Christian Short Stories

Richard resides in Hawkesbury, Ontario, Canada. He obtained a BA. Honors in English and a B. Ed. He taught high school for thirty years. He has published poems, short stories and a novel, "Hooked on Fish Tales".

For Only A Season
By Richard David Briggs
Dedication: Animals Need Love Too!
Lord, So Grateful for Your Grace!

Why? … Why do certain human beings willfully choose to hate and enjoy hurting those who want to do good – including God’s animals? … Yes, these evil characters succeed all too often in destroying the lives of the innocent and vulnerable, yet ironically their own as well! … I ask you, why does ‘Our Father’ permit such an atrocity?        

Well then, let me begin by saying that ‘Providence’ once destined me to live in a big city where I always found most folk to be decent and who took a genuine interest in their jobs; contributed to worthy charities; and participated in sports. Many willingly supported baseball, basketball, and ice hockey. I say ‘Bravo’ to them!

I can attest to the fact that these conscientious persons educated me much by being so knowledgeable about politics, worldly news, and economic impacts, thus they contributed greatly to my social enrichment. So did the homeless in their unique way!

Admiration of various cultures, languages, and accents, moved my heart to accept them as valuable citizens for whom I shall be forever grateful!

Contrarily though, while thieves and gang violence racked havoc in the city streets doing their best to disrupt these courageous people’s happiness, safety, and peace of mind, the sinister corruption of organized crime acted latently like acid eroding their trust in the law and government! … Such useless, torment!

I was fortunate that in the ‘Season of My Youth’, I grew up on a small potato farm and went to a typical country school. However, my father being a hard man who hated farming, persuaded my gentle mother to move back to the downtown core where I attended high school. After graduating from university, I became a teacher determined to motivate my students by questioning life, setting goals that would help people, finding creative alternatives, and teaching them to embrace positive social change!

God expects us to do our very best for His sake, yet few of us find this ‘Narrow Way’ of exemplary morality and are tempted to follow the ‘Broad Road’. Yet He always raises us up every time we fall because He loves us!

As well-intentioned as we may be, ‘Hard Experience’ shows us how our problems are similar to challenging high mountains and sudden deep valleys of depression, triggering shame, and shaking our self-confidence! … Or, maybe these are God’s opportunities?

How my soul struggled between living an exciting urban life or having to submit to the ‘still water’ of the sedentary countryside where Claudette always lived!

In any event, she made her heart’s desire brutally clear that she could never adapt to the big city’s clogged-up traffic jams, gassy-fumy smog, or dwell in polluted high-rise apartment buildings, acting like microwave ovens in summer and feeling imprisoned in winter, nor could she endure the common noisy obnoxious tenants! 

Her overwhelming ‘Love’ won me over! … We married in church; purchased this big lot, that could contain three dwellings as did our neighbors; and where we eagerly built our dream house made of white brick and black shudders, adventured into ‘Life’! 

Over yonder on the left lies this gorgeous dense emerald green forest that aprons misty-blue mountain tops reaching up high toward heaven.

But more importantly, the glacial cold winter, the heavy rainy spring, the shiny sunny summer, and the resplendent multicolored leaves of autumn, this “Mountain Momma” will bear testimony to you about our tumultuous story.

Unquestionably, we both know that ‘Time’ has no master; … dictates our very human nature! … I confess to you, in what seemed mere months, our ‘Love’ gave birth to five happy healthy children! – ‘We lived in a ‘Home’! - Not in a ‘House’!’

One day our family agreed to buy a beautiful yellow-green budgie. We did so because my dear mother-in-law had one. She often got her bird to show our kids many impressionable tricks this cute creature learned to do! … I too was amazed!

Claudette and I finally gave in to the children’s persistent begging and so I brought my daughter and our three oldest boys to visit the only pet shop on Main Street. In entering, the chubby-bearded clerk approached me and I secretly whispered:

‘Brian, how long does a budgie live?” 

Replying sympathetically, “Sadly Richard, not all that long!”

Being intrigued, I hurry to busy the children by getting them interested in all the other animals. I needed to know more about what he meant for their well-being!

Frustrated, I snap back, “Come on, you must be mistaken! … You know Anita, Claudette’s mother, you sold one to her seven years ago, …  and it is still alive!” 

“True Richard, I did! … I presume this small bird will live just as long as you want him to. You see, in South America from where we import them, their age span in the jungle ranges from ten to twelve years, … of course, … if they are not eaten up first.

Here? … In our modern world of fast-developing technology, especially these addictive phones that distract people every minute of the day, compounded with their sheer ignorance, and rising permissiveness, this same budgie could live four years or much less!

I hate to say it Richard, but darn family mistreatment kills countless numbers of these poor innocent little guys … within weeks sometimes, … let alone years!

Misfeeding them with table scraps … of this or that, … forgetting to feed them, … overfeeding them, … or all too often by freak accidents whose silly owners negligently allow their birds to fly around free in the house! ... Accidents just waiting to happen!

And lastly, these fine animals die due to diseases such as bird flu, as chickens and ducks do, and it can spread to human beings too! … At other times, these fine creatures can succumb even to some human viruses!

Darn it all Richard, I worried you! … Sorry about that old friend! … Forget what I said! … I know that your family will take extra good care of this bird! … A male, right?

Listen if you have any problem, bring him back and I will refund your money. Here, let’s shake hands on the deal, … nothing more will be said!”

Naturally, I thank Brian for his kindness. Nonetheless, he did get me thinking about into what category our family might fall if any misfortune should happen to our budgie. Would Brian, or our neighbors, report us to the authorities for animal cruelty?

Mario, Ricky, and Peter quickly noticing my concerned hesitation, whined all the more for me to purchase this fine feathered friend!

Out of the corner of my eye, I caught Brian urging the children on because he wanted to make his sale! … Guess who won!?

“Well rest assured Richard, your kids will have a fine time with him. Okay, that will be $94.64. Good luck and say hello to the wife for me! … Will see you all at church service on Sunday morning as usual.”

So, equipped with our pretty parakeet, his new shiny chrome cage, yummy seeds, medicinal oil, and his tiny eyedropper, we arrived home. As for the kids? … Filled with uncontrollable joy and great plans! … Still, I profoundly questioned my judgment regarding the negative impact this bird would have upon us!

As for our new ‘Amigo’? … He, happy and innocent, rocked back and forth on his pencil brown perch while our sons’ fingers poked at him through the narrow thin steel wire trying to stroke his back and impishly pitching in seeds to feed him.

