You probably will not agree with what I am about to tell you, so be it, but I did an act of kindness tonight because as I considered murder… I had heard a hymn earlier in the day that came to my mind and has not left me all evening… I’ll give you the name in a minute.
In 1225, yes you read that right, Francis of Assisi, who became a Saint after his death and who is the patron Saint of animals and the environment, wrote “Cantico di fratre sole“, Song of Brother Sun, shortly before his death. It was almost 400 years before it was translated to English, by William H. Draper, and published in the Public School Hymn Book, 1919.
If you take a few moments to sit outside and watch the squirrels playing chase, carrying nuts in their cheeks looking for a place to hide them; watch the birds as they fly around and land on the feeder to have a little snack or splash in the birdbath, you know that God created all these wonderful creatures who are on a mission of finding and storing food, of caring for their young and for simply enjoying their life.
Driving down my tree lined street recently I particularly noticed something that, I guess, is always there, first a possum, a squirrel, then a chipmunk, all road-kill. I had always seen them and felt sorry that they were trying to cross a road and lost a battle with several thousand pounds of vehicle, a sad sight. But then I was driving and a small squirrel ran from the sidewalk into the road, I slowed down and it turned, as if it were going to go back, I picked up speed and then it happened… he turned and ran right under my car. I thought I had missed it until I heard the bump. I cannot get that sound out of my head. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw it dying, I started to cry and felt like a murderer, wondering if it was a mama looking for food, or a young squire looking for a mate, whatever it was, it was dead and gone. I had to face it again on my way home, still lying there, now lifeless and run over by other wheels.
We take those kinds of deaths as an everyday fact of life, but those small creatures have families and their life is important to their Creator, Who sees a sparrow when it falls. Luke 12:6 “Are not five sparrows sold for two copper coins, and not one of them is forgotten before God.”
Back to tonight, I got on the elevator on the 3rd floor and there was a large, black roach in there. I spoke to it and said, “Buddy you don’t belong in here, one of us has to go!” I started to stomp on him but the car stopped and I opened the door on the 2nd floor to see if anyone was going down, I looked down at the roach as he just stood there at the edge not making a move. When I got to the basement and opened the door he calmly marched out, he had reached his destination and I didn’t kill him!
Now I will tell you the hymn that began playing, which I had no idea was written by St Francis of Assisi, “All creatures of our God and King, lift up your voice and with us sing, Alleluia! Alleluia! Let all things their Creator bless, and worship Him in humbleness, O praise Him! Alleluia! Praise, Praise the Father, Praise the Son, and praise the Spirit three in One! Alleluia! Alleluia!”
So for tonight there is one creature of God that owes his life to St. Francis! To him I say, “Sleep tight Mr. Roach, tomorrow I might not be so generous!”
This creature of God is tired and just before going to bed!
4 Replies to “My trip in the elevator!”
Great post. Love it, love you.
Reminds me of the poem, RAGS by Edmund Vance Cooke
lets see if this will copy and paste
(oh, and get a tissue)
We called him ‘Rags.’ He was just a cur,
But twice, on the Western Line,
That little old bunch of faithful fur
Had offered his life for mine.
And all that he got was bones and bread,
Or the leavings of soldier grub,
But he’d give his heart for a pat on the head,
Or a friendly tickle and rub
And Rags got home with the regiment,
And then, in the breaking away-
Well, whether they stole him, or whether he went,
I am not prepared to say.
But we mustered out, some to beer and gruel
And some to sherry and shad,
And I went back to the Sawbones School,
Where I still was an undergrad.
One day they took us budding M. D.s
To one of those institutes
Where they demonstrate every new disease
By means of bisected brutes.
They had one animal tacked and tied
And slit like a full-dressed fish,
With his vitals pumping away inside
As pleasant as one might wish.
I stopped to look like the rest, of course,
And the beast’s eyes levelled mine;
His short tail thumped with a feeble force,
And he uttered a tender whine.
It was Rags, yes, Rags! who was martyred there,
Who was quartered and crucified,
And he whined that whine which is doggish prayer
And he licked my hand and died.
And I was no better in part nor whole
Than the gang I was found among,
And his innocent blood was on the soul
Which he blessed with his dying tongue.
Well I’ve seen men go to courageous death
In the air, on sea, on land!
But only a dog would spend his breath
In a kiss for his murderer’s hand.
And if there’s no heaven for love like that,
For such four-legged fealty-well
If I have any choice, I tell you flat,
I’ll take my chance in hell.
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Oh my 😢😭 I have a 16 year old faithful lab who cannot get up under own power any more and most times loses her bladder or intestine on the floor before we reach outside. But my heart has been broken in pieces over these faithful loving creations and I don’t have much left. I think Ruby will end it. When Rubin died, the one she followed I thought I could never love another one as much. He was a gift to my 10 year old son delivered to him as he walked out of a music lesson and when he was in college he came running in saying he thought he was dying. This poem has slain
me. I’ll have to share my dads account of a faithful wolfhound at some point. Thank you for sharing that with me. 🙏😇
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