“This will get us there, you’re sure?” Avery asked the Captain. Her hands shook and sweat beaded on her forehead.
” Yes Madam, as I’ve told the other passengers, who are equally as persistent, this will take us to the first step.”
“The Stairway to Heaven? I can’t believe it. It’s for real, isn’t it?”
“Well, Madam Avery, that’s what you paid all your money for. This is the only ship that can take you there. We’ll arrive shortly. Ask a flight attendant to give you some pills to calm you down. Soon, you’ll never need medicine again.”
“But, what’s at the top of the Stairway? Streets filled with glitteringgold? No more crying and no more pain?”
“When we’re there you’ll know. Have faith, Madam.”
Avery looking pale and feeling dehydrated suddenly fainted. The whole idea of reaching Heaven by space ship seemed unimaginable.
When she woke up she was lying on a soft bed. There was a gate formed of pure gold and silver. Two regal guards stood nearby.
“You there, both of you, where is this? I was supposed to be in Heaven I paid a great deal of money to get there, ” Avery said.
The guards chuckled, “Madam Avery, don’t you know the Stairway and Heaven itself cannot be bought by humans.”
“But what am I doing here?”
“Quiet now. You’re in processing, they’re trying to decide about you,” one guard said.
“If somewhere deep inside you know Heaven was purchased for you long ago. If you know who bought it,” the second guard replied.
Avery stomped her foot, “I deserve what’s coming to me.”
The first guard shook his heads,” Wherever you end up, Madam Avery, you can be sure of that.”
A few months ago a dear friend passed away at 98 years old. She was a grandma, my great godmother, and in these last few years, a genuine friend. I miss her very much and writing her letters to mail with a poem or small story. It was our thing and I visited her as much as I was able. The last time I saw Evelyn we visited a few hours in her room. Then, I was leaving and I couldn’t get out the door to reach the elevators. Finally, I got to the elevators went out the front time and stopped.
I looked back at the wonderful care facility she’d been staying in these past three years. She was in her own home until she was 95. I had this strange feeling that I woldn’t see her again. I gazed back deciding all I could do was hope that in a month or two, she would still be alive and well. I do wish one more visit might have been possible.
She was a wonderful, outgoing, and opinionated person. She demonstrated great care with people and her hospitality is/was famous. She even drove big trucks and was a mechanic in her day besides working at the Woodwards Department store for many years. For much her life, she was a single mother. Evelyn had many talents, her cooking, her unpredictability, and a spirit that kept on shining and pushing through life’s miseries.
R.I.P Evelyn. I’ve been trying to finish this last poem for you for a few months. It’s taken me awhile to get right! I’m so happy you are with our Heavenly Father and no longer suffering in any way.
A monument falls, crumbles,
Although, she was strong.
An impenetrable force,
A spit-fire, a trail blazer.
You can press your hands against thick steel, rock, or concrete,
Wonder how such monuments are designed,
Buildings of beauty, fortified through time;
How could they fall?
Then you realize that soft skin isn’t stone,
And a woman isn’t a superhero.
When you gaze into the past, into beloved photographs,
You see how smooth marble crinkles,
As fine lines, directions on a map.
The most elegant calligraphy,
Words muted in the unforgiving sun.
And photographs appear in memories,
The warming light of conversation,
Over hearth: satisfying food and laughter.
Yet, still I attempted to see how her puckered lips,
Were once plump, young, and beguiling.
Long gone are her cherubic child’s lips,
Nearly a century ago.
And flawless cream skin is marked,
Lines settled in, can be followed,
A pattern of an Autumn leaf.
No monument left to be seen, no eyes sparkling,
With a smile uniquely hers,
Never to be repeated;
Only in whispers of genealogy.
A monument stood and —
She was significant.
Someone who was seen and not afraid to be,
A grandma who paraded around,
In forty two pairs of shoes — probably more.
Her body could be strengthened with steel,
Knees and hips better off with fabrication;
The real ones worn out.
Do stone monuments feel the pain of lost children?
Of polio’s grasp, sucking the life out of a small boy.
Of a little girl who passed away a whisper.
And of one child who survived,
A reader, a teacher, a traveller, a builder.
One who is imperfectly perfect as her.
My godfather with his wife,
My godmother, both I adore.
Yet, the stubborn cheerfulness,
Of this monument lives on in her family,
In her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren,
And beloved relatives and friends;
Partners who marked her life, always leaving early.