Cocking his tiny head back and forth he, ‘Mr. King of Attention’, granted us his royal acceptance! … Now, … I knew … ‘Trouble’ had already come to visit!

Within an hour, the bird finally began to tire. So relieved was I to put the cover over his enclosure and leave him in the den! … Safe and sound at last!

To calm the boys, I brought them to the TV room downstairs while I escaped directly to the tool room to check out the drill bits that needed to be replaced.

Being fourteen, Micheline felt more inclined to help her mom prepare lunch in the kitchen and chat about women’s interests.

Without making a sound, Mario sneaked back upstairs to the living room where his mom caught him feeding the budgie once again!  

“Mario! What mischief are you up to now?”

“Mom, I ‘m just giving ‘Birdie’ some ginger cookie crumbs!”

“No, you must stop that right away! He eats his seeds and only seeds! … I know you are only eight years old but we established strict rules about that! … Clear?”

“Okay … okay! … Well then, … can we name him ‘Cookie’?”

“That’s fine with me, now scram back downstairs and tell your brothers too!”

A whole week went by before our first nightmare became a reality! All the boys were in the living room giggling and trying to stifle their laughter. When Claudette and I entered, we saw Cookie out of his cage, … once more!

There he was hopping along on the floor, with his head bobbing up and down, trying to keep pace behind the boys as they marched slowly in a single file! Naturally, Claudette’s anger knew no bounds:

“Stop! … You are all acting irresponsibly! … What is wrong with all of you?  … Have you no common sense? … Wise up or that bird is going back to the pet shop!”

Being their father, I felt guilty too for not having corrected them earlier! As I hurriedly put Cookie back into his cage, he chided me something awfully and sounded off with weird clucking as though he was swearing at me while he pecked and pinched the fingers on my left hand! … God forbid, did we presently fall into that criminal category of: ‘Mistreating Pets’? … I think so!

From that moment on, I kept a lock on his door cage! … Uh? … So now, … I became condemned as: ‘Big Bad Dad’ and an extension of Claudette’s authority!

Even Cookie turned against me and would flap his wings vigorously in revolt when I neared his cage. Oh, to top it all off, … Claudette pressed me hard to find a solution promptly! … Or??? … ‘Trouble’ doubled! ... A ‘Demon’ came for a long stay!

One month later on a Saturday morning for the sake of harmony, while Claudette was out making the groceries, I decided to remove the lock. To show my sincerity, I permitted the kids to let Cookie outside his cage on the strict condition they were to be particularly careful not to hurt him, and not to tell anyone outside the house! … And, especially for my sake, … not tell Mom!

Ah, but what a fool I was to think they would obey me! Not long after, Mario found the key, and from that day forward, Cookie would remain free! I should have scolded the little tyke and taken the key back but I knew that would not solve the problem.

That following Sunday afternoon, Claudette and I just came into the house from the backyard when we witnessed our Cookie contentedly perched on Ricky’s right-hand forefinger swaying him back and forth and teaching him how to fly!

“One! … Two! … Three! … Cookie, get ready! … Now … fly-y-y-y-y!”

His brothers sat on the sofa pretending to be watching television, yet their impish giggling waiting for Cookie to take off, clearly revealed them as supporting culprits!

Holy Smokes! He launched our budgie like a paper airplane! … And the little bird did glide clumsily; then flutter awkwardly several times, and flew! … Loved It, he did!

I tell you truthfully, we tried everything we knew to be good parents! So, I ask you with all due respect, what would be an acceptable method to discipline the boys?

Anyhow accustomed to being loose, Cookie would often light upon our shoulder. Sometimes we wouldn’t be aware of him until he would peck at our earlobe or cock his wiry neck around and stare daringly into the corner of our eye where he would bob his head up and down making happy sharp whistles. I admit we all grew to love him dearly!                                                                                 

This ‘Double Trouble’ gave way to ‘A Long Tribulation-Season’ that catapulted our domestic problems into a full-blown crisis! As ‘Panic’ set in, I remembered Brian’s prophecy at the pet store, and now it had come true! My parental duty commanded me to bring Cookie back, but I lacked the courage and fortitude to confront the kids for fear of losing their favor, and I was too proud to admit my failure to my wife, above all the embarrassment of facing Brian’s abrasive disappointment in me!

To our family’s detriment during the summer holidays, the boys brought some schoolmates over for the sole purpose of showing off Cookie’s latest tricks in the backyard. In the bliss of their proud revelry, they began pitching the tiny fellow into the air. With each renewed effort, our fine innocent friend was thrown higher than before as if scoring points in a competition - but the bird liked this and came back for more!

More reckless acts followed! … Now, the competition was to determine how fast one of them could run before Cookie would let go of his grasp on their elbow and fly off in a last-ditch effort to save his life!

And, if this was not challenging enough, our little gremlins would flaunt off his newly acquired ‘dog skills’! … Yes, I said dog skills!

Steve yelled, and Cookie would do as ordered.                                                   

“Frank!... Paul! … Bob …  Watch this! … Cookie, roll over … roll over! … Play dead! … On your back! … Come on! … Play dead!” … And, he did perform perfectly!

For Heaven’s sake to worsen matters, Peter pushed his friends aside, and began imitating the budgie’s squawking, then wanting to impress everyone more, pointed to his left shoulder coaxing Cookie to come for a ‘test flight’:

“Up … up! … Atta boy!” … And doing the jet plane, he ran all over the lawn flapping his arms up and down with the bird whistling in full delight!

Cookie, thinking there was no harm as he did in the house, impulsively sensed ‘Nature’s Call to Freedom’ and flew over the rooftop toward the street, where he lighted upon a streetlamp wire. In sheer panic, Peter chased after him and somehow managed to coax him back down using hand signals, enticing chirps, and whistles.

Claudette, running out of the house, could not believe she was witnessing all these appalling shenanigans, put an instant stop to their negligence because I most certainly cowered! She even scared on-looking neighbors, whose faces visibly disapproved of our children’s misbehavior! Obviously, the chatterboxes would be clacking their heads off now, and who knows where all this disturbance would end!

To avoid any possible lawsuits, we stringently forbade our boys not to repeat such daring performances. Our anxiety and disgrace rose greatly when we realized that we could be exposed on Facebook! … Then what? ... A court-warrant?

After a brief three-day calm, Claudette was so focused on dicing celery and carrots to put in her simmering hot chicken soup that she failed to notice Cookie land upon her right shoulder and begin hopping his way down her right arm toward her wrist.

