I wrote this story for one of my final exam essay at my university. The story is really free-flowing as I imagined myself as the subjects of the story having conversations and just wrote whatever came out in my mind. As I recall, it took around 20 minutes to write this essay (*essay was given couple of weeks ago prior to exam but I did mine at the literal last minute) from scratch at the very last minute—procrastination to the max. Therefore, the story might be not eloquently written but please understand. Prior to reading, just a quick term and notice reminder in regards to the story: *K'ema: Means 'friend' in Pueblo Indians tongue. Pueblo Indians are considered as one of the oldest Original People of America.
*Original Person is a spirit. I never mention that the Christian Man saw the Original Person. Christian Man thinks this is a revelation from God, regardless of other miracles, for the Christian Man anything miraculous constitutes as revelation from God. It is hard to totally change an individual's viewpoint but practice may be changed.
K’ema My Friend
Instead of going the traditional route, I wanted to explore the spiritual elements of animals from a hypothetical story. The story is about a Christian Man who has cared for animals in a compassionate version of a pastoralistic ethic but ironically, also had hunted animals such as deer for food during extreme times such as winter when food was scarce. And at the same time the story is about the Original Person (*my expression of Native American individual) who has existed harmoniously with nature for centuries (after all this is a story). Both the Christian Man and the Original Person discuss about the importance of seeing animals from a spiritual standpoint. The discussions are not planned, but it goes freely as it goes.
K'ema, it is a fine day isn't it no? Why do you look so sad? The Original Person sits next to the Christian Man who is sulking on a piece of tree trunk in the wilderness. An inexplicable ponderance visited my mind. It was just a normal day. I hunt animals as a true man making a choice in order to feed his family. But then, it was not normal anymore...my action corresponded with a degree of guilt. I killed this doe just now. I not did it for the sake of guilty pleasure, but for my family. But I saw its cub, it is crying over there seeking for its mother. The Christian Man with a said sigh explains his conundrum to the Original Person. Then the Original Person looks away into the distance as if he is communicating with the doe's spirit. K'ema, what's done is done. It is how the sentience of Our Mother (talking about Mother Nature here) dictates our actions. It is the will of the relationship of Our Mother. We give and take. They accept their fate but at the same time, they allow us for them (reference to animals) to become a part of us. And in this manner, we respect them and we call them, not them anymore, but our brothers. She (referring to the doe) has allowed you to take her life for the sake of feeding your family K'ema. And now it is your turn to acknowledge her beautiful action that embodies her spirit.
The Christian Man listens to the Original Person carefully then he asks an inquiry. But it is not a degree of science or the natural law of Man to acknowledge that animals have spirits or to see animals from a spiritual standpoint. Animals don't have spirits do they? K'ema, it is not a matter of whether animals do have spirits or that animals should be considered from a spiritual standpoint. It is a matter of oneself. Let me ask you, why did you feel this enormous sadness when you killed this precious doe? Is it because of your moral conscience and conscious? Or is it because of your God? Or is it that it became clear to you that the doe was no longer just a product of your selfish needs, but is has more to it—its lives, its moments, its cub, desperation, joy, the realization of its imminent fate, and all in all its acceptance of such final dilemma—its choice? What creature will accept its fate if there not a glimpse of hope in beyond? And then these sentience build up a rapport ad mist the activity of life and death—when you play god—the rapport of a connection between you and the doe and that to realize that like both equal beings, without realizing, you acknowledge the comparable degree of depth in each existence and from there you realize its (the doe's) spirituality.
I am not sure if I am following you correctly. The Christian Man is talking to the Original Person while looking at the doe's cub that stopped crying and seemed to have accepted its mother's absence—again, its choice to move on. Well, I am a Christian. I believe in God. The one God alone. The Benevolent One. The Merciful. And I believe in the truth of the resurrection of our Savior Jesus Christ Our Lord. Yes, there are testaments in the Genesis that God commands us to take care of the creatures of this world. I understand this and practice Christian Stewardship in my pastoralistic ethic. I treat my animals right. And I heed the Word of God and therefore, do not mistreat other animals that are not under my care such as the doe right now. I give the animal a clean shot so to take away any possible prolong sufferings.
The Original Person listens to the Christian Man and he, in a tone of serenity, begins to speak again. K'ema, if what you say is true to your heart. Then shouldn't you embody the way of your God and extend grace and mercy [if indeed your God is truly Graceful and Merciful], towards the animals of this land, sea, and air. If you truly consider the animals as a creation of God, although you may not see fit the animal soul—shouldn't you at least acknowledge animals with certain degree of personhood as God personally created the animals Himself; and if what you believe is the truth that “in the beginning there was Word” (Genesis 1:1) and that Word was God? So hence a degree of personality of God has been in presence during the creation of all animals. So thence the animals may be no longer a consideration to the extent of a species but as more of an animal persons? And then in consideration of the animal person, wouldn't it be beneficial for you as a Christian man to consider animals in a degree of spirituality that hence may develop and/or acknowledge a degree of respect one gets in connection to a spiritual being? IF you are or consider yourself as a true Christian that follows the way of your God and whom tries to treat animals in a correct way through yours Christian Stewardship, then isn't it much natural to view and treat animals with respect and with a degree of spiritual reverence? Simply, won't there be compassion involved?
The Christian Man was met with silence. And in the midst of silence, one could hear the beautiful voice of nature on how God intended. Since this is a short story, the Christian Man pondered upon what the Original Person had said and he decided that the Original Person had a valid point in regards to how the animals should be viewed. The Christian Man understood that it wasn't about the belief in which the Original Person was talking about, but it was the way of the practice, the attitude, and perspective. So he knew what the Original Person meant when he said that everything “depends on oneself.” By the time, his ponderance was over and his curiosity got him to look at the Original Person—the Christian Man couldn't see the Original Person in sight. But as he looked towards the doe's cub—it seemed as if it was looking at the Christian Man with eyes of forgiveness and acceptance. As if it was led by something, perhaps an Animal Master, the doe's cub goes into the forest and disappears among the greenness of Mother Nature's bosom. The Christian Man at his spot, prays for the doe that he had killed for his family. And he takes the doe's meat back to his abode.
The doe is prepared and served as dinner for his family. The Christian Man prays before dinner with the whole family at the dinner table. “Our Holy Father. Please forgive our sins [by this, in his heart he has included the act of killing the doe]. And let this precious gift of God [by this, he was also referring to the prepared doe] let it not go to waste but be accepted as the extension of our daily lives. Father, blessed us all [and by this, he secretly blessed the doe and its surviving cub as well].”
In Your name I pray. Amen.