Reubon was an orange-yellowish wild cat who wandered on our deck one day. We've had an outside cat, Emily, for the past four years or so. She's mostly white with some splotches of grey, very fat, and very loving. She's an outdoor cat, and prefers it that way. Reubon, in contrast, arrived on the deck skiddish and skinny. I don't know why, but I liked him from the start. I have always liked cats who liked me, but if a cat hisses I instantly want them gone.
This wasn't the case with Reubon. I'd come out on the deck and gently talk to him. He at first would just hiss and run off. There was something about his hiss though. It wasn't a "Don't mess with me" hiss. It was more "I'm scared and don't know what to do" hiss.
Gradually Reubon warmed up to me, mainly because I was the dude bringing the chow. Over the course of weeks he got to where he would let me pet him, but only while he ate. If I ever came on the deck with no food in the cup, he was off and running down the steps, down the hill of our yard, and into the woods.
Why did I like him so, and why was my heart saddened so much yesterday when I saw his poor little body laying on the road above our house? I mean, he never let me hold him. He still hissed at me if I came towards him too quickly. Why am I still so somber and missing the furry little fella?
Maybe it's because he reminds me of myself.
I find myself, while outwardly appearing to be warm and friendly and outgoing, inwardly am something completely different. I fear too much intimacy, too much touching of souls. In my life, I have been wounded, betrayed, saddened by loss of friends, babies, and my Mom. It hurts too much it seems to get close with others. So I retreat deeper into myself putting up walls of friendly banter.
Reubon loved to have his head scratched while eating. Eventually, he purred as soon as I came out on the deck with food and fingers ready to scratch. It took time, but we formed a warm, though guarded, friendship.
I'm thankful I have a Savior who is patient with me and my wounded soul. He doesn't barge into my life with demands for instant perfection and reformation. He instead gently guides me to green pastures of rest, quietly leading me beside still waters of hope, and introducing transformation to my heart by His quiet commitment.
In seeing myself as Reubon, it somehow comforts me to know the Good Shepherd allowed this goofy cat into my life for such a short span. As Malcolm Muggeridge said, "All events in life are a lesson from God. It's up to us to get it."
I think I'm starting to get it.
(The picture above is not Reubon, by the way. He would never stay still long enough to get a picture of him.)