Motioning to the children not to make a sound, I stupidly crept up behind her wanting to save the poor bird’s life! … Was I wrong!

Chuckling uncontrollably, our devilish boys clapped their mouths shut causing them to snort through their noses and immediately catching Claudette’s attention.

She, spotting me coming up unexpectedly behind her, became startled, and screamed sharply with her arms shooting upright! … Cookie fell!

Barely escaping the steaming boiling bubbles, he darted directly straight up somehow miraculously dodging the ceiling fan set at high speed!

The dripping soup ladle flew over my head, hit the fridge door hard, ricocheted, and came to rest on the living room carpet close to Cookie crouching in fear!

Richard! … Richard! … Look what you made me do! … What in the world is going on? … Why is our budgie on the floor?... Please tell me that he is still alive!”

My gruesome guilt mixed with sniveling humiliation squeaked out,

“He looks fine Sweetie! … Nothing is broken! … Just shaking! … I’ll put him back in his cage! … Nothing to worry about! … Everything is under control!”                 Regrettably, his complete loss of liberty turned into anger and boredom, which progressively brought about his lack of will to live so he stopped eating and drinking.

If this was not concern enough, our children’s deafening silence accused me of our pet’s impending demise! … But I was their father and my job was their well-being!

Saint Jude, the saint of ‘lost causes’ must have prompted Claudette’s creativity in coming up with a ‘rescue plan’.

“Richard, to make Cookie happy again, drop by the pet shop tomorrow; buy him, the honey seeds he loves, a shiny bell he can ring, and also a bigger mirror!”

“Yes Dear, but I must go to the next town twenty minutes from here.”

“Why? … What is going on? … Did Brian sell his store?  … Go bankrupt?”

“No Sweetheart, he acted rather strangely at last Sunday’s church service. Did you not notice that he and Lorraine, kept their distance and never even said hello as they usually do? … I don’t want to judge but they definitely snubbed us.

I should have told you that last Tuesday when I went into his store for advice about our bird’s illness, he greeted me with a scowl and escaped back into the Supply Room leaving his young clerk, Ted, to serve me. We have known Brian for ten years!

Hey, I felt uneasy! … Even some of his regular customers we also know gave me cold looks! … Let’s face it! … I can’t go back there! … Can you?”

“No! … Richard, funny you should say this! I too have had some odd experiences with Gloria and Sue, two colleagues at the Community Senior Residence where I work. I didn’t want to upset you either.

Last Friday while in the kitchen preparing meals for the seniors, I overheard them whispering and snickering about pictures they had seen on Facebook! … I’m not sure but I think they were gossiping about our kids playing with Cookie in the yard!”

Let me tell you, I am so thankful for how God uses ‘Time and Seasons’ as a way of changing our circumstances and perspective of life! So then, little Cookie was now four years old. Our youngest, Mario, was in high school and had to retake his French course during the summer to complete his Grade Nine.

It was then July and he was on his way home near noon-hour at Ross’s Creek Bridge, when he noticed a kitten meowing loudly and desperately fighting for its life! Last night’s horrific thunderstorm flooded brooks and streams causing much forest debris to come gushing down hitting rocks with a much stronger current than usual! 

Our ‘Next-to-be Pet, Little Tiggy’ was clinging onto a thin-wedged branch stuck in the shore bank that saved him from drowning! … We learned much later that bobcats and wildcats in our rural area sometimes mated with stray and domestic cats. Worse, we were soon to find out that he was just that - a North American Wildcat-Tabby mix!

Mario arrived home with his proud find loosely wrapped up in his blue cotton summer sweater. Micheline, thinking that the surviving feline was friendly, put the tiny savage monster on the kitchen floor. The cat, trembling from fear of us, soon became distracted by Cookie’s welcoming tweets, which in turn gave the kitten’s starving stomach the uncontrollable impulse to grab hold of the bird as survival food! “Meat’!

With a strongly targeted leap, his razor-sharp nails dug into the chip rock wall rapidly climbing closer to our naive budgie in his cage with its door ajar!

Luckily for Cookie, the wild kitten’s nose caught a whiff of some uncooked beefburger patties on the kitchen counter Claudette was preparing for lunch. The scent of the blood drove him to jump back down at lightning speed, hopping onto the bottom counter drawer handles, only to fall back several times onto the floor groaning with pitiful gut growls, which was more than we could bear!

Compassion drove me to grab a half beef patty and push it on the floor cautiously toward his snarling nose, but his needle-pointed claws pierced my right hand. Hearing my painful shout, the furball monster dug his nails mercilessly deeper into my skin showing me that he was in control! … This was his food!

Only when I stood up did the fiend let go of his grip, scowling, hissing, jumping onto the juicy burger, devouring it, and retreating to the nearest corner to find safety!

“Richard! … No-o-o-o way, this Tasmanian devil is going to stay in our house!”

Moved by compassion, I begged her to change her mind despite his savageness!

“Dear, we can’t put this tiny Tabby outside for at least three months, or he’ll surely die! How can he find food to feed himself? … A fox, … a coyote, or a hawk will have him for a good snack or bring his body to their young to tear apart piece by piece! … Or, I will have to kill him or get someone to do it! … Is that what you want?

Darlin’, what if it if I fix up the old groundhog cage for him, keep him on the back porch … just until we tame him a bit … as we did with Cookie? … Then later, we’ll release him into the foothills.”

If you just thought how foolish I was, you are correct! … We named him ‘Tiggy’,’ yet after his probation period was over, he too had been adopted into the family!

At summer’s end, his muscular strength and size were likened to that of a nine-month-old domestic cat! He loved his backyard, especially under the shade of the awesome beautiful pink Princess bush that was blooming for the second time.

As ‘Fortune’ would have it, his untamed spirit yearned to be free… to hunt, to explore, to live as a wildcat should! … Putting him back into a cage was sheer cruelty! 

In our region, autumn’s lessening daylight transformed all deciduous tree leaves into a panorama of magnificent red, orange, yellow, and brown. You guessed it, ‘Nature’ triggered Tiggy’s unrestrained spirit to revolt against any human rule that violated his right to return to forestland and reproduce! … We had difficulty accepting this basic fact!

Master of his fate now, he imposed his will upon us! He chose where to nap, what prey to kill and eat, left their remains lying about as trophies, permitted us to pet him only when he permitted it, wandered off where he wanted and when to return.

