Is it worth doing something you abhor for the sake of loving someone else? Here’s a story of how I have been exploring that very question.
I hate cats. I have been heard to call them such things as "Satan's spawn" and "what happened to dogs when Adam and Eve sinned." I boldly, proudly, loudly hate cats. They are truly abhorrent creatures.
I love dogs. I love big dogs. I grew up with a big dog, and she was nearly perfect. Naturally my wife (an all-around animal lover) knew what she needed to do. So for Father's Day she surprised me with a 9-week-old black lab puppy named Belle. I fell in love. For 48 hours. Until we discovered that our younger daughter is allergic to dogs.
There were no dry eyes in our car as we drove Belle back to the pet store. It was over, no pets for this Piper family.
Until last two weeks ago, that is. An e-mail went around the office that a former employee had nine kittens to give away. Naturally, I deleted it.
My conscience did not. My conscience kept reminding me of my daughters’ pleas for a kitty (and my wife’s, they work as a team) and of their tears driving home with an empty car from the pet store. What to do? My daughters love kittens. My wife loves kittens. I love my ladies. I hate cats.
My family never needed to know. It's not like they would see the e-mail. It wasn’t even like I was hiding anything from them. I was simply protecting them from temptation and/or heartbreak. Right?
All my life I have railed against the evil of feline life. A portion of my very identity was tied up in this ill will toward cats. It was truly a matter of pride. I would never, NEVER own a cat.
But it came down to this: Do I love my family more than I hate cats? That was a surprisingly hard question to answer. I guess that reveals something about the pride in my heart.
But the answer is yes, I do love them more than I hate cats. On Monday evening 2 weeks ago I drove out and picked up this mewing gray ball of fluff and brought her home to surprise my girls. I have never seen them so happy. Ever. Not even with the puppy (unfathomable, I know). This was no “fun new toy, but now I’ll be bored with it in 48 hours” situation either. In their minds this was a new family member.
So is it worth doing something abhorrent to you to love someone else better? Grudgingly I say yes. (Although this does not yet extend to watching romantic comedies with my wife or letting my 5-year-old give me a pedicure). Pride tastes bad when you swallow it, but it's good medicine for the heart.
Postscript: My 5-year-old daughter, apparently in an attempt to destroy every vestige of pride and hard-heartedness I had left, decided to name the kitten Stormy Rose. Seriously. Stormy freakin Rose. I am humbled (and slightly humiliated).