In a city like New York, that reported 496 murders and 1,304 rapes in 2007, the death of a rabbit seems pretty inconsequential. That is to say, the death of a rabbit seems pretty inconsequential to everyone but the boy who owned that rabbit and, perhaps, his mother.
It had been seven days since Pebbles had passed away and things still hadn't improved in the Coollighan house. Karen Coollighan was beginning to develop concerns about her son, Billy. Billy was wearing his somber emotions outwardly and was showing great resentment towards anyone who did not feel as gloomy as he did.
Karen did not know what to do. She had always considered herself a spiritual woman. She was an actively practicing Catholic who attended church weekly and was always sure to observe religious customs such fasting during lent, but with each unanswered prayer to the saints, her faith grew weaker. This time, she decided to try something drastic. She prayed to The Lord.
Billy stood on his toes, with his fingers grasping at the windowsill as he attempted to look at the lights outside his window. One of them appeared to be slowly gravitating towards him. Could it be a plane he wondered. It seemed impossible that a plane could navigate through the blocks of apartment buildings that sprouted up from the macadam base of his Bronx neighborhood like stalks in a cornfield. Never the less, the light continued moving towards him.
As the light came closer, Billy slowly backed away from the window. Then, something amazing happened. The light transposed itself through the wall and an angel appeared before him.
"Who are you?" Billy asked.
"I am Michael, an angel of The Lord your God," the visitor answered, "and He has sent me here to assist your in the grieving of your lost pet, Pebbles."
"You're an angel," Billy replied. "What do you know about losing someone you love."
"Well, as an angel of The Lord, I have never had a pet," Michael said, "but let me tell you a story about a boy I met three-thousand years ago who had to give up a pet of his own.
"Jebediah was the son of Seth, a Jewish farmer in the land you know as Israel. Jebediah thought he loved The Lord, but did not live to please Him. He often disrespected his father and told lies. Through these actions, Jebediah distanced himself from God.
"On his twelfth birthday, I visited Jebediah, and through The Lord's power gave him a vision of how his life was going to be if he did not make things right with The Lord. I presented him with a male lamb and instructed him to show the love of God through his love for this animal.
"For two years, Jebediah nurtured this animal, as if it were his own child. During this time, he also learned to respect his father and tell the truth. On his fourteenth birthday, Jebediah looked at the strong and beautiful ram he had raised from birth and realized the time had come offer him as a sacrifice to The Lord," Michael said.
"So what?" Billy asked.
"Young Billy," Michael answered, "my point is that young Jebediah had learned to love The Lord so much that he willingly sacrificed his most beloved pet in His honor. You, on the other hand, have lost a pet and with that loss, are questioning the existence of God. Why is that?"
"If there is a God and he is good," Billy responded, "then why do children have to lose their pets?"
Michael looked Billy squarely in the eye and spoke softly, "Pebbles' death caused your mother to pray to God. I was sent to speak to you on His orders as a direct result of that prayer. If my visit can help you and your mother grow stronger in your relationship with God, then Pebbles has done more in his death, than he could have done for you if he lived one-thousand years."
"How do I know there even is a God?" Billy asked.
Before he answered, Michael decided to speak a little more on the child's level, "The next time you ask yourself that question, you need to remember that some lit-up dude with wings flew across the city and straight through your wall to talk to you about God. If you do that, you won't ever question His existence again."
Billy smiled for the first time in a week.
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