Sisters and brothers, marrying others becoming new brothers and sisters,
How she adored and missed all them all,
Passing away before she could blink.
For the most part, she was unsurpassed in years,
She mourned her family and friends gone first,
But reunites with them now.
And when she fell, the monument’s pieces scattered,
Although all feels lost,
She needed her relief in heaven.
And no one ever thinks that day will come,
Until it crashes upon those left behind.
Monuments fall, it happens every minute of every day,
For every type of personality,
To each person someday;
Special and authentically themselves.
It’s okay to morn the monument’s empty place,
To hunger for her caring advice,
Her kind words.
The silence is hard, her not being,
In her home or in her room.
Now she’s aged, is dust of the earth,
She is the ideal of herself, the creator’s perfection.
Her life was imperfect, as we all are,
It was shadowed by pain and misery;
Yet her optimism always pulled her through it.
Remembering her and taking comfort within,
Her greetings to all those she meets again.
The suffering and sorrow has ended, so do not cry your tears.
For every monument is eclipsed,
Heaven’s radiant light filters into the cracks,
Rebuilds the rubble.
Her figure of faith and grace.
The love she had, that does not die,
But multiplies in eternity,
Waiting for her family someday.
And for her her dear friends.
When we arrive,
She’ll wonder what took us so long.
Offering a piece of pie, uncooked fresh blueberries in a crust,
With soft dollops of whipped cream.
Her timeless love in cooking, baking, hospitality,
“THROUGH me you pass into the city of woe: Through me you pass into eternal pain: Through me among the people lost for aye. Justice the founder of my fabric moved: To rear me was the task of Power divine, Supremest Wisdom, and primeval Love. Before me things create were none, save things Eternal, and eternal I endure. All hope abandon, ye who enter here.” – The Divine Comedy, The Inferno (Canto III. Lines 1 -9).
“Abandon all hope? How can this be right? I didn’t kill anyone and I was no pervert. I stood for my political office. I did what I had to do,” Ker said.
“How do you know it was the right cause?”
“Well, I just do.”
“What about those you hurt along the way? Your wife, Meredith, who now rests in Heaven’s fold? You’re here at the gates of Hell at the river Acheron for a reason,” the wise Charon told Ker.
“I didn’t mean to hurt her, to use her to get where I needed to go. I loved her, but I didn’t mean to leave her. I prayed and I apologized. I admitted my sins to a priest in confession. Yet, here I am in Hell at the Traitors’ Gate, why here?”
Charon sighed and whisked the regretful Ker’s soul into the boat. “I wonder Ker, where Midas will send you? Will you be in the eighth circle as a corrupt politician or the ninth circle for being a traitor to your wife, to your family? Will you spend eternity ‘a Judas?'”
Ker shook his head, “This is nothing but a dream. Dante’s Inferno does not exist. I won’t abandon hope, I won’t. Meredith is not dead and I’m not really here.”
“But you did stop hoping and you’re a traitor so now you face the Traitors’ Gates. You are one of them and that’s why this gate is where you will enter into the ninth circle of Hell.”
“What?! I’m so sorry, I mean it. I repent. I’ll do better and change my ways. Tell me this is just a dream, let me have another chance.”
Charon chuckled and shook his head wearily.”It seems someone up high is fighting for your soul, Ker, I don’t why because your soul is pitch black. Yet, you will have another chance. Remember you won’t get another.”
Ker awakes suddenly whispering pleading prayers in words of Latin and Ancient Greek. He doesn’t know why he understands these prayers to God, but he does. Ker attempts to pick up his smartphone nearby but feels terrible pain whenever he moves.
Then, his beautiful Meredith walks in the hospital room door. “Meredith? I thought you were dead. That you would never speak to me again. I thought you were in Heaven and I was in Hell, I dreamt it.”
Meredith smiled at Ker with love despite how he had treated her recently: “Who do you think asked God to give you a second chance? I gave up eternity for a later time, hoping you will be there with when I return. Now you must fulfill your promises made in front of Charon.”
“So, can you change, Ker? Can you stop being a traitor and fight for ‘the good’ in this world? Can you fight for me, for us, for our family?” Meredith asked.
Ker was just grateful to be alive. He swore to do better in life, in love, and he did.
