Delayed Reactions, the War Between Good and Evil, and the Inevitable Emotional Atrophy

“And the LORD God said, ‘The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil. He must not be allowed to reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life and eat, and live forever.’  So the LORD God banished him from the Garden of Eden to work the ground from which he had been taken.”- Genesis 3:22-23 (NIV)

As it has been since the Fall, so it continues to be.  Humankind unfortunately really knows how to choose evil.  Sometimes evil finds us even when we aren’t looking for it.  This week I’ve been stress on a stick.  Along with the constant worry about money and the lack thereof, and the eternal quest to scrounge enough money to keep Steve-o in school, I have other demons to contend with that no amount of money or time can assuage.  The main problem with me and emotional distress is that I don’t deal with it while the situation causing the distress is in progress.  I deal with the rational/practical implications as the situation unfolds,  but I don’t feel anything.  It’s as if I am watching a movie.  I am detached from the situation as it unfolds.  My body does what it needs to do to respond and my mind simply records the details- so I can fall apart over them later, usually at a most inappropriate or inopportune time.

Monday night Jerry insisted I let the dogs go out on the lot even though we knew there were still young feral kittens that the dogs were trying to get to.  Clara is the fastest and the most prey-driven of the three dogs.  Unfortunately somehow Clara got ahold of one of the feral kittens.  I heard the fracas and went running, screaming, “Clara, NO!” but by the time I got close enough for her to let go of the kitten she had already crushed its skull.   The kitten died in my hands and mercifully so because it was obvious it had been mortally wounded.  It was a lovely black and white kitten about four weeks old,  and appeared to be of good size and health- at least before Clara decided to rearrange its head.

Logically I know I should not be so upset about the loss of a feral- they are (barring extraneous circumstances) doomed from birth to short, violent lives and often ghastly early deaths, but this was sad.  I don’t like being this close to death and the knowledge that there wasn’t one single damned thing I could to do prevent it is still eating at me.  Feral cats can be socialized if they are captured young (before 12 weeks) but there are too many of them to socialize them all. Yes it is a commentary on people failing to spay and neuter cats, but it is also a sad by-product of necessity.  Without feral cats our homes would be overrun with vermin.  While they are not native species neither are the vermin that humans brought along with them.  The lesson of the Great Plagues in Europe was that it really isn’t a good idea to kill the cats.  We need feral cats on one side, but it is hard to see the way that they suffer especially compared to pampered house  cats.

The other part of this slaughter that disturbs me is that it brings home the knowledge that gentle Clara can also be a ruthless killer simply because she carries ancient and powerful instincts, and she is a large and powerful dog.  The same dog that protects me and sleeps in my bed is capable of unprovoked bloodshed, even as she allows the house cats to sleep on her and groom her.

Is good always good?  Or is it more correct to acknowledge that all creatures are tainted with the evil unleashed in the Fall?

Why should I shed tears for a doomed feral kitten simply because I had the foul luck to witness its death?  I can’t blame Clara for being a dog even though she is well-fed and did not kill the kitten because she intended to eat it or because she was starving.

I don’t deal with emotions well at all.  If anything I choose not to deal with them and then something out of the blue will trigger a memory that will cause me to break into tears or anger or most commonly, depression.  I am hopelessly emotionally crippled.  I try to make up for it by being logical and thinking things through, but sometimes logical answers seem pale and cold and barren.

Sometimes I have to stop for a moment and weep for a dead cat, whether it makes sense or not.