Friday, 3 May 2013

A funny thing happened

Our cats kill birds.

Last year they had two wrens, this year already a blackcap.

We hate this. 

After the blackcap, I thought we should take the advice often proffered by others, and put collars with bells on them.  A delegation accordingly went forth and selected suitable collars – ones that would break under sudden pressure so they couldn’t accidentally hang themselves in a tree.  The people they like best put them on.  And all hell broke loose.

I’d expected they wouldn’t like them at first, but not this.  Convinced they were being pursued by alien beings impossible to shake off, they rushed wildly round the house like mad things.  Edwin (yes, I know – well he’s a cat with Presence) took off down the garden and off into the woodland beyond, and Miguel charged upstairs and pooed himself under Alice’s bed.

Alice picked him up and cleaned him off, soothed him and petted him.  Edwin returned and charged madly up into Hebe’s room, which they regard as their Final Sanctuary.  We had thought we ought to persevere for a while, give them a chance to get used to the things; but seeing how terribly distressed he was, they took the collar off.

Meanwhile Miguel had taken off like a rocket over the garden wall and off into the woods.  But he didn’t come back.

We searched and we called, after two nights went by we notified PetLog Lost and Found online, we notified the vet and the neighbours.  A delegation went down to where the woods extend, calling and calling.  Edwin kept vigil in the garden.  The birds (who don’t care much about Edwin because he’s black and white and they can see him; Miguel is black and an incomparable hunter) had a field day, flying everywhere, swinging on the creepers and perching on the fences, enjoying the seed-feeders.

Another night went by.  A pall of heaviness, a miasmic mist of sorrow and sadness descended over and right into the household.   Lost.  Injured?  Trapped?  Hurt?  Frightened?  Attacked?  The household grieved.

Of course, we also prayed.  Prayed and prayed and prayed.  Each in her own way.

And a funny thing happened.

My friend Pearl is a very spiritual woman.  She lives in the thin place between earth and heaven, and in her every waking and sleeping moment she is alert to each movement of the Spirit, the quietest whisper of the divine.  And though she had already not long ago kindly given me two notebooks, the last time I saw her she gave me another one, with watercolours on it by her gifted friend Wendy Yeo, which I liked so much I made it into my intercessions book, being both beautiful and the perfect size.  You are all in it.  Yes, you.  If you are reading this, you are in it and I pray for you most days.

And yesterday morning as usual, in my prayers, regarding the day and its tasks I prayed for what the day held.  For the world and its needs I asked for the things the world needs most – reverence for God and love for the Earth, kindness and humility, simplicity, integrity in government; and, especially in these present days, hope.  For the Church and her life I prayed that she might live the Gospel she preaches, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Then, before the closing prayers, as always I picked up my little intercessions book and prayed through the list.   I added Miguel’s and Edwin’s names to the list, thinking that I had been remiss in not doing this long ago; they are, after all, members of our household.  And I prayed and prayed and prayed for Miguel.  I beseeched the Lord, who knows when even a sparrow falls, to watch over him, wherever he was.  I asked Him to see him safely home.  The Lord thought maybe Heaven was his home like everybody, but I insisted that here on Earth our house was his home, and he should come back here, the place of refuge God had given him, little rescue cat, on Earth.

After some time of bending the Lord’s ear, it was time to get on with the day, so I finished off the closing prayers.  But before I packed up, the Lord suggested I look properly at my intercessions notebook.  He pointed out to me the picture on it, which I have got so used to seeing I no longer see it at all – I just see an intercessions book not a picture, now.

This is the picture on the front.

And this is the picture on the back.

Let me remind you.

Miguel, a little black cat with yellow-green eyes, lost in the wood.  Wearing his collar we had put on to keep the birds in the garden safe.  Petitioning on his account the Lord whose eye is on the sparrow.

And I knew then that the Lord had heard.  Further, I knew that He knew about this moment from all time.  Pearl does whatever she does at the prompting of the Spirit, and He prompted her to give me that book, and He knew back then that the day would come when I would definitely need an answer to this urgent prayer – not a particular outcome, but the knowledge that He had heard, that He knew and He cared.

And then there was something else.  The other members of the household all agreed, from their various prayings and sendings, that they felt Miguel was still alive, and that he would return.  All of us women in this house are by nature cautious and realistic to the border of pessimism, but when they searched within themselves, they honestly thought he would return.  No one knew what Edwin thought, but he kept vigil, and never went away on his usual walkabouts.   And what I thought was, if the Lord actually wanted this incident visibly attached to my intercessions book, perhaps He had in mind some future incident, in life not yet unfolded, when I would look at the intercessions book and be reminded, ‘Remember that?  He answered that one, didn’t He?’

