(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: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ben-sci/2740789271/. Creative commons license–permission to publish)