January 2012-August 2013
"But WHY did she have to die, Mom?"
The questions had been coming since Jitter's passing Friday night. The conversations had been easy, sweet, and comforting. There were many hugs, lots of tears, and funny stories. Who knew a small, Chinese dwarf hamster could have meant so much to a 9 year old little girl.
We said goodbye to Jitter Bug Friday night. After discovering a large tumor under her chin on Thursday, watching her suffer through the night and next day, her passing was a relief in many ways. But it still did not make it easy for a little girl who had loved this hamster.
God is good though and the conversations that followed were sweet. We talked so much about death, our fallen world, our sin, our faith in Jesus Christ, and heaven. We pondered on how it must have been in the garden and how God never intended for this kind of death and suffering to be a part of His Creation and how it would all be right again in Heaven. All of these questions of the "why," of Jitter's death were so easy for me to answer.
It wasn't until the "what" question, did she cause me to sit and ponder.
"What was Jitter's purpose Mom? If everything has a purpose, what was hers?"
I had never really bonded with Jitter. She was too much like a rodent and she nibbled on fingers in her first few weeks of being a Fitzgerald. I knew I was done with her then. Lillie Grace had asked for a hamster for several months and when her 8th birthday rolled around, her Daddy knew exactly what to get her. Enter Jitter Bug Fitzgerald. At first, she was a novelty and all four kids loved her, played with her, and were fascinated by her. One by one though the newness wore off, for everyone except Lil. She loved Jitter and would play with her for hours. She loved to put her in her ball and watch her roll outside in the grass. She made obstacle courses for her to run through and she knew her favorite treats such as grapes and cucumbers. It was her responsibility to clean her cage each week, check her food and water, and make sure she had time outside of her cage to play. Lillie took her job very seriously. She never failed to remember when a week had passed, she played with her daily, and talked to her constantly. Jitter had grown fond of Lillie too and Lillie had the only hands she would not bite. Lillie could hold her for hours and Jitter would be very content.
What was her purpose? Simple. For Lillie.
God used Jitter to grow my sweet girl. She matured in so many ways taking care of this sweet, big-eyed rodent....ahem...hamster. God used her to teach Lillie responsibility. Jitter was cared for better then I ever could've. In the beginning, when I took responsibility for the cleaning of her cage, I often forgot. I would've gone weeks had it not been for sweet reminders from my girl. Jitter taught Lillie a softer side of herself. My brave, independent girl needed someone to be dependent on her. Someone was counting on her and for the first time she had to think of someone other than herself. She learned how much her siblings loved her. One cried with her, one wrote her a poem and drew a picture, and one provided the hug she needed at just the right moment. She honored God in the way she cared for one of His creatures. She learned about life....and about death. She learned that somethings can't be fixed. She learned that sometimes the hurt in loving something is worth the time spent loving. Her eyes were opened to the reality that everyone around her has an end and to spend what time she has loving those around her. Jitter had a purpose. I can't know every purpose God had planned in bringing Jitter into the Fitzgerald family, but He's allowed me to see some.
As I pondered these things on the front steps with my first born girl, I was thankful for the little rodent. I was thankful that she had been allowed to be a Fitzgerald and that Jitter would forever be a part of Lillie's memory. Before I could voice any of these realizations....
"I know her purpose Mom."
I looked into her tear filled eyes.
"She needed to know how Fitzgerald's love."