Billy was a sad little boy. He was only eight years old but, a lot of bad things had already happened to him. His parents had given him away when he was only three. He was abused in foster care and was bullied and picked on in school. He was full of anger, fear, and confusion, but even with all that going on inside him, he was still able to show love.
He really loved animals. He especially loved those he had been able to keep as his own. Dogs, cats, rabbits, opossums and even some mice. He loved his pets so much that he didn’t think of them as possessions, but as friends. But it seemed like every pet Billy ever loved had died, or was somehow taken away from him.
One of his cats was killed by a car. Another cat just came up missing. One of his dogs died from a terrible disease. He had a little puppy named Sparky that he loved so, so much. But one morning, when he went out to play with his little friend, he found he had died, too. Billy was heart was broken.
Then there was his dog Dee Cee. Billy loved him as much as he had loved Sparky. He was always waiting for Billy when he would get home from school in the afternoon. He would run to meet Billy and jump into his arms and lick his face. Then they would run and play until they were both exhausted. One day when Billy came home from school, Dee Cee wasn’t there to meet him. He never saw his best friend again. His heart was broken once more.
He had been hurt so many times. Not only by losing his pets he had loved so much, but also by the people in his life. Billy decided he’d had enough. He didn’t want to be hurt again. He became cold and distant. For a while he didn’t even want a pet, but he was so lonely. Eventually he decided to give it another try. He had to choose this pet wisely, so he thought and thought about it for a long time. What kind of pet would be the best for him? He thought and thought some more.
Then he saw it. It had been there all the time, right in front of him. He had played with it before and he knew that it would be the perfect pet for him. It wasn’t like any of the pets he had before. It had a long neck and a long body. Its head was wide and it had a big mouth. It wasn’t at all pretty, but Billy had found the perfect pet. A pet shovel.
Billy thought to himself, “the beauty in having a pet shovel is that you don’t have to worry about it dying and leaving you alone.”
When you want to play, it will always be there and it won’t get tired and lay down, or run off and leave you when another shovel comes around. It will never get angry and yell at you or abandon you, or abuse you in any way.
No sir. This pet would never break Billy’s heart. How could it?
Billy loved his pet shovel and took good care of it and carried it everywhere he went. He washed it and cleaned it. He petted it and talked to it and even fed it. Now what does a pet shovel eat? Why, dirt of course. Billy spared no expense. He went straight to the flower garden. “Only the best dirt for you”, he told his new best friend. “Only the best.”
There are a lot of people in this world like Billy. People who have had a bad life and feel they have nowhere to turn, and no one to turn to without finding more pain. But thankfully, when he was older, Billy met someone he COULD trust. Some one who would love him unconditionally and would always be there for him. No, I’m not talking about the pet shovel. I’m talking about Jesus. Jesus is always there for us. No matter where we are, where we’ve been, or what we’ve done, Jesus loves us and will never leave us. He loves us so much that he came down to earth from heaven and died to redeem us from sin. He bought us back with his blood. Not so he could own us, but so we could live forever with him an friends.
There will always be pain and disappointments in this life. People we know and love may say or do things that hurt us. Our pets and family members may die or leave us. But, no matter how bad things get in life, no matter how bad or worthless we may feel, Jesus is always there to help us make it through it. He promises us he will never leave us nor forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) He’s waiting right now. He wants to be our best friend.
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© 2005 Teddy Lynn – All Rights Reserved
This post was adapted from a short story by the same name.