Also, much to Claudette’s dislike, he would spite her by sunning himself inside the back porch in front of the big glass windows where he would leave his long loose hair on the big brown lazy boy. Ah! He had no fear of her broom trying to chase him off!

Despite these skirmishes, I had to protect him from the soon-approaching winter blizzards, so I made a flap door that would allow him to come and go as he pleased. My ‘Nagging Mercy’ compelled me also to install a small electric heater.

On one warm September afternoon, while we were sunbathing on the patio deck, Tiggy arrived with an unhurt live mouse in his jaws. Due to the constant conflicts between Claudette and him, he thought that it was a good idea to leap onto her lap as she lay there in her comfy lawn chair and present her with his precious peace offering!

Shrieking, screaming, and hurling our unsuspecting cat nearly into the half-drained pool, Claudette ran in a blind panic and hid behind the nearest apple tree.

“Richard-d-d-d-d! … Do-o-o-o-o somethin’! … Get Tiggy outta here-e-e-e-!”

Tiggy’s failure only made him more determined than ever to please and appease her! On three different occasions, he offered her his best live ‘hunting goodies’ that included a green garter snake, a big ugly brown toad, and a featherless baby robin.

Thoroughly insulted by each of her refusals, he would sulk off to the edge of the faded flower garden where he would angrily tear them apart with his long sharp fangs and whose remains, I later buried! … As you have probably surmised, our wild tomcat was growing into adulthood and in need of more territory and a mate!

By Thanksgiving, the thermometer dropped to below freezing prompting Tiggy’s daily hunting for live game to grow more intense! Small hibernating animals and migrating birds became scarcer compelling him to penetrate further into the forest. His innate call to the wild grew deeper beckoning and luring him away from the family!

With saddened hearts, wrenching anxiety, and troubled minds, we imagined that some hungry bear or voracious mountain lion might eat him, so we said our prayers of ‘Adieu’ and placed a plug-in candle of ‘Hope’ in the front bay window for him to see.

How God works in mysterious ways! … By mid-December, our furry friend returned amidst the fluffy sparkling snowflakes falling softly upon the previous storm’s thick drifts. Hopping onto the living room windowsill, grinned through the partially frosted glass revealing his winter-bushy grey cheeks and gleaming green eyes as his huge backside caressed the pane showing us great affection as any domestic cat would do.

After much reflection, Claudette gave in to the kids’ relentless supplication to let him in but for the sole purpose of sheltering him from this night’s impending Arctic-like cold despite her vexing fear he might devour Cookie! … But, Tiggy stayed on with us!

At last, the long-awaited Christmas Morning finally arrived! After church service and breakfast, our family’s joy culminated as we gathered around the beautifully ornamented glistening fir tree to exchange gifts! … The ‘Magical Mystery’ filled the air!!

Cookie, profoundly feeling the children’s unrestrainable joy, perched still on a high-garlanded branch watching out for flying gift paper and sudden spontaneous movements of their arms and legs. Yet at times, he zoomed about their heads keeping a safe distance from Tiggy, whose bulging shifty eyes tracked his every move.

Letting our guard down amid full excitement, Claudette held up a small box wrapped in glossy red paper topped off with a shimmering silver ribbon coaxing Cookie to come down from the star at the top of the tree. 

His little heart bursting with happiness lighted on the floor right in front of us. I wish you could have seen him squeaking, squawking, bobbing up and down like a banty cock, jubilantly sashaying back and forth showing off his bright coat of feathers!

Coaching low now, our jealous Tiggy, sneaking closer and closer with his belly sliding across the freshly waxed floor, with sinewy shoulder muscles taut, made ready to pounce on our unwary Cookie pecking at the wrapping and began tasting his favorite honeyed seeds.

My swift snatch onto Tiggy’s saggy neck fur thwarted his launch while Micheline rushed the bird back into his cage!

Without condemnation, I put Tiggy back down, speaking soothingly, softly stroking his head saying he was ‘a good boy’; I presented him with a can of tuna in orange Christmas paper all tied up with a big blue ribbon.

Proud and princely-fussy, he sniffed it, smelling nothing, his razor steel claws sliced the wrapping open, then glared at me in contempt - probably thinking:

“What’s this Mr. Dummy? … I kill for my food! … I eat the real stuff – meat!”

Disgusted with me, head held high, he trotted off to the kitchen. We did not live up to his expectations. You’re correct, we should have given him his favorite - ‘Catnip’.

Even days afterward, no matter how much enticement or attention we gave Tiggy, he would disappear through the clap-door for days at a time hunting forest game.  Some mornings at first light, we would spot our wildcat in the backyard chasing mice over frozen snow. We took a few phone videos to reassure the children that their pet was doing fine.

This moment was short-lived, for without spotting Tiggy during February, we had given him up for either abandoning us or for dead! Cruel March spring rushed in fiercely dropping an alarming arm-length of snow and forming knee-deep drifts that would prove to be a formidable obstacle for our cat to overcome especially in the mountains!

We felt relieved that the end of the month ushered in many warm days melting the snow quickly. So on the Sunday morning after Easter during breakfast, we agreed to go look for him but prepared for the worst. The puzzling question was where to start.

While doing the dishes Claudette glanced out the kitchen window spotting his tracks on the remaining patches of shallow snow and gleefully blurted out:

“Look, Tiggy is back! Hold on, I’ll cook some extra bacon and we’ll go find him!”

We followed her toward the backyard along the chain-link fence until we neared the big brown tin toolshed where several scraggly hydrangeas had spread open making a natural grove. Her theory had some merit because this was our cat’s favorite place to hide from the summer’s scorching heat. But where was he?  

After several minutes of calling his name without him responding, Claudette threw down some hot bacon slices, the delicious sweet aroma reached his sensitive nose. Muffled tiger-like screams and growls soon gave way to his big powerful body tunneling his way from under the toolshed.

Flashing eyes, flaring nostrils frantically searching out the tempting meat to fill his starving stomach, his large paws spread wide, grabbed the bacon devouring it in seconds, and looked for more.

Snarling and hissing at our presence, as if we were intimidating intruders in his domain, he scurried passed us leaping up into the leafless apple tree nearest the pool!

With gentle whispers, we pointed fingers encouraging him to go to the back porch, where he then instantly sprang down arriving at the house before us. 

I was shocked to see Claudette fussing over him to no wit’s end, even enticing him into the kitchen with the smell of bacon still clinging to her fingers and feeding him more breakfast leftovers with a big bowl of milk!

