For most of my life (and especially the last twenty years), cats have served as “emotional support animals” for me.
In the last decade the dearly departed Chester and Miss Kitty weren’t just pets, they were friends that stuck closer than a brother… friends who brought incredible comfort, companionship, and joy into some very hard years.
They are gone now and I miss them more than it’s proper to admit.
Smokey is still with me, but Smokey is not like those who lived here before.
Smokey loves me…I think…but life has taught Smokey to be very wary of love.
He is here, but almost always on the periphery.
I leave my door open so he can come and go as he pleases.
He stays mostly outside, coming in to eat or to be protected from thunder and raccoons.
When the danger passes, he goes back out.
He likes to be petted, but he always ducks his head when you first touch him…somebody used their hand to harm him and that memory never leaves him.
He eats quickly, always with an eye on the door.
He often is waiting to greet me when I return from somewhere, then runs away when I try to greet him back.
Now and again he’ll jump up on the bed and start kneading and purring, almost desperate for affection, then bolt when it feels too safe.
Life has taught the Big Smoke that when you feel safe, bad things happen.
I can relate…
Smokey can’t be of much “emotional support”…he’s just trying to get though the day the best way he knows how.
I still care for him and love him just as I did those who were here before him…and hope that one day… for his sake… he can receive all that I have for him.
Some of us are a lot like Smokey…except we live our lives on the periphery of Gods love.
Perhaps we have been wounded by those who claimed to be His people or we have been crushed by circumstances we thought He could have changed.
We stay within running distance of Him, but never rest in His presence in security.
There are times when we jump towards Him desperate for fatherly affection and love, then bolt when it feels too safe.
Life has taught us that when we feel safe, bad things happen.
God is good even when His people and circumstances aren’t.
He never moves away from us and is always present and willing to receive us in love, hope, and forgiveness.
He prays for us that we might one day receive all He has for us and find rest in Him.
The door is always open.
I believe, help my unbelief.
Make your own application…
That’s a nice reflection… very nice.
Thank you, my friend…
Michael, you affirm my sense that God put animals here to example and teach….
One of my daughter’s old cats has decided i am her friend – not sire why…..
God keep you and pld Smokey
Be her friend…she will be a very good one, indeed…
Sticky does get bullied off her food by the other cat and the dog… Often, if I’m in the kitchen at night, she will join mr and in quiet, but persistent meows beg food. I usually give in and sneak her some… 😉
She’ll be your friend for life for food… 🙂
I appreciated your thoughts. It took me so long to gain the trust of my current cat, and she will still bolt and hide if I do something that scares her. It’s just about always unintentional (I can’t apologize for the cat carrier when we need a vet visit!), but she hides and will take several hours to come out and trust me again. During a 10-year period from 1992-2002 so many crises occurred in my life and were overlapping that I lost myself (and God) somewhere in the muddle. It was raising children that weren’t mine, losing a parent and a step-parent, moving several times, changing jobs several times…all my Bible answers weren’t working and I felt lost. God felt “lost”, too. God brought some people alongside me and they pointed me back to the character of God and how they had seen Him working in my life. I was amazed that others could see the many things that I could not. Like our cats, I would quietly creep into God’s presence, stay awhile, and then bolt because I was so frightened. It finally clicked for me that He had never left me, life can very hard, but He’ll get us through. I still curl up sometimes in my little personal closet when life gets busy, but not as much as I used to. it’s the old Aslan thing:
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”
Just like my kitty, I needed to learn that God is safe.
“They are gone now and I miss them more than it’s proper to admit.”
So who says it’s not ‘proper’?
They were family, no two ways about it.
When my wife and I consider our two little dogs, their loyalty, and the love in their eyes for us, we see no distinction, and quite frankly, we prize their love over the paltry excuse for love that many two-legged critters pretend to have.
One thing I have noticed about your posts that carry a high value for application are the following words: Make your own application…
I respect that you consider that most people reading your post are intelligent or spiritually minded enough to do so. Sadly, I do not think the same is true for the way most preachers view those sitting in the pews or banquet chairs so commonly used in Evangelical Churches. It is almost as if everyone is considered somewhat stupid. I could give examples of this like the way everything is reduced to such simplistic terms but I do not want to derail from my compliment/encouragement to you.
It is also counterintuitive to much of what is taught about preaching and sermon preparation )at the church or Seminary level). Sometimes I think doing all the thinking for those listening to the message by spelling out what the preacher believes the application is robs the listener of a vital aspect of Christian growth- critical analysis and self-appropriation (argh self-control from derailing is really hard sometimes (lol).
All I am trying to say, with all this excess verbiage, is I found your spiritual assessment of a natural observation very insightful and your subtle challenge to apply what you wrote refreshing. I think it stems from a trust that God is able to the work of appropriating the message in the way He deems fit. Now, that is a bold confidence in God’s sanctifying work!
Great job. Keep up the good work.
should read: God is able to do the work…
Thank you, Shawn…encouragement helps!