The why of it all

Jerry and I recently watched a movie about a dog billed as “worst dog ever.”

I don’t know anything about worst dogs, because I think we have the best dog ever. Lucy is the standard by which all other dogs might be judged and is as good natured as a dog could be. She's smart and can do anything. I sometimes wonder why we have been entrusted with her. Except for her occasional dumpster diving in the kitchen trashcan, she hardly ever gets in trouble.

But I might know something about having a cat that stays in trouble. You’ve heard it here before.

Every decorating decision I make is gridded through how Wilbur would react to it. He eats house plants, regurgitates on rugs, turns baskets into slivers, and shreds the sofa. For that reason, we have denied him access to part of the house. At Christmas, he eats garlands, chews the Christmas tree, and swats so many ornaments off, it takes until February to find them all. At Easter, he steals decorative eggs from containers and chews them to bits. A lump in the guest room bedspread means he’s taking a nap under it. Usually on clean sheets. He stalks his own mama, bloodies his brother Carl’s head, and his poor claw control can evoke a growl from even Lucy, his best friend. A closed door between him and one of his humans will bring on loud and incessant yowling.

I have been known to use the word “menace” when describing Wilbur. Some might wonder why I put up with all of this and how I feel about him.

The why of it all is that I love him.

When he occasionally darts out the door, I can’t rest until he’s back inside because I fear one of the big dogs in neighboring yards will get him. And when I am at my wit’s end over one of his transgressions, he often does that meerkat imitation of his and I melt forgetting his latest antic.

I love Wilbur because He is mine. This one reason is enough. No matter what he does, I still love him.

Unconditional love is like that. It doesn’t require performance.

In a much more important way, I’m reminded of the why in God's loves for us. We’re not loved because of what we do. We’re loved because we are His and because He has chosen to love us.

The Message renders Roman 5:8 this way, “But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.”

God did this extraordinary thing for us, the sacrifice of His own Son, when we “were of no use whatever to Him.” I sometimes talk to folks who are still trying to get stars on their heavenly performance evaluation—by giving money to a cause, serving on a committee, or doing good deeds. I was there myself many years ago. Philip Yancey writes, “There is nothing we can do to make God love us more. There is nothing we can do to make God love us less.”

Do I wish that Wilbur didn’t do destructive things? Of course. God desires the best for us and longs for us to serve him not to win points, but out of love for and devotion to Him. C.S. Lewis said, “God’s love is not wearied by our sins and is relentless in its determination that we be cured at whatever cost to us or Him.”

So when we doubt God’s love, let’s remember He’s already proven it once and for all on Calvary, and let us receive His love and Him with open hearts and surrendered lives.

I’m signing off now, but giving a lot of thought to starting a “Cats gone wild” support group.

(The pastel of Wilbur was done by a family member who wishes to remain anonymous.)

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, a Christmas novella, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is also available as well as her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee. She also has an Etsy Shop, Beverly Varnado Art. 

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit

Beverly Varnado copyright 2022  


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