Her act of kindness warmed my heart to deep joy moving me to love her all the more! Also, I thought this was the best time to take the kids downstairs to the TV room. Not noticing I left the door ajar, Tiggy descended the stairs as nimble as a cougar. Unluckily, Cookie was also on the loose! The poor little thing fearlessly toddled up to the whimsical cat, and greeted him with gentle pecks on the nose!

Tiggy‘s lightning-fast left paw shot out with long sharp nails hooking around Cookie’s vulnerable soft-plumed body! Our gasps and shouts, along with Cookie’s high-pitched squeaking, incited the ravenous cat to tighten his grip as his drooling-dripping jaws closed slowly around the bird’s wobbly head!

Ricky, seizing the confused cat by the scruff of the neck, lifted him into the air and scolded him abrasively: “Let him go! … Let’em go! … Bad Tiggy! … Now!”

Tiggy twisted, twirled, and turned his agile body trying furiously to get loose, seeing his efforts futile, savagely scowled, and dropped the bird to the floor! Releasing the cat had not been a good idea! While he cowered in a corner, Cookie flew about several times landing on the floor right smack in front of him, teasing and taunting, brazenly applying his beak as plyers to pinch his predator’s nostrils!            

Ricky throwing his jacket over Tiggy, ran upstairs freeing him outside where he belonged! Yet this heroic act also proved not to be a permanent solution because many close residents disliked pets roaming about their property!

Regrettably, Mr. Claude Lecompte on our left, hated Tiggy! This rancorous old man was also well known as a foul-mouthed troublemaker at the general store, town hall, school board, community center, and by the police department!

As you know, ‘Evilness’ is a vicious spiritual disease that infects a person’s soul destroying one’s goodness and happiness, and which can easily victimize all innocent people who come in contact with it. That is until this horrendous immorality is either contained or corrected by ‘God’s Law of Love’.

However, ‘Time and Circumstance’ can change Life! … It happened that on one beautiful April morning, while trimming my two apple trees, Officer Christopher McNeil paid me a disquieting visit. Once a former constable on the streets of Dublin, Ireland, he was well accustomed to being brusque and speaking the brutal truth … with the muscular physique to back it up!

“Howdy Richard, if y’er not teachin’ school, y’er always workin’. Hey, that’s all good, it will keep yer mind busy and keep yer body slim!”

“Good morning to you too Christoper! … What can I do for you?”

“Richard, it’s not pleasant news I bring yah! … Yah know how quick-tempered Claude is! … Well, he filed a complaint against yah about yer tomcat prowlin’ around on his property and says yer animal is diggin’ holes in his garden to do its job!

Furthermore, he made it mighty clear that if ever yer cat would attack him, he’d fix him real gud like any other varmint and then sue yah in court!

As yah can see Richard, he’s got a damn good point ‘cus yer Tiggy lyin’ over there is no yer regular stray! … I’d be wary of yer cat too!

So Richard, this is how it’s gonna be. Put yer cat on a leash or get rid of him and the mean lousy old crank won’t press charges! … But if yah don’t, he’s gonna take legal action! … Hell let’s face it! … Once the judge takes one look at yer brute Tiggy, he’ll have him euthanized and Claude will get a couple of thousand fer pain and sufferin’! … Is this what yah want? … Y’er an educated man! … Consequences ta yer family?”

“Chris, our cat is nearly three years old and in his prime! … I can’t tie him up! … You know very well that is unnatural and downright abusive to any cat!”

“Richard, I don’t want ta upset yah! … But wise up Maun! … If yah don’t respect one of me options, then yah might jus’ as well take a rifle and do away with him before he does … Yer choice!

Do the right thing! … Let’s keep the peace! … Or, take yer Tiggy so far up in the mountains he’ll never find his way back here. Nature will do the rest. He’ll adapt to the wilderness! … Agreed? … Okay then, I’ll be on me way! … Think long and hard on this if yah want ta put an end ta all this foolishness!! … It could cost yah a lot in many ways!”

Such terrible news ruined our family harmony, we all wrestled with sleep, our appetites waned, and despair took away any hope of ever saving our precious pet!   The following morning, feeling haggard and reluctant as I was, I went to Joe’s General Store and purchased a thick black leather dog collar, a sturdy silver link chain, that would hold a medium-sized terrier, also a long steel peg to use as a ground anchor.

Within less than an hour after tying Tiggy up in the shade under the closest apple tree, Claudette and I heard a whizzing-snapping sound, then seconds later, watched our freed prisoner hightailing it for the hills leaving his broken chain dangling from a branch.  Three excruciating weeks crept by until one sweltering June afternoon, Tiggy dragged himself across the backyard lawn brandishing a long thin cut that looked as if it had been made by a sharp tool or knife! I held the weak trembling cat in my arms, caressed him gently, removed the loose leather collar, and threw the disgusting shackle into the garbage can murmuring, “God, please forgive me! … Help us and poor Tiggy!”

With Claudette and the kids bawling their eyes out, we jumped into the old Ford. Throwing caution of the police to the wind, I pumped the gas pedal to the metal and arrived at, ‘McLeod Vet & Pet’ situated on old County Road 34. He sedated Tiggy immediately, shaved off the blood-clotted fur of the entire right side, clamped him up with eighty-four stitches, then I paid a bill of two hundred and seventy-four dollars, brought our wounded patient home with his life swinging in the balance due to shock, loss of blood, malnutrition and undoubtedly a broken heart from human betrayal!

Tucking him safely into his bed lined with a fluffy pillow inside the back porch, we gave him his vital medication daily in his milk, fed him with a crushed-up mackerel paste, and applied an ointment on his wound to combat bacterial infection. He was petted, patted, pampered, and nursed back to health for the following two weeks.  Peter kept threatening to get vengeance: “That old man will pay back for hurting Tiggy! I’m going to puncture all four tires on his truck! And nobody is gonna stop me!”

Our oldest son, Steve, interrupted him with adamant conviction: “‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’ is criminal in our modern law books Peter! … Come on, grow up! … You said that you want to go into teaching! Well, what are you going to do if some students don’t respect you or the school rules? … Are you going to avenge yourself on them too? … Does our principal? … No! … Act maturely!”

Infuriated, Peter retorted, “Steve, you have a snooty superiority complex! … When you go to law school next year and graduate, then you can give me legal counsel, otherwise keep your stupid opinions to yourself!”

So happy I was when Claudette stepped in! Her mind was naturally quick and witty at settling arguments:

“Calm down Peter! … You’re old enough to know that two wrongs do not make a right! … How dare you think that you are above the law like Mr. Lecompte! … You don’t even know if he did this! Falsely accusing him goes against God’s Commandments!”

