Today I thought I’d share with you a funny story about handling guilt from my book, Fear, Faith, and a Fistful of Chocolate. I know you’re thinking, “How can guilt be funny?” (hey, you should try to write a whole book about fear from a funny perspective. Now THAT’s a challenge.)
Anyway, this true story has some really good points in it that are applicable to all of us as we struggle daily to swallow that bitter vitamin G (Guilt).
I hope you’ll take a moment and share some feedback below with your BFF (Blessed Friends Forever) community. Do you wrestle with guilt? Who usually wins?
My friend George was throwing a party. Not a huge wingding, but a nice birthday get-together for a group of close friends and relatives. Bethany, his friend and business assistant, couldn’t be there, but graciously offered her secluded home on the river for the weekend while she was out of town.
George and his wife, Sara, arrived at Bethany’s house Saturday to prepare for the party and to stay overnight to take care of Bethany’s beloved cats. When the guest arrived, George and his brother-in-law Neil decided to sharpen their archery skills at the target set up out back.
I need to make it clear at this point in the story that we’re talking about an attorney and a psychiatrist here. George and Neil are both highly educated, respectable men … prominent community, business, and church leaders. I say that now because you might not believe it after the next few paragraphs.
Everything went well with target practice at first, until George shot an arrow that ricocheted off the edge of the target and disappeared into the high grass. A high-pitched yowl suddenly rent the air, and the men stood horrified as Bethany’s cat Muffin stumbled into the clearing, skewered completely through by George’s arrow. The feathered shaft of the arrow protruded from one side of Muffin while the pointy side stuck out the other like an old Steve Martin sight gag.
Now, not to worry if you’re a bit squeamish at this point. This story has a happy ending.
But at the moment, George and Neil were appalled. What to do? It would tank the party if they lugged a speared cat inside. Although Muffin was still alive – and pretty ticked off – she was losing blood, and the men had no clue how to remove the arrow. It couldn’t be pulled out without causing more damage. The arrowhead would have to be sawed off and the feathered shaft carefully backed out.
While someone held down an angry, wounded cat.
Nope. Not going to happen. You’re cringing right now if you’ve ever tried to bathe a healthy cat, much less do surgery on a cat-on-a-spit without anesthesia.
It seemed obvious that Muffin couldn’t possibly live, shish-kabobbed as she was. Should they put her out of her misery? Wait for her to bleed to death? Call 911?
Finally, the guys decided to keep the cat-kabob dilemma under wraps. Nobody needed to know. The plan was to let Muffin just continue to lie where she was, dig a hole at the edge of the woods, and bury her as soon as she kicked the bucket. It would appear as if she’d run away. Don’t cats do that all the time?
So they found a shovel and started digging. When the hole was finished, they went back for Muffin. But whoops! Muffin was gone. What? Gone? Where could she possibly go with a two-foot-long arrow protruding from her middle? They sure didn’t want one of the children to find an impaled cat, so the conspirators combed the whole area but … no Muffin. Anywhere.
All through dinner, the two guys covertly kept an eye on the yard, expecting Muffin to stagger up at any minute and let the cat out of the bag. But she didn’t. Ironically, Muffin’s feline twin took a strange liking to George, rubbing against his legs and attempting to cuddle in his lap the entire meal, prompting one of the guests to comment, “George, you sure have a way with cats.”
He nearly choked.
After dinner, George and Neil sneaked back outside for one final search before nightfall. Nothing. But still they kept their dark secret.
Neil and the other guests left later that evening, and George began to sweat despite the cold front that dropped the temperature into the low twenties. How could he ever explain this to Bethany? He peeked out the blinds into the darkness as he helped Sara clean up. But he just couldn’t force himself to confess, even when Sara brought the other cats in for the night and kept calling and calling the missing Muffin, fretting over where she could possibly be. “It’s freezing tonight; what will poor little Muffin do? Bethany will never forgive us if anything happens to her baby.”
So as you can well imagine, George endured a restless night. At the first crack of dawn, he threw on his coat and jeans and crept outside, expecting to locate and bury the frozen evidence of his guilt before anyone was the wiser.
But what he found shocked his socks off.
First there was a bloodstained arrowhead lying on the frosty ground, and then a few yard farther, the rest of the arrow – the feathered shaft – completely intact. Then, lo and behold, there was Muffin herself, curled up and sleeping peacefully on a soft warm bed of lichen … with a telltale hole in her side and only eight lives remaining.
George knew it was time to confess. The guilt tsunami hit the beach.
Twelve hundred dollars later, the veterinarian assured George and a dazed Bethany that Muffin would be fine. The arrow had miraculously passed just below her spinal column and millimeters above her vital organs. But one mystery remained: How had the arrow been removed? It couldn’t possibly have fallen apart on its own, and there was absolutely no way Muffin could have rubbed or pawed the arrowhead off. Hmm. Did Muffin have a guardian angel with a bowl of catnip and a pair of pliers?
I guess we’ll never know. Where’s Nancy Drew when you need her?
“How far has the Lord taken our sins from us? Farther than the distance from east to west!” (Psalm 103:12 CEV).
P.S. If you or someone you know are feeling the itch to share your own stories with the world in print, I’d love to come alongside you as a Certified Writing Coach and help you navigate your way to publication. Check out my Can-Do Coaching page at my website, www.DeboraCoty.com, and contact me to schedule a FREE half-hour consultation.