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The Beast

Posted Friday, November 30, 2012, at 8:58 PM

His boy picked him up and unceremoniously deposited him upstairs. He didn't want to leave his room. He was perfectly happy there. All his needs were met--food, water, bed, litter pan, window--what more could he want? Oh, right--his boy to pay homage. After all, homage was his due as a cat. So why did the boy think he could just pick him up, move him to the upstairs where he had to share everything?

He did love being upstairs at times. There were lots of windows to watch the neighborhood birds, squirrels, and other creatures. He could sit in front of the deck doors and watch his outdoor siblings graze or run through the pasture. Occasionally a deer, turkey, fox, or other creature would wander through. He especially loved it when the deer played tag with the horses. Silly horses never won because the deer would tag them and then run off into the woods or leap into the next pasture. Then there were those of lower intelligence like the neighbor's cat that tried to attack him through the window and always went away with a headache (running into a glass wall tends to hurt one's head after all).

He even liked spending time with his dog siblings. They had been with him all his life. They would even take the blame for him should something fall and break--but that's another story. He could tolerate the little one--the kitten who came to live with them when mom's cat died. However, he would NOT put up with the old man dad brought home. Who wants an older sibling suddenly thrust upon one? Pecking order demands appropriate honor paid--don't give me this "I'm older than you" nonsense! I've been here my entire life and these are MY people! So there!

Boy left. Great! That means he has to spend the night upstairs and tolerate the gray beast. Mom came over to pet him. He loved her touch. What is that noise? The gray beast was growling, hissing, and snarling. Maybe mom wouldn't notice and it would stop.

The hisses seemed to get louder. The growling was so close that he thought the gray beast must be on top of him. He looked around trying to see where the beast was hiding. He couldn't find him.

He leapt to his paws, turning quickly trying to find the beast making those horrible sounds. They were so loud they almost sounded as if they were inside him. Leaping through the air he lashed out at the beast and bit hard to make it stop.

"OWWWWWW!" mom yelled as she slapped his nose.

What was that for? He was just trying to protect her from the growling, snarling beast. Why did she slap his nose? He curled into a tight ball on the chair back as she walked off.

"Mom? Mom, I could use some pets and loves. I think I chased off the beast." Mom ignored him, mumbling under her breath.

Dad came into the room a little while later. He spoke to let him know that he was ready for dad to pay homage and pet him. Dad came over and gave him a good jowl rub and stroked his fur.

He could hear the rumblings of that beast again. Growling and hissing came from all around him. He would not allow that gray beast to attack dad also. He spun around, but the beast wasn't there. He turned back to dad. As he crouched trying to find the hiding spot of the beast he slowly moved backward. If he was stealthy enough he could back up and catch the beast off guard.

As he moved backward, he realized there was no more chair. As he scrambled for a hold his hind end went over the edge. Gravity prevailed. With a LOUD thunk, he hit the floor. All sound ceased. At last he had silenced the beast--he must have landed on it.

As he stood and shook out his fur, he realized there was no one around him. He was alone on the floor. The growling had stopped. Dad and mom chuckled and asked if he was alright.

"Serves him right for getting uppity--growling and hissing at us. He even tried to bite me earlier. He'll live through the embarrassment of falling off the chair."

He heard the growl start again. He looked around for the beast. The only one there was . . . him. The horrible noises were coming from his body. He must be the beast. Shame blanketed him. He withdrew to lick his wounds.

Later, much later, everyone had gone to bed for the night. He moved to mom's chair. He sat, drawing comfort from her place. He heard someone moving around. She came down the hall; saw him in her chair; came to him; picked him up; petted his velvet fur and loved him.

God you love us and provide for us. You direct our paths and fill us with good in our lives. Yet we growl, hiss, and complain. It seems we are never satisfied. You, oh God, are our hope, our strength, and our salvation. Too often instead of thanking you, we ignore, blame, or scream at you. Help us, o God, to rid ourselves of the beast that surrounds us--our discontent--and accept your love, mercy, and grace. So be it. Amen.

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From My Heart to Yours
Rayla Stewart Hogue
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Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). She seeks to recognize and embrace the unending hues of God's ethne and religion, and commits herself to living and expressing this inclusive diversity through Sacrament and the spoken, written, and sung Word of God.
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