Peter’s heated frustration got the best of his commonsense and respect:

“Mom! … Who else had a reason? Heck! Is he supposed to get away with slicing Tiggy from shoulder to tail? … We all know that the innocent and good always get hurt and their abusers get away with their wrongdoing! Even Officer McNeil hinted at this!

“Oh Peter, how wise you think have become just because you’ll be going into Grade Twelve in September, so I’ll have to explain Mr. and Mrs. Lecompte's health conditions. His wife, Celine, is terminally ill due to tuberculous. All their children live far away so she depends on her husband to do all the work inside and outside the home.

As for him, he has a cancerous brain tumor that affects his humor, and Son he could die any day like his wife. Yes, he’s angry at the whole world! … ‘Peter, hurting people, … hurt people!’ … He feels wronged too and naturally is envious of anyone’s happiness … even yours! You must find it in your heart to forgive this poor old man whether he cut Tiggy open or not! … Or, your hurt is going to make you just like him! Such is the nature of revenge and covetousness!”

“But Mom, he goes to our church and comes out and does a violent act like that and you talk of forgiveness! Christians don’t act like him! Does he love his neighbor?”

“Peter, do you? … You didn’t grasp a word I just said! … So, you want to use Christianity as your defense? Well then, Jesus said: ‘What is it only to love those who love you? True love for others is to love your enemies too – those that have offended you!’ … My boy, have you never hurt Jesus? … You just did! …Yet, He still loves you all the same and has forgiven you! … Do the same!

Don’t you see, you both have gravely sinned against God’s Holy Spirit that lives in your soul! Peter, you must be stronger than the hate you bear against that old man! ‘Forgiveness’ is for both you and him! … Let go and let God settle it! 

You don’t have to be a psychiatrist to know that if you permit your thoughts to dwell on hate, you become hateful and your harmful actions will follow … just as loving thoughts produce kind actions!         

Son, keep in mind that … if should you do something wrong to him, … you, Mom, and Dad will wind up in court paying legal fees while your police history will follow you like a shadow affecting your future! ... Which is it going to be?”

“All right then, I understand, I won’t make any trouble.”

That Monday morning before classes, I asked Luke Downing, one of my teacher colleagues, if he knew any dairy farmers in our county who might take Tiggy off our hands. After several phone calls, he informed me that Donald Maxwell at Concession Two was in desperate need of a tomcat and would gladly accept ours.

That same evening, I brought the whole family with me so they could say their goodbyes to Tiggy. Farmer Don, a mountain of a man, and his cheery wife Anna were waiting with great anticipation in front of two partially opened barn doors decorated with pictures of contented-looking cows, one painted on each. The immense metal barn sheltered one hundred fifty-six brown Jersey milking cows that rarely left their stalls.

After brief introductions, we were led to the center of the barn when Don said with a big friendly grin:

“Alright, Richard let yer cat down here, and let’s wait to see what will happen.”

We filled with unrestrainable curiosity, witnessed each of the seven female cats emerge from hay mounds and parade before us one by one, sort of like professional models demonstrating clothes on a catwalk.

Tiggy stood up erect and elegant with all muscles tightened like a bodybuilder, his nasals flared, made deep throat growls similar to that of a mountain lion, his fur-bristled, eyes widened almost bulging, fixed on each as they sat before him in a semi-circle as though he were their king.

‘His Majesty’ strutted up and touched each of their noses with his! … Never had we seen such a delightful spectacle!

Don shook my hand wholeheartedly saying:

“Richard, I had ta know if the females would accept yer tomcat and vice-versa, and they did.                                                                                                 

Frig Richard! … The truth is jus’ last weekend my male cat got outta the barn and I accidentally ran over him with the tractor in the alfalfa field. … I need yer cat badly!

Never did I see such a huge, tall Tabby as fine as yours! … I’ll tell yah what, I’ll pay yah whatever yah want fer him! He’ll have a good home here, be safe in the barn, and have lots of milk from my cows every day!

Anna and I have a sure-fire guarantee, that yer brute here, will be content and he’ll reassure us that rats and mice won’t get near the cows! He’ll breed us lots of kittens too! … Will fifty dollars be enough? … Well then, here, maybe seventy-five?”

With a broad smile, I replied:

“Before you accept him, you must know that our veterinarian informed us that this animal is a ‘Wildcat-Tabby mix’ from the mountains! Are you sure you still want him?”

“Richard! … Even more! … He’ll be an excellent hunter and our guardian! Much better than any dog! … As a matter of fact, no damn hound would be a match for him!”

“Claudette and I had previously agreed that our cat would be a gift. He’s yours!”

Pleased that all problems were solved for both parties, and the kids were truly satisfied, we took our leave. Really fine decent people the Maxwells are!

This year passed quickly by as so did many others! … Now, we found ourselves attending Micheline’s high school prom at the end of June, and what a grand sight it was to see our grown-up daughter go up on stage and receive her college ‘Business Diploma’ along with her classmates at this wonderful traditional ceremony. Indeed, every parent wants such a dream to come true! And as expected, her heartthrob, Andy Dubois, took her to the Prom Dance.

On July 27th our wedding anniversary was at hand. I had previously planned a surprise trip for Claudette to go on vacation at Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic until mid-August.

How the children were especially helpful around the house doing their chores cheerfully and reassuring us that all would be fine by even showing us the various addresses and phone numbers to call in case of an emergency!

Unfortunately on our return, Claudette and I were appalled to see that our big vegetable garden had been sown with store-bought grass seed! Need we comment any further? …  God’s Holy Word counseled us wisely, that we should simply let it grow and at harvest, salvage what we could! (Matthew 13:24-30)

September arrived all too soon calling students and us teachers back to classes. Our boys’ excitement grew greater as they looked forward to their studies, socializing, and making new friends. Micheline found a well-paying job as manager of a grocery supermarket a five-hour car drive away so she and her former boyfriend broke up!

As for me personally, I felt a little depressed because my birthday on October 26th brought about an abrupt end to my peaceful solace as the dreadful knell tolled out my fifty-year mark! I shuttered to think that within twelve years Claudette and I would become senior citizens and we could not stop the unwanted ‘Aging Process’!

