Mighty Athena in the Castle!

Mighty Athena in the Castle! December 23, 2020

Mighty Athena looks over the castle each Christmas night.

Athena is our cat, making twenty years look hard, but still a mighty hunter before the Lord. She has Nessie the Wonder Dog, fifty pounds her superior, quite cowed. If she is not longer lovable, being quite crabby, she is still loved. Almost two decades of ratting, snuggling, and purring encourage toleration of a few years of yowling.

One of the most magical Christmas gifts of childhood was a castle my Daddy put together for me. I used to sit in this castle to direct massive imaginary campaigns, attack the castle with gravel from the driveway, take parts for other projects, and rapidly repurposed the soldiers for numberless room spanning battles in the bedroom. The original castle did not long survive me, but as a grownup when I saw a used one on sale, I bought it and each Christmas bring it out for jollification.

I may have set up a campaign or two while setting up the castle, but mostly I have provided a castle for Athena. This is meet and right.

Humans are animals after all and one joy of having other animals about us (including the chickens and soon to be sheep at the College!) is this reminder. Athena is arthritic and I am a bit arthritic. Athena is slower, I am much slower. When Athena suffers our folly with a scream, I am reminded to control my reactions to the world. Athena hates every change: where are all the humans that used to be here? Often I am not fond of change: where are the children?

Athena sits in her castle and presides.

This is jolly, but I can do better. Reason reminds me, a gift not given to other animals, that I could resist change, but I shall not. I know the seasons of life must be accepted. I know that the new is often necessary to correct the old. I know that we are not going back to Eden, there is no Golden Age in the past that can be recaptured. As a man, a human animal, I am also an immortal soul created in the image of God.

I can do better.

As a result, when tempted to sit in my own version of a plastic and metal toy castle, I resist. (God helping me!) When I am tempted to yowl at changes, I look for what is good, true, and beautiful in them first. When tired and aching, instead of biting the hand that would feed me, I recollect how to purr. This is not so hard and is very good. There is a time for curmudgeonly behavior, but this is a rare time. There is a nobility in youth forcing herself to look to the past for wisdom and old age forcing himself to look to the future for truth. God is eternal and omnipotent, so our limited times and small imaginations must look to Him.

Just now, is your simple animal nature tempted to sit in a toy castle of human invention and so miss the good that God is now doing? If so, join me in letting the cat Athena fill that role and moving on by way of illuminated reason to something better.

We will not cease from mental fight, nor let the sword rest in our hand, until we have built a new Constantinople in this green and pleasant land! 



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