Summer days – some cool, some hot, some rainy, some with fun, and then one with tears. Daily duties and ministry travel have filled our days, and sprinkled in the midst have been some just plain fun family times. Yet, as with the normal ebb and flow of life, one family fun night came to a screeching hault as we pulled through the darkness into our driveway. Our headlights immediately picked up the bright white of our cat, Cheerio laying on his side in the meadow. Frequently, we are met on our return home, at some half-way point of our long drive, by our two furry friends, Porkchop
and Cheerio. These uniquely named barn cats were found by a friend and brought to us in hopes they would help a certain “mice in the engine” problem our vehicles were experiencing. Skittish and not of the friendly sort, we had low hopes of the duos performance, yet after much pampering and coaxing, we became fast friends and Cheerio and Porkchop proved to be earning their keep quite well. Cheerio, who seemed to be the older of the two brothers and a sufferer of arthritis of some sort, remained aloof at times, but when given his space, he would often come around for some attention, especially from Daddy, whom he liked to be a lap-cat. Mice, snakes, and even some rabbits were not a match for the brothers and the birds stayed on the look-out too. But small rodents are not all that our property offers. Deer, fox, coyote, coons, and black bear venture in sight regularly, so the cats have learned to high-tail it up to the barn roof, house roof, or some other safe place, albeit, Porkchop was much more adept at finding a quick, safe spot. On this night, Cheerio
had ventured a little farther from those safe places and apparently found himself ambushed by some such predator. Upon Daddy’s quick inspection, no blood was spotted, so we prepared a box to transport him back to the house; however, we discovered the injury as we moved him into the box. Several deep gashes were visible in clear light. AbiNoelle was so upset! We tended to Cheerio, yet within a short time, he was gone. Tears and sadness for our pet were real. At 2am, we were out back burying our friend. AbiNoelle wanted promises that we would give him a “proper burial” and not just “flush him down the toilet or something.” Daddy and AbiNoelle crafted a little cross to mark the spot, said a few words about Cheerio, and thanked God for his companionship and hard work. If only he had not strayed away from his safe spot! What a lesson to be learned! The Lord gives us the safety of His Word, His Laws, His Family to protect us against the predators of this world, yet, many times, in our strong-willed, arrogant, fleshly nature we run free of that safe place only to find ourselves in the snare of predators. The safe place is not meant to be a prison wall of rules, but a happy, secure place of content. But as the saying goes, “Don’t fence me in!” You can’t fence in a cat, and even some Christians just won’t be “fenced in,” as they view it. In our family, we are thankful for the safety and protection given by God, and even in the midst of loss, we can reflect upon the Creator’s love and care for each of His creations and the lessons that abound each day in our life.