Ah! … I was shocked to grasp how God’s universal principle of ‘Time’ and its ‘Dimensions’ dominate us all according to precise calculation and is unequivocally valid:                                   

                        “There is a time for everything,
                        and a season for every activity under the heavens
                        a time to be born and a time to die,
                        a time to plant and a time to uproot!
                        a time to tear down and a time to build,
                        a time to weep and a time to laugh;
                        a time to mourn and a time to dance” 
                                 (Ecclesiastes 3:1-15)

Then, so be it! … We must accept our future mortality!

By December of this same year, Ricky went downstairs with one of his classmates, Mark Lacelle, demonstrating Cookie’s ‘coolest tricks’ ever! Getting overly rambunctious to show off with more daring stunts, Ricky crossed his knees, placed the naïve eager bird on the left toe, and began to titter-totter him up and down.   

Unexpectedly, Peter exited the bathroom! His rushing through the hallway to go outside, frightened Cookie causing him to flutter his feathers in panic and accidentally fall onto the floor where Peter unintentionally walked on the wee thing breaking the bird’s right leg and wing!

Off once more, Claudette and I hurried off to ‘McLeod Vet & Pet’! While she sobbed uncontrollably, fervently begged the veterinarian to operate on our unconscious budgie. He was so taken aback by her innocence and lack of medical knowledge sighed and whispered sympathetically:

“Madam, … with all due respect …I cannot possibly help you! … Let’s do the right thing and put your suffering pet out of its agonizing pain!”

“Doctor, not so! … Use leg and wing splints!”

“Madam, please, this cannot be done! … Even if I somehow could, his body’s organs are probably crushed as well! … Look at him! He will never walk or fly again!

His quivering indicates he’s suffering from severe shock and his heart will stop! He will die in less than an hour! … Sorry!”

With Cookie in my wife’s hands, we left the pet clinic in despair! Once arrived home, my ingenious Claudette, so determined to save our beloved Cookie, set to work.

Out of the laundry closet came flying the family red rubber hot water bottle, one of our kid’s old flannel baby blankets making a heated bed for our doomed friend! 

Turning swiftly to the medicine cabinet, grabbed hold of several cotton ear swabs to straighten and brace his broken leg, wrapped it in cotton wool, fastened this with a band-aid, and then used two more swabs to hold his right wing in its proper place.

Gently retrieving Cookie, sat quietly down in the rocking chair, and began singing lullabies to the dying bird. Her perseverant conviction struggled against all odds to get him through the night! … The kids and I put our desperate hope in her loving arms and retired anxiously to bed. Somehow, Cookie did survive these early critical hours!

At breakfast we gazed on with disbelief as she used an eyedropper to feed him, with water at first, followed by some mixed-up white and egg yolk. She persisted in doing this routine several times a day for a whole week and the wee fellow did get stronger. Within a month, he began hobbling and then walking fairly well. By heavens during the next week, we taught him to fly with some measure of confidence! … What ‘Love’ can accomplish! … We went back and showed Dr. McLeod who was pleased!

Even though this next winter kept us in a virtual icy-cold state, an early warm spring brought forth a welcomed relief renewing hope for the soul!

On the third Saturday morning in May, I found myself happily immersed in turning over the earth of our vegetable garden unaware of Mario’s rapid approach.

“Hey Dad! … Farmer Donald Maxwell telephoned and told Mom that Tiggy escaped and has not seen him for the last few weeks!”

“Son, that’s not good news at all! … Okay then, while I finish up here, go ask Mom if she would like to go to the foothills in search of Tiggy. Since Micheline is only here for the weekend, and Steve goes to work on Monday, check with them first before asking Peter and Ricky.” 

I remember when Tiggy’s instinct would drive him off on occasion for a month looking for a mate. If my theory proved correct, he probably found one by now since males impregnate the female in March or April. Her gestation period lasts two months.

Then again, I might be wrong! He could have been eaten by wolves, coyotes, or pumas! … Yet my gut told me that Tiggy would survive and find plenty of food by living off rodents, squirrels, rabbits, hares, ducks, and raccoons.

Still, a small nagging anxious voice kept alarming me that zealot hunters, or ‘want-to-be-hunters’ looking to make a name for themselves, might be out there pouching any animal for the ‘thrill of the kill!’ … Stupid people just don’t care!

In our region, wildcats are an endangered species protected by law, so hunting them is strictly forbidden, except for farmers, regardless of parents living in town fearing their infants or young children might be attacked and eaten by this common marauder!

I felt some relief knowing that Tiggy had all his vaccinations as well as a naturally strong immune system. Nevertheless, he would be exposed to his female infections such as coronavirus, parvovirus, distemper, tuberculosis, and parasites depending on what they ate.

Much to my surprise, within the hour Claudette packed a picnic basket, several fishing rods, and the video camera so we were off to find our runaway feline!

Near noon, the kids had caught six brown-speckled trout and eight yellow perch. We had fun, … like in the old times causing me to have a twinge of melancholy as I understood that this might be the last time our family would be together to do so. As we all know, darn invading ‘Time’ has the power to ‘diminish’ as well as to ‘create’!

Claudette came to find us looking radiant, just bursting to tell us good news!

“I spotted Tiggy watching us! … See him by the mountain stream waterfalls on the right. He recalled the smell of hamburgers that I was frying but he still wants to remain aloof.”

Peter, quite annoyed as usual, blurted out:

“Well guys, it’s obvious he doesn’t want to have anything more to do with us! … If he is too dumb to realize that we love him then let’s just forget about him too! Besides we will only have to return him to Mr. Maxwell anyway!”

“What’? … But Tiggy does love us my Peter! … And as for Don and Ann, these thoughtful people phoned just yesterday telling me that they didn’t need our cat anymore because they already have eleven of his kittens!”

“Listen Mom, I’ll bet you twenty bucks that you can’t make him come here! If he doesn’t … then let’s go home, … and be done with it! … He’s hurting us!”

“All right Peter, I understand! … In any event, you can keep your money!”

Taking a few paces forward she calls him endearingly: “Tiggy … Tig-g-g-y Boy, come to Momma!... Come on now! … Atta Boy! … Let me pet you! … Good! … We love you! … I knew you would let me! … So nice to hear you purr like that! … It’s been a long time my Big Tiggy! … Ah! You still like me to rub under your chin I see! … Follow me! … See you guys? … Keep coming Tig and I’ll give you a fish!”                                         

Tiggy approached prudently, caressed each of us with his head, sat down briefly, looked languidly into our eyes, trotted over, snatched a yellow perch, and then leaped away bounding back to where he came.

