This is Spoon.
Spoon is a spaz.
He is the definition of a scaredy cat. He jumps high and begins running in midair at any noise or movement.
We rescued Spoon and his brother last year as kittens and gave them to our daughters. His brother’s tail was broken and Spoon showed signs of trauma – he wasn’t ill but acted as if he’d been abused.
They were initially terrified of our exceedingly friendly nine-year-old black lab, but brother figured out pretty quickly that he posed no threat – Spoon was afraid for much longer.
It became clear early on that Spoon has eyes for no one but his adoptive mama. He sleeps with her, cuddles with her, hides under her bed, and generally wanted nothing to do with any of the rest of us. She was the only one who could hold him without his plaintive cries piercing the air, he never hissed at her, only she could reach out and pet him without him jumping and running away. He comes when she calls while studiously ignoring the rest of us.
Over the past year, however, Spoon began to branch out. First, he allowed my other daughter the pleasure of his company as he walked over her to reach her open window. Then he moved over to my son’s room and frequently enjoys a luxurious rest stretch and nap on his large bed. My husband and I kept trying though. I’d give him a quick scratch as he monitored my descent downstairs from the landing, I’d sneak in a little rub as he scooted past me here and there, and he even began tolerating a short lift as I brought him to his food.
Then we had company. Our house guests had a little girl and she terrorized the poor cats with her desire to love them. After day one, Spoon was now sleeping on my husbands folded clothes, tucked in a hidden corner shelf in our room or hid under our bed. Ours was the only room off limits and so it became Spoon’s safe haven. Soon, we were finding him fast asleep on our bed by himself or near his brother who was also taking refuge in our room. He was still skittery, but not as much.
As the weather warmed, we applied flea and tick repellant, bright reflective collars, and took the boys outside with the dog. Immediately, brother was in heaven running in the yard, climbing the tree and trying to escape to explore, but Spoon just lay in the grass. Soon, brother was chasing Spoon up the tree, around in circles, and Spoon finally began to enjoy himself. He jumped for fireflies, and dandelion wisps floating in the air, moths, and butterflies.
Each sunny day we brought them out to play for a while until they went out of bounds and we had to catch them and bring them back inside. Right from the start, we noticed a change. Spoon suddenly recognized that we were safe. His time “in the wild” gave him an appreciation for how we cared for and protected him. Now, when he observes me walking up or down the stairs, he doesn’t tense up – he rolls over on his bag and lets me rub his tummy. He allows us to hold him and pet him – if only for a short while. He rubs up against us and, instead of jetting out of the way when we reach to touch, he waits patiently until he’s had his fill of our affection and mosies along.
Certainly, we didn’t. We’d been the same from the start. The change was in Spoon’s understanding of who we are. His exposure to “danger” and freedom, allowed him to appreciate the safety and comfort he had in our home. He learned to Trust.
Teens are sometimes like skittish cats too. They so often run from the ones who care the most for them. It’s not usually until they get a little perspective about the world that they realize the safety and security they have at home. Many times, the advice and guidance they reluctantly followed – or not – isn’t appreciated until the consequences of not following said advice becomes clear.
I suppose our relationship with God is very much the same. He is the same yesterday today and forever (Heb 13:8) – it is only we who change. What does it take us to trust? Why is it so hard to be vulnerable when He shows us who He is every day?
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
But I trust in your unfailing love;
my heart rejoices in your salvation.