Comfy Cherub by mikecogh
Comfy Cherub by mikecogh
I love reading the inspirational accounts on Guideposts and I am not alone in this regard. This month I was surprised to find on their June cover an unrecognizable face. Usually they picture some celebrity whose story is featured. In my opinion, this is a mistake.
Celebrities get their due on so many other levels and with other magazines. I would hope that Guidepost would have realized this and would feature instead everyday people on their magazine covers.
Celebrity has its place, but in my opinion, Guidepost should celebrate the EVERYMAN on its covers.
This month they did, and featured the wistful face of one of the Sandy Hook mothers who lost a child during the unimaginable massacre at their school. To have 26 people gunned down all at once is certainly a horror which we all hope and pray will never be repeated. And, of course, the saddest part of these killings is that 20 of them were little children.
But then, a beautiful thought for some of us who believe in heaven - these 20 little children became instant angels who were pure and blameless of any serious faults. Each one of them had been precious members of their family, and now the members had to be hopefully content to pray to their little angels in heaven. I have a feeling, I too, will be asking favors from one of them - Catherine because she loved animals.
Her story starts with Catherine's mother, Jennifer Hubbard having to write her little girl's obituary. She wrote as she started this sorrowful project: "People need to know how much love went out of this world when she died." Then she typed: "Catherine Violet Hubbard, age 6, born June 8, 2006 passed away Friday, December 14, 2012 during the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. She is survived by her older brother, Frederick...."
Writing her daughter's obituary was hard, and she couldn't help feeling as well the grief of every mother who has lost a child so young, whose life was over before it had begun. She wrote that Catherine's death had left an unfillable void.
Reflecting on her little girl, she remembered that she had been shy around adults like most little girls, but when it came to animals or other kids, she was in her element, and it was a whole different story. Her mother noted that her little flame-haired daughter became a miniature Dr. Doolittle in the presence of the animals she so loved. She felt it was her need to care for every living thing.
Arthur Schopenhauer once wrote "Compassion for animals is intimately connected with goodness of character...." I agree, and this little munchkin must have had goodness and then some to love animals as much as she did.
I loved this whole next paragraph in this Guidepost story because this little girl became alive for me when reading her mother's account of her in their yard:
"How many hours did Catherine spend in the backyard with her friends patiently training our old yellow Lab mix to jump over a stick? Hugging her. Picking her up, though she weighed twice as much as Catherine."
Yes, I can visualize this sweet little girl hugging this big beautiful dog of hers. She probably didn't even realize how really heavy she was and whats more- she probably didn't care.
Jennifer continued with her remembrance of Catherine in the yard: "She had a thing for critters-her pet bunny, her fish, the crickets in our yard on lazy summer nights, even the worms. Butterflies were a big deal. She'd gasp with delight when one landed on her hand, which they always seemed to do. Maybe it was because she'd whispered to them to 'tell all their friends it was o.k., she was kind.'
Obviously, this child was very special to be appreciative of ALL of God's creatures. As I read the mother's story, I thought of God calling out to St. Francis and telling him "I think Catherine can be your help mate with all the petitions coming from people who care about animals." and could see in my mind Catherine's face light up with joy as this was an indescribable honor and privilege for one who also loved all of God's creation.
Jennifer's husband Matt looked at what she had written and said it looked good to him. Then Jennifer observed that she had to incorporate a memorial of some kind because people would be wanting to send donations. After thinking a moment, he offered a possibility - what about the animal shelter? Yes, Jennifer agreed that this would be a fitting memorial to their child who loved animals.
A friend found the Animal Center's address and sent it to them. Catherine typed the address on the obituary form requesting donations be sent there in lieu of flowers.
After the heartbreaking viewing, funeral, and saying good bye to their beloved daughter and sister, the family turned their attention to the Animal Center to see what had transpired.
Matt decided to visit the animal shelter and when he came home, he reported to Jennifer that it was not a shelter per se but a house. Horrified, they felt they had made a mistake.
Finally, Jennifer called them and a woman answered. She explained that they were animal rescue volunteers. They didn't have a building or anything like that. They wanted to call earlier, but felt they should wait a bit more during the grieving process and then pay a visit in person.
A few days later- two pleasant unassuming women paid the promised visit. Jennifer asked them how much in donations had they received. One of the women replied that it was about $175,000! The donations had been coming from all over the country and even from different parts of the world.
Surprised, Jennifer asked them their plans for the money. They replied that they always dreamed of starting a wildlife sanctuary. It would be a "place where both animals and people could find healing. It would be calm and serene. Peaceful. There would be walking paths and places to sit. And there would be opportunities for people to work with the animals."
Thank God thought Jennifer- their planned sanctuary would have pleased Catherine. Six months after her death The Catherine Violet Hubbard Animal Sanctuary was becoming a reality. Amazing that from something so horrible as the death of one's beautiful child, something so good and beautiful materialized and will always be a testament to the loving life she lived.
Of this sanctuary Jennifer Hubbard wrote:
"We want it to be a place of peace, peace born of terrible, incompressible violence. Peace, like the peace of Christ, that is the only answer to evil. Because no amount of hate, no gun or bullets, can kill love. Especially the love of a child like our daughter, Catherine Hubbard."
As for the other 19 angels, they each have a special story as had Catherine. I know that each family has memorialized them in some way because each young life was special. And they never want to forget the beautiful child God sent them, even for so short a time. And for people of faith, they will always be able to turn to their angel in heaven and tell them how much they love them still and how much they are missed.