Mario noticeably disappointed pleaded to Tiggy to come back when Claudette attempted her best to console him: “Son as you know, animals have similar instincts as human beings. This matter is solely up to Tiggy to decide whether he will live with us or make his own independent life!  … And no, we cannot force him to return or make him love us! … Love must be free to choose! … He too has priorities!”                     

Micheline moved with tears, sought comfort in her mother’s arms:                     

“Mom … Thank you so much for showing us this wonderful truth about love! … So sorry! … We have often deserved your anger and frustration! … But you always loved us with such kindness, … such patience … and understanding! … You never counted our mistakes or reminded us of the many times we hurt you or Dad!           

I don’t know if I will ever have the courage to bear the hardship of having children even though I do want a family! … You have believed in us when we didn’t believe in ourselves! … There is no end to your love! … I want so much to be just like you!”

“Sweetheart, you must never copy me or anyone else! … You must always be true to who you are and follow your own heart!  … Isn’t that what Tiggy is also doing?             
You will fall in love with a fine young man, marry, have your little babes, and probably carry on with your career! … ‘My Girl’, all of this will most likely happen within the next three to five years!                                                                   

Boys! … You can swipe those smug grins off your faces, the same goes for you too! … You cannot stay at home forever!                                                           

As the mother bird pushes her fledglings out of the nest to fly on their own, even if they don’t on their own accord, I will do the same to you because I love you that much!            

This moment, like all the other adventures we shared happily together, will pass away too … for such is life!                                                                                                          
Richard, grab the video camera! … Come children we’ll go see what our grown-up Tiggy is up to!”                                                                                                                        
We tiptoed through the tall green ferns up to a gurgling brook. Bending on knees we spotted Tiggy sitting straight up in a proud protective stance sniffing the air and searching for any hint of danger.                                                               

Behind him, his smaller female lay with three cute grey-spotted kittens sunning themselves in a patch of timothy grass surrounded by smooth grey rocks.                                              

Hearts pounding, video camera engaged we exchanged glances of amazement! The sound of the water rippling over rough stones covered our breathing while a soft breeze swayed tall chocolate-brown bullrushes hiding our slightest movements.

Ah not for long! … Tiggy’s sharp glance toward us alerted his mate’s primal intuition to protect her young! … Frightened, she snatched one kitten by the scuff of its neck, hastened the other two with her nose, and went hopping up the rocky hillside into highbush leading into the dense forest.                                           

Unexpectedly. Tiggy snarled, charged us aggressively several times, and then paused hearing her savage screams calling him back to take care of his own, gave us a wide-eyed-parting look, meowed, skedaddled out of our lives forever into the wild!       

Micheline muttered: “Mom, why did they run away? We meant them no harm!”

Claudette, replying as only a loving mother knows how: “Mimi, how so wonderfully innocent you still are! … ‘Change is the Law of God’ that moves all forms of ‘Life’ persistently forward by ‘His Will’!

As ‘circumstances’ bring about new seasons, your lives will transition soon enough just like Tiggy’s! … Yes, my wonderful children, you shall enjoy many great escapades, … but unfortunately, … some terrible unexpected tribulations too!

Tiggy shared part of his life with us for a specific reason. He needed to be saved from drowning when Mario intervened. And, he stayed because he knew we would feed him and give him a safe loving home! Now, instinct stirred him to move on!

While you were growing up, maybe one of God’s purposes for Tiggy being there, was to teach us to love, respect, and care for animals! … Don’t you realize that he also learned to know what human love is because of you? … Now he must love his kind.           

Like our Tiggy is doing, remember kids that your new-found independence, and the exercising of your individuality, will compel you to confront and adapt to this world’s confusing demands, and you will be held accountable for your decisions!”

That was then, so as I speak with you now, many years have passed and Claudette and I are retired. Our children have careers and families of their own. Cookie lived until eight and a half. Claudette and I found him one morning with his rigid claws tightly clasped on his perch still enabling him to sit straight as if he were stuffed. What a dear sweet friend he was!

We went to the second apple tree, put his lifeless body into an Eddy matchbox, placed this into a transparent baggie with the rest of his birdseed; dug his tiny grave to about a hand’s length down; buried him beside a root, and said a prayer over him in the name of St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals, and returned his cage as a gift to the pet shop the next day.

“Saint Francis saw animals as his brothers and sisters because they too were part of God’s plan and prayed that God would work through him to help them.”

That weekend, I planted perirenal pansies, similar to Cookie’s colorings. To mark his gravesite, l placed a round light-grey stone, engraved, ‘Cookie, We Loved You’!

Regarding our Tiggy, he did make brief visits for two summers and would lie in the back under his favorite hydrangea for about an hour or so as though he were reminiscing … and then … he never returned!

As I am finishing my chat with you, Claudette and I are high up in the hills at our cottage. I look out the window, … twilight approaches, … autumn leaves swirl about in the gusty cool October breeze and I write:

For Only a Season

Seasons ended, sun’s rays waned,
 Leaf’s veins baked, blade blotched,
  Green crimsoned, paled to jaundice,
  Now, riddled-ribbed, burned brown,
  Cracks, clutches on Brother branch!
  Comfort confronts Creator’s change,
    Surprised, sturdy stem chills, stiffens,
 Autumn’s gusts! Swish! Sever Leaf!
       In faith, fetal-curled, falls, swirls, lands.
Below upon family’s shallow grave,
  Inherits the earth, as we all must do
  Holy Spirit’s Voice transforming Life!
While the kind Face of God smiles!

Now, … as Claudette and I silently, … gratefully embrace God’s Grace for our last transition … from here to eternity … slowly, … yet ever relentlessly, … He encourages us to enjoy one day at a time! … We wait with great anticipation!

God preordains our destines, … granting each of us an allotted time on Earth! … We, may work more, … increase money, … and net worth, … and try our best to stay healthy … but we cannot change our ‘Appointed Time’!

We are only here on His planet for His given Reasons and Seasons … not for ours … as some wish to believe!

“For all go to the same place; all come from dust, and to dust all return.”          (Ecclesiastes 3:20)

When Jesus calls us home, … we go, … be forever joyful in praising Him … and be blessed with a ‘Glorified Body’, while atheists’ souls shall forever be in the Hell of separation for an ‘Eternity regretting not to be with Him!

In either event. Since all were given ‘Free Will’, we the faithful. shall give an account to the Creator for our Life’s choices, and shall reap the consequences thereof with Jesus as our ‘Advocate’!

(© 2024 Richard David Briggs – All rights reserved. Written material may not be duplicated without permission.)

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