‘The Peace that Surpasses All Understanding’, Part 3

Getting tired of this title?  WOOF!

Well, perhaps I can finally use this quote  closer  to its meaning.

We went to the Unitarian Universalists Congregation this morning. We have been one other time, about a month ago, and were really moved by the service. It was on the 150th anniversary of the Civil War: not blue, not gray, but a musical tribute to all who suffered and died.  Perhaps only the UUs could  walk this path between the North and the South.  And it wasn’t about Slavery, either.  It was about humanity embroiled in a conflict that is still shaking our nation today.

But this morning was of a very different theme.  I didn’t check, because I wasn’t sure we were going to make it.  Both husband and I were snarly the day before, and putting aside our insults and hurt feelings  was almost asking too much:  it seemed  a lot of effort to go and sit amongst strangers.

We are glad we made the effort.  It was the annual “Blessing of the Animals” service and the place was full of dogs, cats, a Japanese fighting fish in a tupperware bowl, and a rooster.

Music holds a lot of weight with the UUs, and this service was no exception.  “Puff The Magic Dragon”, “Waltzing With Bears”, “Home On The Range”, “I Wanna be a Dog”, “Spirit of Life” and “All Creatures of the Earth and Sky” pretty much rounded out the musical offering.

Actually, it was a LOT of fun, and really very moving.  I think it took suspending the ego for many of us:  “Waltzing With Bears” was hilarious and “Home On the Range”, projected on a large screen overhead brought both us to tears.  Ok, it brought me to tears, the Great Stone Face doesn’t cry much (any) in public.  The lyrics are tender and moving, something we forget about  this song, yet there on the screen, with a background of incredible Western beauty, well,  it was something that stirred us both.

There were fewer cats there than I would have liked, and those  there crated, poor pussies.  Some dogs howled during certain songs, especially on the refrains, and the Rooster?…well, he crowed in all the right places.  I thought  maybe someone had a very good recording of a rooster and were playing tricks, but I was assured by the lovely woman next to me “the rooster was here for the blessing last year.”

There were no dog fights, just a few overly friendly attempts to make friends, and a couple of half-hearted snarls. Watching the dogs was a treat.  A young German Shepherd was the model of discipline, sitting or asleep quietly at his owner’s feet, the numerous Standard Poodles– an elegant addition to the morning, the beagles, as beagles do, fell asleep, the Goldens looked happy, eager to please, the pugs looked…..bored.  We were amazed how well behaved our canine (can’t say anything about the fish) friends were in such a potentially stressful environment.

We were thinking of what dog we could have brought (the cats  are atheists). Gally, the big Shepherd/Hound mook at 80 lbs is well trained to sit and lie down, but this would have been too much temptation.  Merlin, the mostly- Golden, is fiercely protective and growls and might snap. Laddie the almost- cocker is totally deaf, so he has this piercing bark:  He would start a riot with his alarm.  We realized  the only dog we could have brought was our Sparky, our English Field Spaniel, who died of cancer June 20th this year.  He was a gentleman, such a good example of his rare and intelligent breed, but he was planted out in the front garden under an old boxwood.  His loss to us, especially this morning, brought me to tears.

This is such a different entry…considering the last two other “The Peace…” offerings…but this morning the Blessing of the Animals went exactly where it should have gone: straight to our hearts, opening a pathway to memories and further compassion.  I also got a good tip on a Standard Poodle breeder not far from our home.  My husband is groaning, and puffing on his inhaler but there is no better balm to grief, (and my grief in losing Sparky so suddenly went deep) than another animal to wrap your arms around. 

Of course some would call me a hoarder: 12 (kittens, thrown over the fence at various times) and then cats who have been with us  for  15 years, they are not just cats…they are treasured members of our family.  My dear husband’s nose hasn’t stopped dripping for 26 years but his shots are helping nicely here.

Today was a wonderful example of compassion, charity and love. Seeing the care  people expressed with their animals, and seeing the pianist with his pug in his lap while he played, well, it was a lovely morning.

Even unto the least, which I guess would have been the goldfish in tupperware, the message was loud and clear.  Extending our love to other species is natural and good: we aren’t the only ones who live on this Earth.

We are enjoined in love. Or should be.


Lady Nyo

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13 Responses to “‘The Peace that Surpasses All Understanding’, Part 3”

  1. CZBZ Says:

    I didn’t go to church today (not that I’m a regular there by any stretch of the imagination) but I feel uplifted tonight just reading your entry!

    We are cat lovers at our house and not because our cats are atheists. I’m pretty sure little Oreo is fanatically religious. You see, he’s completely black and white without any shades of gray. ha!



  2. ladynyo Says:

    Oh! You almost made me wet my pants with your comment on your Oreo. ROTF!!

    I have about 5 black and whites…we call them tuxedos! Most of them are from a litter of 7 left at our gate when they were around 5 weeks…picked up by some good person from the gutter. Tiny babies…we have 3 left….two disappeared suddenly one day, and two died of leukemia. Spanky and Sarah over 10 and 2 years ago.

    I have 12 but feed 8 or 9 others up the street and down the hill. I have for a year now and I try to snag a baby here and there. I got one (these are very feral cats, except for the original mother….who is preggers again….I need to get her fixed…the ‘owners’ don’t even feed these beautiful gals) we call Sushi….a long haired Siamese, with beautiful blue eyes…When I am typing and ignoring Sushi (one year old now) he comes up, warns me with a few meows, and BITES me on the calf. LOL! He’s done it twice this week… New trick, Momma!

