Lessons on Love from Beethoven

Photo: Glenda Harbinson

Column Post by Glenda Harbinson

It was Mother’s Day, and I had just crawled into bed with a book when I heard it: the cry of a newborn kitten from underneath my bed. We had been waiting for the kittens and had prepared a place for them. I called in our three teen girls and the necessary rearrangements were made.  Everything was settled, two living kittens and both nursing. I clocked myself “off duty” and went back to my book.  Life was good.

It was several hours later when my oldest daughter came to find me. Another kitten had been born. It was weak and cold, and Mama Kitty was not paying it much attention. Would I please come and see if I could help? Somewhere along the years with all of our animals I have earned the reputation of midwife to critters. I went.

I picked up the tiny damp kitten and sure enough, it had a very weak pulse. I knew it was going to die; there was really no other ending for this small creature. But for the sake of the children looking on, I did everything I knew to do. Ten minutes later the little one was nursing—still weak, but mama was accepting him rather than ignoring him and things looked more hopeful.

The kitten went from Miracle Boy to Beethoven somewhere along the way and for the first months of his life Beethoven was special. When his brothers learned to climb out of the box, he was barely able to sit.  When they started to run and play, he was barely able to climb out of the box. He was always several steps behind them, and I spent hours with him doing exercises to strengthen his legs in hopes that he wouldn’t spend his life a cripple.

Would it surprise anyone to know he is now the biggest and strongest of the lot?

But that isn’t why I write about Beethoven today. Beethoven loves everybody. He doesn’t let anyone push him aside. He will head-butt you until you acknowledge and pet him. He sits at your feet and purrs. He will wake you up in the night purring and rubbing against your face. We are often heard telling this kitten that he’s too brain-damaged to know when he isn’t wanted! His heart, it seems, is three sizes too big.

Do we love, no matter what response we receive in return? Jesus loves us, no matter what. That is the kind of love Beethoven gives. No matter how many times I toss him (gently!) away from me, he continues to offer his unconditional love to me. Oh, if I could only learn to love so freely!

“Love like Beethoven.” It’s become a catch phrase around our home now, one we laughingly use to say just love, whether your love is wanted or accepted or if you even think it’s needed.  Just love.  It’s what Jesus says to do.

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Glenda is a homeschooling mom of four in New Brunswick, Canada. She also fosters one teen and provides respite care and tutoring for another. She and her paramedic husband Mark have been married for 24 years. Glenda’s writings often reflect her personal experience parenting and teaching children with developmental and learning differences, as well as a particular empathy for moms with chronic illness. She blogs at http://pwsmommy.homeschooljournal.net/ and can be reached by emailing glenda.harbinson@gmail.com

Read more encouraging stories from brave-hearted women here. Be sure to grab your free copy of inspirational quotes and writing prompts while you’re there. (Look over on the right hand side!)

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