I have another blog, God,Autism and Me where I posted months ago about how a stray cat we named “Lucky” made quite an imprint on our lives. “Mr. Lucky” has been with us ten years this month and was not at all impressed when another cat recently made her way to our front door.
“Greystone,” as my oldest son calls her, appeared roughly a year ago. She didn’t start off as a permanent fixture, but rather dropped by occasionally at her leisure.
I wasn’t going to fall for it again. I don’t even like cats. I remind our one cat in residence of that fact constantly.
Well “Grey” had kittens. I noticed her in the neighbor’s yard across the street over a month ago. She was lounging in the driveway with four kittens romping about happily.
Then I didn’t see them again for nearly a month. I figured maybe someone took them in and they had been adopted. Later, I worried that something happened to them. Guiltily, I put food out “just in case” they were homeless. Sometimes the food was eaten, other times it remained. I wasn’t quite sure what was eating the cat chow I’d put out but I finally caught her in the act of eating. But there were no kittens in sight.
Today I saw Greystone and she wasn’t looking so hot. She now has only two kittens with her. She is definitely malnourished even though I suspect I’m not the only person in the neighborhood trying to help her out. I’ve tried to coax her closer on other occasions and she has maintained her distance until today. She came up to me, purred, rubbed and contemplated actually coming inside the house until…Lucky hissed at her!
Greystone took off running!
I could have slapped that Lucky cat!
Now before all of you animal lovers come a calling I did not. I did, however, pick him up and give him a good talking to about his inhospitable actions! I have absolutely no doubt he understood every word I said. His behavior made me think about how we humans behave with our “selective amnesia”.
You see, Lucky appeared on my steps years ago one October just like moma cat. The very steps he chased Grey down today are the very same steps he crawled up one morning desperate for food. Lucky was once cold, hungry and lost just like her. Now, years later, Lucky is warm, comfortable and considerably overweight due to his life of luxury. You would think he would want moma cat to come inside too.
Just like my cat, many people, “religious folks” especially, tend to forget that they were once shut out, downtrodden, dirty and homeless in some form or another once the years distance them from their prior circumstances. Some people may not have been physically homeless or broken in body, however, the mind, soul and spirit were once just as battered! Often when a person finally get’s his or her life “somewhat together,” instead of showing people the same door where they found grace, there is instead presented gossip, rejection and disdain. Unfortunately, many people tend to reject others with the very same traits once found in themselves.
Sometimes when we are comfortable in our accomplishments and are no longer in the state we once were, our comfort turns into condescension. Some people having attained a certain level of accomplishment, success, or recognition (especially in religious circles) tend to forget what it feels like to be where they once where. Their hearts become hardened as their memories and the pain once suffered fade away.
Where there should be an open door to welcome the “unchurched,” the less fortunate and people who really could use an encouraging word, there is often a closed door that reads, “do not disturb,” “I made it so why can’t you,” or “I’m too busy right now.”
This isn’t the case for everyone, but it is a reality for far too many.
Time can surely dim our memories but we shouldn’t allow it to harden our hearts. We are to encourage one another which means that we should actually do something in the circumstances where we can made a difference.
“Thus also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead,” James 2: 17 NKJV.
Those of us who say we should “keep the faith” need to actively “keep it” by actually doing those things or works that make a difference! Opening the figurative doors of grace and mercy, showing empathy for others who are now where you were, and allowing your battle scars to teach you compassion is one way to do that.
I will continue to keep an eye out for Moma Grey and her kittens and attempt to get them to the vet… as soon as I can catch them!
But in the meantime, I will allow this afternoon’s adventures to remind me to keep an open door to my heart and the memories of my trials and failures always near. May I always remember that I am blessed by God’s grace and mercy. He took ME in!
Prayerfully, I will do this, less I become as guilty as the cat!
“Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain mercy,” Matthew 5:7 NKJV