Looking Through the Window
Over time, Gato became a legend among our family, friends and co-workers. Barbara’s sister came out to see us and brought a blanket she made for Gato. While she was with us she also bought a little cat pillow for him to sleep on and she put the blanket on that. Gato ignored it.
When Barbara had the ladies over to our house for a women’s study on Sunday nights, Gato would often sit on the porch and look inside. The former owners of our house were amazed that we could now pet him, and we even took pictures of him with and included those pictures in cards we sent to our family. We got used to having Gato around worried about him when he showed up with a chunk of hair missing from his scalp or a bloody spot on his leg, which happened frequently.
Now I just I keep looking out the window, but he is no longer there. Multiple times a day I walk to the window that looks out onto our front porch, hoping once more to see that familiar face patiently waiting for me to come out. But Gato is no longer there.
Judges 5:28 says, “From the window Sisera’s mother looked out. Through the window she watched for his return, saying, ‘Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why don’t we hear the sound of chariot wheels?’” Sisera was never going to return home because he was killed in battle by a woman, but his mother didn’t know that yet. She just kept looking out the window. And looking.
Random Lesson #3 – How much prayer and energy have I put in waiting for people to return to God or the church? Or me? What is it about a stray cat that has left me with a larger empty space in my day than some of the people I no longer see? I asked this before but the question still haunts me, “Is my heart that big and that small at the same time?” Yes, it appears to be. Like most people who are honest with themselves, I find I’m both better and worse than I imagined. I’m kinder than I thought I would be to a creature that could do nothing for me. All the joy and sense of accomplishment with Gato was of my own making – He was just the catalyst who received nothing in return except a full belly. He didn’t even want a place to sleep.
At the same time, I’m colder to people who treat me no differently than Gato did. I’ve encouraged them, invited them to join us in our journey with God and asked them to participate in our life together as a church, only to have them disappear one day without a trace and without a word. I don’t look for their return and give them less thought than I do a feral cat.
And I certainly don’t write an article about them.
Finally, I can only wonder how many times I have I left God waiting at the window for my return. He created me, fed me, nurtured me and provided me with everything I need to live a great life. Still, I’ve run off and done my own thing, taking my own sweet time in coming home.
I’ve often planned my future without consulting Him, leaving Him alone as I orchestrate my life without His input. I’ve ignored His teaching and traded God’s love for Jim’s selfishness when people no longer agreed with me or hurt my feelings. In a hundred different ways I’ve replaced the perfect love of Jesus with the selfish agenda of Jim, only to hurt people and leave God alone at the window. And then I realized that is it me who is really alone. God is safe and comfortable and waiting for my return.
It’s been two weeks since we’ve seen Gato. We haven’t removed his bowl from the porch, even though the food is gone and the water is mostly dried up. His little bed and blanket is still in the corner, but the only thing using it are a couple of stray leaves.
After all Barbara and I have been through with Gato over the past year, we have no plans to get another cat. It was never our intention to have a cat, or more accurately, to allow a cat have us. The whole thing just fell into our lives, so we made room for one particular cat who taught us some lessons we’ll never forget.
In many different ways Gato was a victory for us – a victory of patience, of trust, of the joy of making a little difference in the life of a cat who, without knowing it, made a bigger difference in us.
I wonder how long I’ll keep looking out that window.