I cried over a kitten this morning.
It felt dumb and ridiculous.
It felt compassionate too, yet the critic in my head condemned me for crying over a kitten when I so often fail in my desire to have a deeper compassion for other people.
It felt small and silly, for I could easily count a half dozen people I know and love who are walking through physical pain, devastating loss, or the death of loved ones in their lives.
You see, we’ve had three of the fluffiest gray puffballs of kittens, all look-alikes, one a wee bit smaller. We’ve delighted in watching them tumble and play.
This morning, Miss Betsy was missing. Little Bella and Buster Boy bounced about the deck, but their sister was not to be seen.
I rustled and searched and called. Nothing. Not a peep nor a bit of fluff appeared. I felt a bit anxious and hunted more persistently.
The three kittens had been so cute together, and somehow, it felt so amiss for only two of them to be wrestling and rolling across the porch floor in the morning sunlight.
We’ve had many kittens disappear over our 20+ years on the farm and when my teens were much younger, we’d held our share of kitten funerals. I heaved a sigh and began to acknowledge another kitten gone. We were past full-fledged kitten funerals, but I knew my teens would mourn this loss with me.
Sadness clogged my throat and I scolded myself. After all, “It’s just a kitten,” the disdainfully cold critic’s voice reminded me.
That’s when it dawned on me.
Nestled right near the center of the book of Matthew, a small sparrow speaks from the pages. Jesus explains that not even this sparrow falls to the ground without our Father noticing. He shares this visual story compelling us to lean in, to look, and linger in the significance our Creator anoints us with.
If God watches over the sparrow, then why do I so easily forget how much God watches over me? How much God cares about me? How much He cares when I feel sad, tears trickling down my cheeks?
Why was it so easy to feel forsaken or alone? Feel forgotten? Forget what His Word says? Why sometimes did it feel like perhaps a sparrow was of more importance than I was and I was pathetically senseless to mourn a kitten?
I watched sunlight bounce off the porch eaves and I pondered.
I didn’t have ready answers to these questions, but I knew in my heart-of-hearts I truly believed and trusted in God to care for me, to count the hairs on my head, and to call out the critic voices crippling me.
I also knew if my God noticed a sparrow, He certainly also notices kittens.
I smiled slightly at the other two kittens and slipped into my kitchen. Sniffing a bit, I whispered a prayer for Betsy kitten while my touch of the button started the turntable in the microwave rotating to re-warm my coffee.
Stepping out the back door 45 minutes later, I halted with happy surprise as my Birkenstocks reached the top porch step. Three kittens were batting and tussling across the sidewalk and into the grass! I was shocked. I’d called. I’d banged around the deck. I’d hunted. I’d looked in the basement window well. I’d labeled the missing kitten as gone.
I’d whispered a prayer, but I’d also let loose of hope, much as one does the string of a helium balloon. I’d let it silently slide away and not even bothered to watch it fly.
Sometimes it’s easier. Sometimes it hurts too much to hope.
Sometimes it seems so silly, feels foolish. I know life holds many circumstances of more importance than mourning one missing kitten, no matter how cute and loved it was.
Psalm 37:23 from the NLT is posted in the sidebar of my blog. Too easily I forget to rest in the promise it voices: “The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives.”
I felt our Father certainly has more grandiose matters to attend to. People fighting cancer, staving off starvation, searching for clean water, dying from disease. Parents burying a newborn infant, caring for four handicapped children, adopting orphans, and tending wounds.
There are people with brighter resumes, more accolades, important missions, greater reach. People preaching compelling messages, offering up passionate prayers, leading grand conventions.
So, there it was. The question on the table.
Did I believe God really sees me as more valuable than a sparrow and truly delights in the details of my life? Did I believe He cared for me in delightful days and difficult ones?
Scuffing my sandal toe, I pushed against the porch floor stirring the swing into motion above the heads of three purring kittens as I contemplated the question.
Yes, oh yes, I knew without a doubt my response. I do believe He sees me as valuable! I did believe He’d seen my tears that very morning and bottled them up. I do believe He cares about my details.
There are so many answers I don’t have. So many questions I do have. Too many times I doubt or despair and forget to remember.
Still, when my heart is touched with a gentle reminder, I respond every time with “Oh, yes Lord! I do believe you delight in this daughter of Yours. Thank you for Your ever-loving care and Your kind nudge toward hopeful faith.”
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