Barn Cats

I grew up on a farm in the country where we had a large population of barn cats: cats that lived outside, caught mice, and generally managed themselves.

If barn cats are good at one thing, it is multiplying. There were always kittens around, who then grew up into adult cats, who then had their own kittens.

You’d think we would have eventually been overrun with cats, but we never were. And the reason awes me even to this day.

The cats would go through seasons of increase. Kittens were born, cats were living to old age, and the population was climbing. But then, when the population reached a certain number, there would come a season of decrease. Cats would die from sickness, get hit on the road, die from freak accidents, or just disappear altogether.

I don’t know why births and deaths didn’t just happen alongside each other: for every kitten born, an older cat dies. But they didn’t. They happened in seasons.

Nature is governed by seasons. In the summer, grass grows and fruit ripens. In the winter, everything dies, clearing the path for new growth.

Life seems to work this way as well.

I don’t know why it’s this way, and sometimes I wish it wasn’t. Especially when I’m in the season of death and clearing.

But I know that once the clearing is finished, there will be new growth in its place. And eventually, that new growth will become old and another season of clearing will commence, to make way for new new growth.

And in that way, nature manages itself. In that way, there is balance.

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not like this

My best friends’ dad died today. He left a wife and four children, two of them in middle school.

As I was trying to get ready for the day, weeping, I heard God speak. “This is why you are going back (to America),” he said, “to be there for them. Improve your empathy, because they will need it.”

I like finding out what my next step is, but not like this. Not like this.

The Killing Kind

I used to have no problem killing bugs I found in the house. But I’m finding it harder and harder to do so. Which is ironic because the idea of death doesn’t actually bother me all that much (I see it as a necessary part to the cycle of life). Nowadays, when I kill bugs–out of fear or because I was too lazy to find a more humane solution–I feel a deep sense of shame.

Killing for defense, I understand. Killing for food, I understand as well. But killing a creature because it is trespassing, even when it poses no great harm to you? Yes, it’s within my rights to do so, but I can’t get the idea out of my mind that I should be the “bigger person,” so to speak. I am the sturdier one. I will live longer and fewer things will threaten me. I am built more resilient.

Shouldn’t I use some of that resilience to make the short life of smaller creatures just a little better and a little longer? What does it cost me really?

I’d probably be singing a different tune if I was in the midst of an infestation. But for now at least, while choosing mercy doesn’t put me in danger, I’m going to put my bug friends outside.