August 7, 2013: “Vanity, Definitely My Favorite Sin”

~by Susi Pittman

“Vanity of vanities…all things are vanity!”
~Ecclesiastes 1:2~

The title of my column comes from the movie, The Devil’s Advocate, because appropriately I came to understand what “vanity” truly meant this week.

It has been during the past three weeks that a poor, old, feral mother cat showed up with five kittens. This is just another case of the Lord calling upon me to help the lesser brethren. I never turn anything away that shows up on the property…there’s always a reason they find me.

I have gained the mother cats trust, but the little ones are skittish and scared. Due to an unfortunate turn of events, we have lost two of the five kittens. So, I have grown extremely vigilant to see that the remaining kittens will be protected as best as I can.

I questioned why two of the kittens had to die and considered it my failure to have not been able to save them.

I could not have been further from the truth.

Day before yesterday, I had an appointment at the dentist to have a tooth extracted. The appointment was urgent, because I have been in a lot of pain. I was rushing along to get into my car when I noticed a small furry, black and white body jump up from underneath the car carriage, into the motor section of my vehicle. I froze.

I popped the hood only to find the small kitten working its way back behind the motor.

Well, I completely collapsed into tears and went back into the house. I could not lose another kitten. How in the world was this happening! I grabbed a broom and a pitcher of water. I worked to scooch the kitten from its hiding place and I poured water down upon the area where I thought it was, hoping it would jump down and run off. I could see no movement.

I returned to the house once again and fell to my knees before the picture of Jesus on my desk and commenced to wailing aloud; Why Lord is this happening? I have lost two of these kittens already and now, I’m supposed to drive off with this kitten in my engine, knowing full well it will meet its death? Why Lord? I know Lord that all the creatures listen to Your voice first, please, please Lord, call this little kitten out of my car! Jesus, please have mercy on me, please Jesus! I wept like a baby.

I went to the window and stood and watched for a few minutes, but saw no movement. My heart was wrenching with anguish at the prospect of having to leave. But, leave I did feeling pain in body and in spirit. I left not knowing what Jesus had decided.

That is perhaps the hardest thing a human being can do. Relinquish everything…all control…all of your PERSONAL desires and submit totally to the will of God. That no matter the outcome, believing that He will strengthen you to persevere or fill you with the blessing of a prayer answered.

Every moment on the road my thoughts were upon that kitten. Was he alive, was he dead? All during the dental procedure, my heart and mind was on that poor kitten. I found myself asking Jesus to help me understand why it had to happen today.

It was then that this powerful inspiration filled me, right there in the dentist chair. Vanity comes in many forms. You can obsess to possess that which is not yours, no matter how well intentioned you may be. God is the first and last word of all that is. Do without seeking to possess and God will take care of all whether in this world or the next.

Vanity was indeed my sin. “I” wanted to have things work out for the cat and her kittens the way that “I” wanted it. “I” wanted to work the deal. “I” wanted to possess the perfect ending. Vanity is greed in one form or another. Vanity can put you into your own “hell on earth.”

As I turned down the street returning to my home, I spoke aloud to Jesus in my car and said, Jesus, forgive me for my vanity.

Turning in, there was no black and white kitty waiting.

I pulled up into the carport and glanced to my left, where I saw the mother cat lying under a tree. And then, a little black and white kitty-face popped up from suckling its mother and looked at me.

Jesus had decided. He answered my prayer. Jesus did call that kitten from within my car to safety.

I again, wept like a baby in thanksgiving.

What I learned through this experience, is that no matter how beautiful, no matter how ugly moments can be in this world, all is vanity UNLESS our heart and soul is rooted in the will of God first, leaving our own desires by the wayside.

The last word, when all is heard: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is man’s all; because God will bring to judgment every work, with all its hidden qualities, whether good or bad.
~Ecclesiastes 12:13-14~


Susi Pittman is founder of and Owner-President of Twin Oaks Publishing; she is author of Animals in Heaven? Catholics Want to Know!; an advocate for the Florida Catholic Conference; a member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Council of Women in Jacksonville, Florida; an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Augustine;a member of the Florida Publishers Association, Independent Book Publishers Association, the National Association of Professional Women, the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States and the National Audubon society.

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