Welcome to another biweekly interview for my interviews series. I apologize I am behind with interviews as other projects have been keeping me extremely busy. Today I have a wonderful interview for you with Kathy Dunn, her team, and their blog for the cause of bringing awareness for animals in a Christian context. Kathy’s blog is called: Shepherding All God’s Creatures
1. What is Your Name and the Name of Your Cause? Where are you located?
My Name is Kathy Dunn, and I love animals! Our cause is an animal welfare ministry, Shepherding All God’s Creatures. Others in SAGC’s ministry and myself, advocate for animals from a perspective of faith. We believe since God made us all, it is best to advocate for these animals keeping a Christian perspective in mind!
My team includes myself, Kathy Dunn, from Minnesota, US; Roslyne Smith from Leeds, England; Marcello Newall from Italy; Jessica Lopez from Florida, US; and Philip Guyott from London, England.
2. Please Tell Us About Your Cause and What You Are Trying to Accomplish?
We are Christians who love animals. I (Kathy) started a spiritual venture a few years ago that led me to blog. One day I was awakened to the industrialization and incorporating of animals into factory settings. I realized animals are exploited on every level by man for factory farms for food, the skin and fur trades, vivisection, puppy mills, hunting, and animals in entertainment. In the wild, animals face unprecedented pressure just to survive; many species are endangered and face extinction. In homes, some people mistreat and abuse family pets.
Our organization seeks to accomplish certain goals including:
Using a Biblical approach, to share Christ’s love for us and all of creation, following the Holy Spirit’s lead, and using the truth of scripture.
To focus on animals and exploring their role in creation as well as to explore what mankind’s role is as a caretaker of creation and the earth in general according to The Bible.
To provide resources on our blog page so that readers have a place to find educational material on the topic of animal exploitation and abuse. They can also find information on how to become involved and take action against animal abuse. There is also information on diet and how to live a Vegan life-style.
To encourage others to speak out to church leaders about the need for Creation Care Ministries within the church.
To serve as a tool for people to take information to their church bodies, as churches awaken to their role of caring for creation. On our site, we hope to provide some material that leaders can use to help them create ‘Creation Care Ministries’ for their church.
To work alongside the animal welfare movement in their most important work, bringing the love of Christ and knowledge of scripture with us to minister to people who do not know God. For those who don’t know Him, we invite you to take a look and make an informed decision as to what this life all about!
Our ministry encourages people to have a heart for Jesus and for His truth, that God will show up for them (Jeremiah 29:13) and is real. He is there to comfort people and loves people and animals. His intent was not that mankind would exploit animals but care for them. We believe Jesus Christ is the answer to overcoming every kind of evil plaguing this troubled world.
“Our cause is an animal welfare ministry, Shepherding All God’s Creatures. Others in the SAGC ministry and myself, advocate for animals from a perspective of faith. We believe since God made us all, it is best to advocate for these animals keeping a Christian perspective in mind!” – Kathy Dunn
3. When Did You Begin Writing and/or Blogging for Your Cause and Why?
I started our blog in December 2013, when I asked Roslyne to join me in my endeavor. In 2014, we asked Marcello to join us. As well, in 2017, we asked Jessica to join as an author and prayer event leader. We are in process of bringing aboard Philip as an author as well as our Information Technology blog and web designer.
4. Why is Your Cause Meaningful for You and Your Team? How Does it Help Other People and Animals?
Our cause is meaningful as it fulfills our desire to help animals according to God and His word in the Bible. It is a calling I have felt since the onset. I have heard from others who follow us, how our ministry is helpful for people in finding support and understanding through our faith-based cause, focusing on animal welfare.
Our prayer group, in particular, provides a safe place where all of us can pray together for animals and the earth. It helps us support one another in our common goal of helping the animal kingdom, and releasing the Holy Spirit into a hurting world to bring hope, love, mercy, kindness, and peace for all of God’s creation.
“Our prayer group, in particular, provides a safe place where all of us can pray together for animals and the earth. It helps us support one another, in our common goal of helping the animal kingdom, and releasing the Holy Spirit into a hurting world” – Kathy Dunn
5. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Continue in Your Cause? Why Is Your Cause Important to You and Your Team?
I am motivated by my faith in Jesus Christ and other people whom I share my personal walk with Christ with. Reading The Bible and studying scripture – the written Word – as well as the spoken and Living Word of Jesus also inspires me. As well, sermons from going to church and other blogs add to my inspiration. Knowing about animal suffering and how it break the hearts of my team at SAGC and God’s heart, leads me to urgently want to share our message.
