Crouching in Darkness

Crouching in the dark
(pic details at bottom of post)

Wet cat.  That is what I just let in.  Boots, our chubby and cuddley tuxedo cat, is new to the great outdoors.  In an effort to get him to lose a few pounds, we’ve been letting him outside lately.  The vet says he’s a likely candidate for feline diabetes…something we’re really not in the mood for….He must be still trying to figure things out “out there” as cats hate water. 

A few nights ago he wouldn’t come in when we called for him.  We were headed off to bed–no Boots in sight.  We shook our heads, turned off the lights, locked the doors and crawled under the covers (we figured he’d learn a good lesson–having to stay out all night, and all). 

Shortly thereafter I heard this horrible cry outside our bedroom window.  It almost sounded like a young child, but then again it didn’t sound quite that human.  Since we live in a well populated neighborhood, pretty far from the “wild”, animal sounds tend to be limited to various bird calls and barking dogs.  This didn’t sound like a bird and certainly not like a dog.  All I could think was that Boots was in some kind of terrible trouble.  So, I grabbed a flashlight, slipped on a pair of sandals and headed out into the dark, toward the direction of the sound.

I found him easily enough as he was crouching in open darkness beneath our bedroom window (since my reading light was still on, I suppose he gravitated toward the window where he knew someone was still awake).  He seemed unharmed and ready for rescue.  I shined the flashlight at him and tried to move in.  He looked into that light, spooked and ran off a bit.  I moved toward him again, softly calling “Boots”, trying to coax him my way.  He looked at me, but then ran up the hill to the front of the house.  So, off I lumbered up the hill in my pajamas and Dr Scholls (not good chasing sandals, if you’ve ever wondered).  I found him on the outer edge of the shrubs in front of our home.  Thinking that maybe the flashlight’s beam was scaring him, I shined it on my face so he could see that it was me (although he was hearing my voice, not sure who else he could have thought it was).  This was not good, it scared him off again–maybe the old flashlight under the chin trick, used primarily during the telling of ghost stories, was a bad idea…

I decided to turn the flashlight beam away so that he would be in its periphery, so that I could still see him without blasting him with light–which, as I reflected a few seconds later, meant the beam was pointing toward the neighbor’s house (which is only a few yards away).  I quickly reoriented my beam…I didn’t want the neighbors thinking I was casing their home or out to wake their kids. 

My softly calling “Boots” was becoming less soft.  As I weaved in and out of the bushes on my haunches chasing him, I started to get a bit impatient.  I’d done everything I could think of to coax him my way, to reassure him that it was me, that I was safe and here to help him.  He did call for help, afterall…why wouldn’t he let me grab him?

After chasing him back down the hill past the “cry for help” bedroom window (again, Dr Scholls not recommended) toward the back door,  he stopped.  Facing away from me he crouched down and let me scoop him up.  Completely compliant now, he allowed me to cradle him in my arms into the house.

I have reflected on this, prayed about this Boots episode.  Is God trying to tell me something in this?  Is God using Boots to teach me a lesson? 

In our family’s present dark time of being essentially income-less and unemployed, like Boots I’ve been crying out for help.  Sitting in the dark, unable to see Him yet aware that He’s around (for I see His glow shining through others) I’ve been seeking His guidance and help.  I must admit that there have been some blinding Beams in all of this, ones that have given me great hope yet I’ve darted off, backing into shrubs of “making it happen myself”, not sure I can trust the One bearing the Light.   As our finances crash I’ve flirted heavily with: do I just go get a job and create some income?  Maybe I can appease God by finding a paid position where I’m helping others (practically doing ministry work).  Of course, God has not let those efforts flourish into something tangible–quite the opposite really.  It is as if every time I skirt Him by thinking I hear Him saying what I want to hear, I move further away from the Light–I become a dweller of shadows. 

Fear has reared its ugly head and I’ve been weaving in and out of shrouded places.  Like Boots at the end of his night escapade, I need to make sure I’m heading Home (am repentant) and stop and let myself be scooped up and taken Home.  God knows where I belong, He knows how to get me there.  Can I let the great Light of the world shine on me, swoop in and lead me into His tomorrow? Can I follow?  Can I rest compliantly in His arms and trust that He’ll speak so that I can hear when He wants me to move here or there?  Am I willing to let this time of crisis be purifying to my soul?  Am I willing to become detached from all that is not Him in this dark night of the soul? 

Oh God, have your way with me.  Please help me learn your great lessons, help me to trust your Light and allow myself to be captured by You.  I desire You and beg Your Mercy in our present crisis.  You alone know the way through this, You alone know the lessons I need to learn, You alone are my Savior.  Save me, show me, teach me and grow me.  May this all be for Your glory, holy One…may it all be for Your glory.

(Contemplative prayer update: on and off again, I’ve been.  Maybe this blog reveals why…trust is tough right now.)

(Photo taken by Ben Scicluna; found on Flickr:  Creative commons license–permission to publish)


5 thoughts on “Crouching in Darkness

  1. This is a wonderful analogy. I whole-heartedly agree with how difficult it is to give up that control and let God lead us, carry us, and comfort us.


  2. I must have been guided to your site by God. I have been going through the struggle of my life unemployed, dealing with the mortgage company to try and save my home, flat broke, zero income. Striving to make things happen in my own strength and finding it just spins my wheels and frustrates me. I don’t believe it’s Gods will for me to be homeless, unemployed and broke. After a while you think what is wrong with me? But I have found I’m not the only one who can’t find a job. I have never been in a situation to where I felt like I might perish if God doesn’t help me until now. I struggle to hold on to hope, trust, faith and His promises. I’ve searched my heart for things that might be keeping me held in this trial, test, affliction, judgment. Trusting is hard when you are at wits end and no door, no window, no favor, no help day after day month after month year after year. I know there are things God may be trying to work out of me. But after a while you think is this what I deserve. Scriptures hit you like: You reap what you sow, You prosper as your soul prospers; they make me think am I so horrible in God’s eyes that my natural circumstances reflect the state of my spirit? I’ll never be humble enough, good enough, righteous enough for God to Bless me and help me.

    I have 2 cats and they are such a sweet blessing. I often look at them and think how carefree they are. How trusting that I will be there to feed them, love them, take care of them. I think that is what God wants from us too. It’s difficult not to fear about tomorrow, worry about finances. It’s difficult not to get mad at God for torturing me so. I wonder will He allow for me to lose my home, everything I have? I wonder if He will allow for my precious cats to be separated from me? I seek and knock, pray, repent, everything I know to do. He seems so far away sometimes. Where is the comforter, where is the teacher, where is the strength in my weakness, where is the peace, where is the guidance and direction?

    I have learned to live one day at a time. To be thankful for things like food, the lights, the phone, the water is on and it is a good day the Lord has made. Like manna there is provision for today. I have stopped trying so hard in my own strength. I tell Him to really make it clear what He wants me to do because sometimes I don’t recognize His still small voice. All I can do is take the next step that is front of me. I don’t get the “God told me” like some people do. I have to ride with His providence and pray for mercy and grace. Pray for His mercy’s sake, His name sake to help me, to make a way where there is no way.

    In all of this I want God to be glorified in my situation. I need a miracle at this point and I need Him to rescue me. I know it’s been a couple of years since you posted this but I hope the Lord has blessed you with His Best.


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