So we waited.  But another night and another morning came, and we were all in our various burrows doing our morning things when SUDDENLY there came this thundering of feet and jangling of a bell, up the stairs and into Hebe’s bedroom, the refuge of cats that need safety and peace, under her bed into the box where the fluffy slippers are. 

He had paint on his whiskers, and was ravenously hungry, and obviously traumatised, still afraid.

But he came home, and he’s all right now.  And this morning Edwin has felt free to go on his usual walkabouts.

I sing because I’m happy
I sing because I’m free
His eye is on the sparrow
And I know He’s watching me.

Thank you, my Lord, for going with him, and for bringing him safe home.  

But it’s not about outcomes.  There are those whose prayers watch over their sons who are soldiers in Afghanistan, their daughters with drug habits who left home long ago and roam midnight streets, lost and vulnerable.   The picture on my intercessions book tells me, He knows, already, and He goes with them where we cannot follow.   The picture on my intercessions book is not to remind me that everything we pray for will come out right - you know this yourself, that praying is not a quick fix, that's not how it works.  It's to remind me that He knows, and He cares.

Psalm 139, innit.


Robyn said...

Lovely :-)

San said...

Thank you for sharing dear friend. A reminder to me for faithfulness in prayer and being aligned to the will of the Father, I also love psalm 139 no matter what befalls us He loves and cares for us.

So pleased that puddy cat is safe


Suze said...

Our pastor has challenged us to learn the 139th Psalm by heart. This is so difficult for me.

I had to smile about the cats and their collars. Our cat wears one and by council law she is not allowed outside. Personally I am glad he is home with you and settling down.

Ember said...

He is zonked out fast asleep on the sofa.

Heidi said...

Thank you for this post!

Ember said...

Hi friends! Waving! xx

Ember said...

Oh my goodness! Just looking at what Margaret has posted today!

This does seem to be Black Cat Day!!

Beth said...

I love this. He sees, he knows, he cares ... and he gives us tangible gifts to remind us of this. Your intercessions notebook - what a treasure.

Don't you wish that sweet kitty could tell you about all his adventures these past few days!

Deb D. said...

Beautiful telling of a moving story. Thank you!

I have two kitty babies tool wwhom I love with all my heart.

Your description of their response when the collars were put on them is so funny and accurate to mines experience, too.

Thanks for all you shared, more than just the cats adventures, in this post.

Ember said...

Hi Beth - he is FAST asleep, plugged into the divine energy source, having all his bad memories erased :0)

Hi Deb - "kitty babies", too right! The sense of wellbeing in this household today is immense!!

Ganeidaz Knot said...

MY spirit sighed, Aaaah. It is fully satisfied. God's in His heaven, All's well with the world.

Ember said...



Pilgrim said...

That is a great story. :-)
Life is so like that.

Ember said...

:0) x

Daisyanon said...

Gosh! So you pray for us - me? Thank you. A very difficult family situation emerged last week but is unfolding with extraordinary grace. Must be your prayers.

Did you take the collar off Miguel?

Ember said...

We certainly did! As soon as he came in.

Yes, I pray for you, most days. The only days I don't are the ones when I get in a muddle and the day starts without me so my prayers aren't organised, or I'm away from home with no private space to pray.

Sandrajay said...

Thank you so much for sharing this truly, truly, touched my heart. I have loved ones far away who I often ask God's protection for and I love to think that "He goes where we cannot go" ...That he walks beside those who I cannot walk beside. Thank you Pen.:)

Ember said...

May the great Archangel Raphael, companion on the journey, walk with your friends far away and watch over them, and may the Lord Christ keep them and keep you in His care. xx

Julie B. said...

This post made me cringe, cry, laugh, clap my hands, and praise God through happy tears. So happy for you and your kitties. And isn't it so amazing when you know that you know that you know you've had a word from the Lord, just for you? And how He orchestrates details way in advance because He knows we'll be needing something. It changes everything and is enough to carry us for a long time, even if circumstances don't exactly change. Blessings.... xo

Ember said...

:0D xx

BLD in MT said...

So glad that your kitty is back home! What synchronicity of signs with that book!

BLD in MT said...

Oh, and I do hope you are able to find some agreeable solution to the bird killing. In my college studies (environmental science) we actually learned quite a bit about cats and songbirds. Enough to make me sad to think of all the birds my kitties have killed over the years growing up. You're so kind--to both cats and birds.

Ember said...

We try to feed them a bit earlier in the morning, as this is often a time when they kill. But they also kill for gifts. Yesterday our Alice came in from work and went into her room to be greeted by the sight of a medium-sized rat lovingly presented and laid out for her on a piece of drawing paper. Yum! :0\