SAGC’s cause is significant because a lot depends upon it! The spiritual world manifests itself in the physical world. War, hatred, bloodshed, and death, were never intended to be experienced by people or animals. One day, Jesus is going to return to the physical world as he says he will in the Bible. “Our reward,” Jesus says, “is in Heaven” (Matthew 5:12) for following and believing in Him.
Our organization believes that all who entrust their lives to Christ will one day live in perfect peace with one another, the earth and animal kingdom, the way it was originally intended to be (Isaiah 11:6-9). This is our goal as Christians and people who love animals.
6. How Does Your Blog and Writing Habits Fit with Your Cause?
We hope and pray that our blog raises awareness of caring for animals and creation from a Biblical perspective. We want it to encourage people of faith to reach out to their communities and leaders, insisting that they take up animal and earth welfare issues. People are responsible for these issues such as any other social justice issue that affects people such as poverty and sickness.
We desire to bridge the gap between secular animal welfare and faith-based outreach, showing the world that Jesus cares about animals and the earth and drawing people to Him so the can achieve salvation through Christ.
“We believe that all who believe and entrust their lives to Christ will one day live in perfect peace with one another, the earth and animal kingdom, the way it was originally intended to be (Isaiah 11:6-9). This is our goal as Christians and people who love animals.” – Kathy Dunn
7. Have You Published Anything On Your Cause Outside of Blog Posts? Have You Held Any Special Events for Your Cause or Do You Have Future Plans to Do So?
In 2016, the article, “God, Love, Peace and the Animal Kingdom” was published in the annual edition of Twin Cities, Veg Living, a publication by Compassionate Action for Animals (CAA). They are a local animal welfare organization dedicated to building community and raising awareness to the suffering of animals in factory farms, and advocating for a Vegan lifestyle.
For Special Events: We host Prayer Events Online and recently, SAGC absorbed “Christian Vegan Prayer Calls Group” and their membership which was led by Jessica Lopez. We will host the prayer conference call which was the main feature of Jessica’s prior group on a monthly basis (to begin with). Members can join in this call for prayer as the prayer leader (Jessica) leads them.
For the future, there are many considerations. After attending the’ Creature Conference’ hosted by Sarx in the UK (March 18, 2017), I have been feeling inspired to put together a similar event here in America. This event would be dedicated to bringing faith groups together to strategize on common goals of animal and earth care issues, while unifying, finding support, renewal, and encouragement for the cause of our blog as well as our calling as Christians in the world.
6. Can You Briefly Describe How Your Blog and Your Cause Began?
In 2010, I discovered what was happening in our world to animals in the fur industry. I watched an undercover video of animals in China being skinned alive for their fur. I was so shocked; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.
It led me on a journey seeking all the realities of our industries where animals are concerned; I wanted to know what was going on in our world. I discovered many of the various uses mankind utilizes animals for, treating them as “things” at their disposal. I kept asking myself “where is the church?” This took me on a spiritual journey to find that answer and the SAGC blog was born three short years later.
“In 2010, I discovered what was happening in our world to animals in the fur industry. I watched an undercover video of animals in China being skinned alive for their fur. I was so shocked; I couldn’t believe what I was seeing.” – Kathy Dunn
7. What Is Involved In Supporting Your Cause and Blogging for It?
Staying on top of the issues and current news around the world in regards to animal welfare issues is vital. I do a lot of this work by gleaning through other animal welfare organizations and what is happening with them. I also study the Bible and read the related material and educational books both from a faith/theological perspective as well as from a secular animal welfare venue. Networking with other people and other organizations with God’s guidance is also important!
8. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for other Bloggers/Writers who are Blogging/Writing for A Cause?
Follow your passion where God leads you! Read, study, don’t be quick to judge but find out as much about your cause and its background including: people involved, the culture, the history of the cause, and other particulars about your cause as to gain as much truthful knowledge and understanding as possible.You will find confidence approaching your cause this way, knowing you know the material thoroughly.
A favorite piece of scripture of mine is: For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, Godliness; and to Godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love.” (2 Peter 1:5-7)
God has given us everything we need to work with for supporting causes such as animal welfare in a Christian context.
9. Is There Anything Else You Would Like to Share with Readers of This Interview, Pertinent to Your Cause or Your Organization?
Always be ready to go the extra mile! Causes are human made – all social justice issues are the result of a fallen world and man rejecting God. It is easy to fall under the influence of the powers and principalities of evil at work in this world.
