….so we know that there are horses in Heaven.  Evangelist Billy Graham was once asked, “Will there be animals in Heaven?”  And part of his reply was “It may be that God’s purpose for animals is fulfilled on this earth.  However, if animals would make us happier in Heaven, surely there will be a place for them there” (Amen!!!).

This Christmas season, please remember those who are hurting—those who have lost loved ones and are going through their first Christmas without that person, those who have lost beloved pets, those who may have lost a job or their health is in jeopardy.  Minister to them in any way you can, thereby offering them HOPE.   And just as I hope to see Miss Ellie again, I am reminded that HOPE is what Christmas is all about….HOPE that was born in a stable.  SHINING HOPE for a dark world.

Merry Christmas.

(c) 2018 Leslie Kelley

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