The lesson in Primary today was on the parable of the sheep and the goats. I've always felt some sympathy for the poor goats assigned to His left and wondered how they got such a bad rap. Then I remembered two recent incidents in which our goat Black Jack escaped from his pasture and wreaked havoc on various garden plants. During his first escape he decided to try out Chinese food and munched a number of young bamboo shoots. Fortunately some of this years shoots were already too tall and tough for him. On his most recent escapade he ate all of my cabbage plants. I have to admit that goats are all about satisfying their appetites and they are extremely uninclined to share or sacrifice to benefit others. So I guess there is a valid basis for the goats being on the left hand. On the other hand, I've never noticed a great deal of altruism among sheep either. I think sheep merely aren't bright enough to come up with the many ingenious ways to get into trouble like a goat can do.
For the last four years or so I've served as a volunteer chaplain for the Snohomish fire department. So far I've only been to two real house fires. Usually my service consists of "waiting with the dead" When the EMTs are unsuccessful in reviving or saving a patient, the chaplain waits on the the scene with the family until either the Medical Examiner or funeral home come to take the body. Its a rather melancholy type of service and we try to offer what comfort and sympathy we can. I had three people die while I had the duty this past week. Two of them died at the same time so one of the other chaplains handled one of the calls for me. I find it exceptionally melancholy when the surviving family members have no religious faith. I think that has got to be one of life's most difficult trials, to lose a loved one with the belief that is the end of it right there.
After my week of chaplain duty was passed I had an opportunity to get in touch with my inner fireman. Our little cat loves to go outside but is still getting over his recent wounds at the hands of another cat. Yesterday the kitten followed me outside only to run into his nemisis over by the currant bushes. I heard the yowling and ran over as fast as I could. I found the big cat (Rachel's Jack Sparrow) doing a very poor job of feigning innocence, but there was no sign of the kitten. Linda and I both looked for him for about twenty minutes with no success. Finally I heard faint meowing but I had difficulty figuring out from where it came. Finally I looked up and located Mr. Buttercup in the top of one of my cherry trees. Lucky for him it was semidwarf so he ran out of tree at about 15 feet rather than 35 feet. Rescueing a kitten from a tree is such a stereotypical fireman thing but I did manage to do it without first donning my fire department jacket.