    Love ’em, CZ, as I know you do. Animals have short, brutal lives generally here in the south, and we go the distance for anyone we can grab. Actually, the unconditional love of my dogs and most of my cats has been a prime influence in my recovery from narcissistic behavior of a number of elements.

    Funny, though, every damn narcissist I have known hates cats…and is allergic to them. Hah! Good discernment of Cats!!

    Jane…and this UUs thing is very, very new for us. I usually sit on the doubter’s bench with the cats.


  3. Steve E Says:

    Farm-raised, I thought of animals only as providers; milk, meat,
    load-carrying, etc. Only after many years do I now perceive all mammals as a part of the race, if not human.

    After all, are we not all one huge family–the Universe? The seas, land, trees, sands, every crawly creature, and swimming monster, and especially those who fly with abandon. That is, birds, and humans. Then there is the firmament–grin!

    Well-written, tight piece, Lady. I love my Atheist cat. But our dog wants to receive Holy Communion!


  4. Margie Says:

    Such a charming entry! I’ve been to a service where the animals were blessed, in fact, someone brought their burro (left outside the chapel however!).

    It’s good to explore our options, I believe. One never knows where comfort lies.

    Love ya!


  5. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Margie!!

    I was hoping you would stumble over this.Actually, wrote it last night with you in mind.

    It was a lovely morning, and not tooo long a service. LOL!

    Yes, the UUs seem to be a very open and embracing congregation. Comfort abounding there.

    Talk soon?

    Love you back.



  6. ladynyo Says:

    ROTF! Steve….that ending about Dog nabs the Communion Plate~!

    Yeah, I think all cats are atheists…or Egyptian gods at least. Something like this. Except when they want to something else to eat besides mice-tartar. LOL!

    LOL! Yep, we share this planet, and that web is more and more obvious to us…those who think about it. So many are so indoctrinated by the “We Shall Inherit The Earth and Dominate All Around Us” that they don’t think …until the racoons and opposums appear, with the deer and the bear and the coyotes in our back yards since we have destroyed their habitat.

    Steve, yesterday’s service brought so many memories so close to the heart and bone. We lost our wonderful Sparky, and I realized I really haven’t let myself mourn this dog that was so damn special.

    Today I saw a Cooper’s Hawk ….I believe the same one who mantled over to us 5 years ago this Spring, starving, obviously a new fledgling. We spent part of the dusk throwing chicken wings from the crockpot to him/her…and she would fly off and be back in about 10 minutes. She flew up to the peak of the porch roof and looked down at us. Son got up there with sausage balls and rolled them up to her, while she skipped down the shingles to catch them. She flew off that night, but I believe she has stayed around all these years because they are very territorial. Besides, she knows where there are free eats!

    Thank you, dear friend, for reading and for your lovely, insightful comment. We don’t exist apart from anything, regardless what we were taught.




  7. katiewritesagain Says:

    It helps, a lot, to know there are those who care. The animals I’ve had in my life have loved me better than any man ever has. No offense, men, but sometimes knowing there is a living creature who accepts and loves uncondtionally makes a hard day worthwhile. I also realize that they aren’t there just to make me feel better, that I must do what I can to make their hard days worthwhile.
    Good for you, Jane, that you practice what you preach. You aren’t a hoarder if you’re also actively looking for homes. I wish I had the resources to do more. You are a shining example of real love.


  8. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Katie!
    Yep, you hit it….unconditional love. Something rare except in small children and animals. Cats, mostly, but they have off days…LOL!

    Nope, they have found a home here: all 12 of them. They have their own room with perches, beds and kitty litter..and their own door. I couldn’t give them away because they have grown up here….two are just a year old, and I snatched them from the street. The others range from 2-15 years old. They will be planted under rosebushes (I dig deep and wide holes when I put in a bush) and be here for eternity. I wish we had such planning for our own dead bodies…

    I do feed and water every other day, 9 others in the neighborhood, at a house where the people want rat killers, but don’t do anything to feed or water them. I’ll sacrifice all day for animals, but I won’t for stupid and meanhearted humans. You should see the beautiful babies the mothers produce! I would spay and neuter if I could catch or afford to do so. But I grab a baby a year from there, and feral cats s-l-o-w-l-y can be socialized. I grabbed Sushi last year and he is something else: longhaired siamese marked who bites me on the calf when I don’t give him immediate attention~! Neat trick. Gets my attention every time.

    We do as we can, Katie. What makes me shy away from people is their outright selfishness, meanspiritedness. You can share your food with a kitten, it doesn’t take much…and you would be saving a life.

    Someone recently said that those of us who haven’t known parental love usually become very tender to animals and other beings. I’m suspicious of people … but you give me a kitty and I am jelly. LOL!

    They roam the house, some of them…in the day, because it’s just too hot, even with lots of shade outside…and a few, the older ones I bundle into the airconditioning of the bedroom or kitchen. We are a pretty peaceful kingdom here, but the dogs know that the cats rule.

    Thank you, Katie….your heart and head are in the right place and it shows.

    Love and Hugs!


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