Sunday, September 20, 2009

Kitty Cat stories...

"But You, O Sovereign LORD, deal well with me for Your name’s sake; out of the goodness of Your love, deliver me. For I am poor and needy and my heart is wounded within me." Psalm 109:21,22

When I was very little, whenever my dad would take me to NYC for the day, we would stop at my Poppy's guard house on the rail road tracks. My mom's dad was a Gibson Guard and worked in this little guard house in between the North and South bound tracks. It looked like the Photo Mat booths that would become popular years later. Poppy would sit at his desk and read the paper and I guess he would call the cops if he saw something...Poppy was a stick of a man who I can't imagine stopping a criminal for anything. I am not even sure he had a gun, but maybe he did. On one visit, as Dad and Poppy chatted about the Yankee's, I got to play with a box of kittens. One of the stray cats had a litter under the guard house and Poppy took them in. There were six of them and I was in love. One train after another left the station as I played and played with them. After several hours, Dad said it was time to go. I was not allowed to bring one home, as Mom would never allow it. Poppy wasn't allowed to bring one home either...Granny would kill him! Covered in lots of scratches from the playful kittens, Dad and I said good-bye to Poppy and headed home. We never made it down to the city that day, but it remains one of my happiest memories of my Dad and Poppy.

When I was in third grade I had my life altering encounter with cats. It was a cold Saturday in February and I put on my snorkeler jacket and went outside to play in the gray mist surrounding Yonkers that day. When I got to the tip of the driveway I heard something in the old steal garbage can. The can was shaking and I heard crying. When I looked in the can, I saw three of the most beautiful kittens I had ever seen. They were pure white with blue eyes. I can honestly say I have never seen more beautiful cats. I scooped them out of the garbage and ran to tell my mom! Yes, they were beautiful, and no, you can not bring them in, I was told.
I sat outside in the drizzling rain with the kittens for what seemed like forever. Eventually, I got a great idea: I put them inside my coat and took them up to my room. I sat on the bed with them and in just a little while realized Mom would kill me when I got caught. I wrapped them back up in my coat and snuck back outside, with out being caught.
It eventually became a neighborhood event and many of kids came and loved on the kittens. None of their parents would let them keep the kittens either. The entire day was spent trying to figure out who would leave them in our garbage can and what we would do with them. One of the moms got us a box and she and her girls brought them down to the local supermarket called Barca Brothers. In a matter of an hour, someone took them all home.
That day was the end of my love affair with cats.
Nice sad story right? Who cares? Right? Get over it right?
Ah, but our God has a promise kept for every broken childhood dream.
Stick with me here, it is about to get good.
In the spring of 2005, I got my first kitten. Now I married a man who came with two cats but they were never really mine. This was my kitten. Of course I let my daughter Elizabeth name him and so he was dubbed Fluffy! Fluffy the black cat. He was all mine.
I would bury my dad that fall and we would move to a larger house soon after that. Our new home is near a busy road, and at some point, Fluffy became an outdoor cat.
In the spring of 2006, we were waiting on word about my Mother-in-Law. She had Alzheimer's and was not doing well. On Easter Sunday, still missing my dad terribly, we got ready to go to church. The phone didn't ring with any news, so we packed into the car and were on our way.
As we turned onto the main road there it was. Fluffy, now a part of the pavement. I promptly began to cry as did our girls. John and Jack (who was only 5 at the time) were our pillars of strength. John pulled the car over and scrapped the cat off of the road, wrapped in a piece of garbage bag he found and put Fluff in the back of the car.
We drove home and John put him on the retaining wall and asked what I wanted to do now. I told him we should go celebrate the Resurrection, because that is what we do when our hearts are broken...praise Him anyway.
Our pastors prayed with us, we cried the entire service and received hugs from friends over the lose of our cat. I quietly prayed: "This is crazy! But how? You know how important that cat was to me. I don't understand. Why now, in the middle of grieving over Dad and waiting to hear about John's mom! You knew...You knew...I just don't understand."

We drove home, knowing there would be no egg hunt, but rather a burial for a beloved cat...

We pulled into our driveway and as we got out of the car, I caught Elizabeth's eye...she looked like she had seen a ghost! I followed her gaze and what did I see...FLUFFY! Ack! A cat Resurrection or pet cemetery, one or the other! John quickly ran to the garbage bag he had wrapped the cat in and discovered there was still a very dead cat there! Yes, we had scrapped the wrong cat off of the road. Of course we all broke into song: "The cat came back, we thought he was a goner, the cat came back, the very next day..."

In the middle of our grief God allowed a respite of laughter that has become not just family legend, but neighborhood lore!

About a year ago we got another new kitten and his name is Mittens. He is our daughter Brennan's cat. She adores him and he follows her everywhere.
Recently, when Mittens peed on the carpet (again) in the living room, I decided it was time he became an outdoor cat. John and I put him outside and Brennan quickly followed. She sat outside in the drizzle and cried over her cat. We knew, if we didn't bring them both back in, we would lose Brennan's heart.
John cleaned out the cat kennel and we decided that at night, he had to sleep in there. John tried to place Mittens in the kennel...by the time Mittens was done with John, my darling husband looked like something out of a cartoon: Think Sylvester the Cat ripping the plumber to shreds. John's shirt was slashed with big holes, he had claw marks on his neck and chest and back.

Brennan brought her daddy Band-Aids and a clean shirt. When we were done cleaning up the daddy, we tucked Brennan in for the night, with her cat, in the kennel, at the base of her bed.
John became her hero that night.

I got to watch the promise kept. Where my folks were not able to do something for me, our God allowed me to witness, all these years later, in my husband to our child. He never forgets a wounded heart and seeks to repair all of our hurts...even the ones we think are silly.

This was an awfully long post about cats for someone who is NOT an animal person! LOL! I hope it made you giggle and blesses you today.

How about you?
Are there things in your heart that you think are silly to be hurt over? Do feel ridiculous to share them with your Heavenly Father? Do you know he wants to tend to all of you? How has He delivered you from brokeness?

Let's pray:
Father in the name of Jesus, we pray: Thank You for memories that seem silly at first. Thank You for promises kept. You alone can heal our inner most hurts, even the ones we don't know are there. You are our Abba...You never leave us to our own resources. You provide us with all we need. You make us giggle in times that our hearts are overwhelmed and lift us out of our pits. You are the creator of all, and we thank You for the pleasure Your creatures bring us. In Your name we pray. Amen.

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