Most of you at Trinity have heard me mention our cat, Isaac.
Usually, I used him in humorous illustrations that highlighted the differences between humans and animals—like the truth that Isaac never did chores, or held down a job, at least we never saw him break a sweat or offer to buy our dinner. Although these were humorous illustrations, they serve to demonstrate the undeniable reality that humans are not only different from animals in degree, but in kind.
Overemphasizing the similarities between people and animals lead some, practically speaking, to equate the two as very near the same, with some even preferring a relationship with an animal over humans; but the similarities between them will never bridge the deep chasm artistically carved by their God-given dissimilarities (Genesis 1:26-27).
However, animals are created by God for our enjoyment and care, and they can surely afford us with a unique and wonderful pleasure. Such a pet is Isaac. He has been with us for thirteen years as we have lived in three different houses in two states. If you visited our home, Isaac, like one of the family, was there to greet you with either a glance from his crossed eyes or a gentle—but firm—nudge with his head in hopes that you would pet him. Although his memory was not that of a human, if his nudge received the desired response of a head rub, he pawed your name in his little reminder book, and then set patiently awaiting your return to the Rogers’ domicile.
I have spoken of Isaac in the present tense, but the sad reality is that Isaac died yesterday. Yes, it has been a sad time for all of us. No, not like if Gina, Natalie, Nancy, Ronnie, or one of our relatives died, but nevertheless sad. The reality is that many memories of events in our home involved Isaac. He would most certainly make at least an appearance at every gathering at our home, regardless whether these gatherings were family, Bible studies, or the Roundtable. He contributed his own sounds to the cacophony of noises that characterize our home; this could be anything from his playing the window blinds at 4:00 AM telling you he wanted to go outside, or his frequent dance rehearsals on the sliding glass door signaling, in no uncertain terms, he was ready to come in if for nothing more than to save him a few steps on his journey from the back yard to the front yard. Consequently, his presence and unique sounds were a large part of the daily routine of our home.
Was Isaac human? No. Did he go to heaven? No, as far as I know animals do not live eternally; although, I do believe there is sufficient reason to believe there will be animals created in heaven.
However, here is the truth. Isaac was a blessing to all of us, a part of our conversations, and involved in the interactions of the Rogers’ clan in many different ways. If you were to visit our home today, you would sense a sadness signaling something is not right. Before long, you might look around thinking a picture to be out of place or missing; or you might just sense that something just isn’t right. In the quieter moments, you might miss the all too familiar sound of paws dancing on glass, or maybe you might remember the quaint glance you were accustomed to receiving from Isaac that caused you to wonder if he was looking at you or someone else.
It is indeed odd, how though he never spoke a word, helped with the daily responsibilities of life or was anything other than Isaac the cat, he became so much a part of our lives and will be surely missed. For now, today and tomorrow, our home is missing a living picture that graced our décor for years, a poetic thread in the tapestry of our daily lives and a few seemingly unrelated sounds which have become for us a softly played concerto. Thank God for giving us animals, and particularly Isaac.
Ronnie W Rogers