They didn’t like each other at all when they first met.

Wait. That’s not true.

He didn’t like her.

You might remember that we lost our very beloved yellow Labrador Retriever, Ellie, a few months ago. We were devastated. While the pain isn’t as heavy and laughter has emerged again, it’s not uncommon for someone in our house to cry over her unexpected departure at least once a week.

A few weeks after Ellie’s death, we had the opportunity to rescue an eight year old (or so they think) yellow Lab mix.

Her name is Sassy.

I haven’t talked about her in this space yet but a post is forthcoming because you all just have to meet her.

She’s a piece of work. The best ones always are, aren’t they?

Three years ago, friends of ours owned a cat who birthed a litter of very cute kittens.

Sadly, the mama was killed when the kittens were just three weeks old.

Our children had been with those babies very early-on and were ecstatic over even just the idea of taking one of those kittens home.

Jason and I? Not so much.

But have you ever seen a kitten? We caved. And now we have Luke Skywalker. He goes by just plain Luke – which he has me to thank because the kids originally called him Buttercup. No male cat can be named Buttercup.

Luke and Ellie were tight.

When Ellie died, I could tell Luke was trying to figure out what happened to her friend and truthfully, it broke my already-broken heart.

Weeks later, when Sassy emerged on the scene, she pranced through the front door, full-speed ahead like a bull in a china shop and jumped right onto our kitchen table. Her foster mother was speechless.

Jason and I made eye contact, thinking we might be crazy. But there was just something about this sweet, broken little Lab who had lived on the streets a few counties to our east and had spent some time in a shelter before she made it to her loving foster home.

It’s the eyes, you know. One who lives deep and has walked a curvy path can look into the eyes of any other living creature who has done the same and just know.

Kindred souls don’t have to be of the same species.

But Luke was havin’ none of it. No ma’am. None.

He hissed at her. He stared at her in disdain, tail swishing madly from left to right.

He had no time for her.

So Sassy did what any smart animal worth a dime would do and stayed as far away from that unpredictable creature as she possibly could.

Until one day, they both started to edge towards one another.

And I most certainly wouldn’t say they’re bosom buddies yet because Sassy’s energy still drives Luke up a tree and back.

But I think Luke is starting to warm-up to the idea of Sassy and see that while she’s not Ellie, she’s not all that bad either.

Last night, as I sat on the couch reading in front of the fire with Sassy’s head snuggled on my lap, Luke jumped up behind us and suddenly, their noses touched.

They greeted each other, you guys. Stop. The. Presses.

Which made me wonder . . .

How often have I discounted someone else because they didn’t meet the “mold” of who I was looking for? How many amazing Heart Sisters have I let go because I thought she should be more like my dear friend Jennifer who I’ve known for thirty years now?

How many judgments have I made about other people who appeared to be one way but were actually maybe just really introverted or overwhelmed or just plain scared?

Oh that we would be people to see the good in every creature, every person, and allow them to be, well. . . them.

Not our expectation of who they should be. Just them – exactly who they were created to be.

Not a fill-in for a friend we miss. Not a unrealistically high expectation no one will ever reach because deep-down, we’re scared and that’s how we protect ourselves.

Not someone we think they should be but rather someone who they truly are.

Oh, yes. Lord, let us be people like that.

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