Friday, February 14, 2014

this is what valentine's day means to me

My wife and I used to keep track of our years the same way most people do--by holidays and anniversaries and birthdays, and by the gifts we'd gotten for each other. But in the past few years, between the financial hits we've taken and the lessening of whatever capitalist sense we may begun with, important times have come instead to be tracked by the animals we took in.

Thus, my birthday in May is when we took in Beans; late summer is when we allowed Chicklet to move in. Easter is when Nilla came to live with us, and Boxing Day is the day she drove to the southern rim of the Cities to keep Mango from being euthanized. Late January, perhaps MLK Day, is Pappy's anniversary of taking up residence in our our comfy lives; and this year my birthday came around full circle to be the date Taffy became our baby. Similarly, Jesse came to us at Thanksgiving and Magellan was taken in near Father's Day. I could locate all the other animals we've ever taken in to some other day celebrated differently by other people.

Except for the cats and Beans, all of these beasts were intended to be short-term occupants. Now Olga has come to live with us, hopefully for only a week, on the night before Valentine's Day, prior to going on to live with another family. As much as our ministries have come to be for other people outside our home, inside it is a ministry of beasts. We see ourselves as a couple meant to either save an animal from death or provide it with as good a death as possible. As I have said for our two decades together, we don't get a happily-ever-after; for some animals, we are the happily-ever-after.

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