Walking by Faith Alone

Archive for March 7th, 2011

The Grey Cat at My Window

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A grey cat came into our lives 4 years ago, independent and alone. Even after all the time she’s been with us, she refuses the affection we offer. Although I’ve tried, she rejects my open  acts of love which I extend to her daily. She tolerates my other cats as long as they eat from their own bowl not hers,  if they do not glance in her direction, or sleep in her bed. Life for my grey cat is on her terms, and her terms only. 

In the mornings she waits for me at  my kitchen window to  follow my footsteps as I feed the other animals – including her of course. Like a dog she is at my heels when I retrieve the mail at the end of the driveway or take the trash for collection,  and when our car pulls into the garage, she runs to greet us. Woe be unto any of us if we should kneel to pet her – we each claim a few scratches for such acts.

Smokey, as we call her, makes trips to the vet a glimpse of Armageddon. The kids and I have to start at least an hour in advance to entice her into the carrier and the noise she makes, one would think we were torturing her. Our vet gears up as if administering aide to a lion and affectionately calls her “the shark.”

But of  my cats, she is my favorite. There is a sweetness about her I cannot explain only to say it is there. I love to watch her wait under the bird feeder or balance on the porch railing in hopes of catching a squirrel off-guard.  She refuses to come in the house even during the cold spells.  I forced her in once which resulted in a pure panic attack, requiring me to set her free. She spends most of her day, perched in the window, watching us from the outside. 

Romans 8:38 “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Several years ago I worked with a group of people administering aide to children who live on the streets. A grueling life for these teenagers, most spend their nights working in prostitution or selling drugs as the ‘grunts’ for middle men, and their days underground trying to find a dry spot to sleep. If the night brings enough money to pay-off the pimps who control them, they like to jump on the freight train and ride across the countryside. One young man who once lived that life told me, “It is a momentary escape from hell.”

I was asked to help a girl around 15 who was sick from infections caused by cigar burns on her legs. My job was to clean her wounds and apply an antibiotic ointment – nothing too difficult – and yet when I saw that she was bruised from her knees to her hips, my heart was torn in half. She looked at me inquisitively. “They told me you were from the States,” she stated without emotion, “but you look Russian.”

I smiled at her, suddenly very embarrassed by my nice  clothing and showered appearance.  Before I ventured out with this group, I believed I understood the plight of these people but at that moment, I struggled understanding just where God’s love played a part in this young girl’s life.  The flash light I had asked her to hold for me caught the reflection of the cross that dangled around my neck. Against the underground cemented walls, it seemed larger than life. Her fingers reached up to stop the gold cross from swinging and she looked away. “How long before I can return to work?” she asked taking a deep draw on something I was told resembles glue.

“You know there is a place for you at the mission’s house. You’d be able to go to school and you’d be protected,” I began slowly, knowing my friends had tried for sometime to bring her in.

She gathered up her things and without another word, moved back to the cemented “cubbie” she called home. My interpretor helped me gather up my supplies. “She’s a tough one,” he whispered.

“…neither death nor life… neither height nor depth…”

Before we left I removed the chain and cross from my neck, a gift from a special friend when I graduated from high school, and took it to her. For what seemed minutes, she pondered whether to take the offering I extended to her, before quickly grabbing it from my hand and shoving it in her bag.

“…neither the present nor the future, nor any powers…”

No thing. No lifestyle. No hardship. No struggle. No sickness. No drug. No sin. No stubborness.

The leader of the group prayed for the teenagers and then offered his home, as he does each time he leaves, for them to come and be a part.  “We wait for you to join us.”

“…not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God.”

My son asked me recently if I considered Smokey a part of our family. “Yes, I do,” I responded, “but we are waiting for her to join us.”

Written by Nora Hatchett Almazan

March 7, 2011 at 2:49 pm