It was cold here the other night; thankfully, not as bitter cold as it had been the night before or the night after. In the small window of survival opportunity, my cat slipped out.
No-one saw him leave. In fact, each person thought he was sleeping in someone else’s bed that night. Onyx is everybody’s cat after all – not at all like Spoon who spends 99% of his time with Munchkin and only occasionally allows the rest of us to pet him.
But, Onyx is an adventurer. This time, however, he was a little too stealthy for his own good.
There are outside cats in the neighborhood. And raccoons. And enormous river rats. And deer. And a variety of other animals with which to pass the time, fight, or of which to be terrified.
During the night my husband heard a commotion – a terrible fight right outside our window. Thank God our cats are safe inside, he thought. There seemed to be a lot of cat activity – replete with cat cries and calls. At about 4:45 in the morning, the cries became so plaintive, so intense right outside the door that they woke him up and he checked to see what was happening.
He opened the door and a terrified, shivering, Onyx burst through the screen and into our room. He jumped on the bed into my arms as I hurriedly tried to cover him with the blanket.
He didn’t stay long. His ears back – his eyes completely dilated – he was off to find his brother. Spoon hissed. Spoon hissed like I had never heard him hiss before. It took three full days for Spoon to stop hissing and to come near his brother again. The fear was contagious. Onyx remained calm, but Spoon – well, let’s just say I will have some deep reminders of the ordeal. Spoon is usually the calm one.
I washed them both – just in case there was some other animal smell intensifying the disconnect.
I won’t discuss how upset we were that he was gone. We instituted a new rule – the owner of each cat does not go to bed without making sure he is home. There is no more trusting that he is with another – we can not take that chance again.
Four days later, things are back to “normal,” but Spoon, whose paws have always stayed velveted has found his claws, and Onyx, who used his claws to show his affection has now velveted him. Spoon is less tolerant and Onyx is a complete mushball. Countless times each day he comes to me, mews, then stretches up his front paws to me so that I may pick him up, pet him, reassure him, cuddle him, and set him down again. He was always the more affectionate one, but now he seems almost needy or, at very least, very appreciative of the love and warmth of our home.
All of this made me think about teenagers, would college change them? Would they gain a deeper appreciation of all they had been blessed with once they no longer had it?
And, what about us, the children of God? Do we need to lose His grace to truly appreciate all he provides? Is that why adult converts seem to have such intense faith – they’ve been out in the cold and appreciate the shelter? Shouldn’t we always live like Onyx does now – knowing the world is rough and seeking the comfort and safety of our home with Him.
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe,
Psalm 28:7 The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.