Peace eludes us, as we live in a world in disagreement where some people think they judge rightly and are willing to defend what they wrongly believe at any cost. Leave the judging and revenge to God who judges rightly.
“Peace eludes us, as we live in a world in disagreement where some people think they judge rightly and are willing to defend what they wrongly believe at any cost. Leave the judging and revenge to God who judges rightly.” – Kathy Dunn
10. For Fun, Please Tell Us Your Three Favorite Blogs?
Greg Boyd — A theologian, Bible scholar, and teaching pastor at Woodland Hills Church; he is the author of this blog. His wonderful teaching keeps me seeking and ever hungry for truth and knowledge of God
Swords To Plowshares — Craig Wescoe is a wonderful writer in his knowledge of scripture and our Biblical responsibilities for the earth and animal kingdom
Animals Are Feeling Beings Too — LeeAnn’s blog is uplifting with a serious side. I love all the photos and videos she finds and shares. She is very creative and her posts are short and to the point.
11. Please Share with Us Some Favourite Link From Your Cause’s Blog:
OUR FATHER WHO ART IN HEAVEN:
Father, we come to you now in the midst of great division among the people in the United States and around the world.
HALLOWED BE THY NAME:
First, we honor you as Creator of all and PRAISE YOU for all that you have made! Without you, we can do nothing (Joh 15:5). We want to put on display the glory of the Father by bringing about the rule and will of God on earth – guide us in doing so and protect us as we work at it with the Spirit’s guidance.
THY KINGDOM COME:
In us and through us, with us and without us, because of us, for the animals the earth, the downtrodden, abused, voiceless, marginalized among us so that we are an example of Christ for those who live by the power of the sword, who are living by the patterns of this world, that they also might humble themselves and repent and find you, Jesus; shower your Spirit upon us, enable us to be that example of Christ the world needs to see, guide us in studying what that means and to apply it in ALL we do – You are the answer to ALL that ails mankind.
THY WILL BE DONE, ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN:
When I think of your will being done on earth as it is in heaven, I think of the Garden of Eden and what a pristine, peaceful world would look like for ALL that you created. I think of how we would treat each other, the animals and the earth, under your complete Lordship and that love is the goal – may we all pray for our world according to this model and the visions he gives each of us. Help us use our imaginations when we pray and in how we live out what we see in as much as we can in this broken world by the power of the Holy Spirit; help us love as Christ loved. We are asking that your reign is accomplished now in us, through us, in spite of us, and without us!
GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD:
We ask that all that we need daily to remain steadfast in a dark world ruled by Satanic powers will be supplied and that we will utterly rely on the Father to trust him for all that we will be needing as we work to bring about your kingdom on earth.
AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS:
Lord that we would extend the same forgiveness to others that you extend to us, unworthy though we all are. We are admonished by you to extend grace to all, including those we consider our enemies (maybe there is no love lost for animal abusers, or perhaps in light of the American election, a candidate who won the election that we may feel is our vehement enemy) – Lord not that we sway to and fro with the powers that be in every kind of wickedness or agree necessarily, but that we stand our ground on the basis of what Jesus taught, act like he did when he came against enemies, and that we leave the final judgment of a person’s character and any revenge for wrongs done up to the Father. As Micah reminds us, we are to “do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God.” Micah 6:8
AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER US FROM THE EVIL ONE:
Lord, please protect us from the hardships that accompany our kingdom work; yet when they come as they will in this war zone in which we live, strengthen us to place all our hope and faith in Jesus and to carry on, knowing that like Paul said, no matter the situation, whether well fed or hungry, with plenty or little…. we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Phil 4:12, 13); enable us to put on all the armor of God (Eph 6:10-20) and having done all to stand; and Lord that we will not give up, for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not! (Gal 6:9)
In the Holy name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, AMEN
For an excellent article on the Lord’s Prayer, go here.
Thank you for reading and following our blog, we hope you are blessed by it and will share it with others! ~Kathy
Thanks to Kathy Dunn and all the members of her blog and organization. The preservation of the earth and the ethical treatment of animals is an extremely important issue in today’s world so thank you for sharing your cause with us and from your unique Christian perspective as well. Here is the link to Kathy’s Home Page again: Shepherding All God’s Creatures.
If you would like to have your blog or writing featured on my biweekly interviews please reach out to me on my blogContact Page. I am happy to interview writers/bloggers in most any kind of writing, fiction, poetry, nonfiction, and any kind of blog theme including blog pages for causes such as animal welfare. See You Again Soon!