I learned an interesting life lesson this week. At least it was a muse that could possibly turn into a life lesson. As you know, we have a new puppy added to the Mitton zoo. “Reese” has been with us for about a month now, and is slowly adjusting to our world — and the two cats that live with us. So here comes the lesson: yes, cats and dogs can get along. Sort of. As much as our pet rats and the cats get along. Let me paint the picture for you:

Large domestic cat wanders up the stairs and comes face to face with stinky, slightly smaller, energetic puppy who sees said cat and decides this may be a fun new friend to play with…. large, grumpy cat who has no tolerance for said bouncy pup, makes deep growling noise, lets out a hiss and with a quick paw swipe, communicates his distaste for the new invader to the household. Then large cat proceeds to walk by, hop up on the windowsill and bathe in the sunbeams, leaving bewildered dog rendered speechless. Second scenario: somewhat smaller and, shall we say, less “streetwise” cat, comes upon said bouncy (and still naive) puppy and considers that this creature may be worth the play. Well, a chase pursues, and cottony white fur flies as female cat finds the highest point to perch and proceeds to bless the world that she is still alive. Dog barks excitedly and decides the fluff is not worth it.

All that being said, as I write this post, two cats are on the windowsill with sleeping dog contented at their feet — and peace ensues once again in the Mitton household. Will they be best friends? More than likely not. Will they learn to live at peace? I hope so. I suspect the cat food will forever be eaten by the greedy dog, though, and we will have to be on constant watch. Frenemies. Have you heard of this word? The “urban” dictionary informally defines it as “a person with whom one is friendly despite a fundamental dislike or rivalry.” Do you have such a person in your life? A co-worker? Boss? Facebook friend who posts those political quotes you would love to sink your teeth into — but don’t because who wants to see that on Facebook? A family member perhaps? We all come with our own set of opinions and passions. This is a good thing — but it often ends up in, well, a cat and dog fight.

Scripture is full of words encouraging us to live in peace with one another. To love our neighbours as ourselves and do good to even our enemies. But does God expect us to get along with everyone? Is that even possible? I’ve had this conversation with my kids several times. “It’s not fair” “This person is so…” “I hate so and so…” Strong words full of emotion and sometimes hurt. Deserved hurt after spilled words that were unkind or uncalled for. A conversation or action that spews evil. I’m guilty of it myself. Yet, when I dig deep, I’m usually tired, or upset at something totally unrelated, or unsure, and I lash out in a last ditch effort to find comfort in my own skin by barking out at someone else. Still, we are called to forgive. I remind my kids to be kind — even when it is hard. Those actions speak so much louder than words.

So how does a Jesus follower respond? Are “frenemies” okay to have? Do they only lead to back stabbing and fur flying? Sigh. Isn’t it comforting to know that God is so much bigger than our quarrels? He can heal the broken heart and melt the callous one. He can miraculously establish peace when there should fundamentally not be any. Does it mean we have to “do lunch” and smile and nod and agree all the time? No. But we are called to love, and to be at peace with one another as much as we are able. Even if the fur does fly now and then. Blessings, my beloveds! May you be encouraged in the journey this week… and aim for peace.