Won Without Words
winning the marriage you desire through wisdom

Shari Popejoy


May 28, 2012

Kittens And Oreos

We’ve been talking about taking the risk of being vulnerable — and the risk of pain that goes along with it. I thought I’d paint a picture of words about vulnerability.

What does vulnerability look like?

Well, maybe it’s a date on the calendar. June 14th, penciled carefully  in second-grade-boy handwriting. That’s the day the kittens are ready to go to new homes. I knew when I let him find the nest of kittens that this would be a lesson in vulnerability. From the very beginning, he knew the kittens would be given to new homes when they were old enough to leave their mother.

And I knew that between now and then, he would fall in love with them, would name them, would learn all their cute little ways, and that he would try not to cry when the basket was empty.

So knowing this would break his little eight-year-old heart, why would I allow it? Because vulnerability is good.  Opening up your heart to love is good. Opening up your heart to the risk of loss is good. Caring for kittens is good. Watching him cry when he says goodbye is good. .. it means that he knows how to love.

And I’ve learned that I should always be very careful about closing the door on an opportunity to love. Avoid pulling back and closing the door, because the rewards of love always outweigh the pain of loss.

I learned it another time when it would have been easy to pull back. Why did I encourage the girls to build a grandfatherly relationship with the sweet old man, when I could have let the days slip into excuses?  Why did I let them eat his oreos, and grow fonder with each package? I knew they would just end up crying at his funeral.

Yes, love hurts deliciously, milk dribbling on chins, memories that last a lifetime — outlasting and outweighing the sniffles at the funeral home.

Vulnerability is unretracted claws digging into his neck as he howls, but how will he howl when I wrench the kittens from his heart?

Well, that was last year, and vulnerability tastes salty like tears, but when they combine with the dribble of milk and the oreos, it’s a salty sweetness that makes for delicious memories.

About the Author

Shari Popejoy
Shari Popejoy is the author of the book Won Without Words, and the blog Won Without Words, encouragement to wives. She writes the Livingstone Library, an adventure series for young people, and the blog Oh Joy!, (injoyinc.com/oh/) for busy moms. She is a frequent contributor to Christian print and online magazines, and writes from the quiet country of the Ozarks, where she lives with her husband, Marc, and their three children. You can find out all about her at sharipopejoy.com!


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