Don’t get attached. Grace only stayed for the weekend.
I’ve missed our cats for a long time, even to the detriment of our garden. The kids have been asking for a pet for almost as long. We went through several options–rat, guinea pig, bunny, bird, dog–before deciding that the pet we could all agree on, the pet who belonged in our lives, was a cat. Even B was willing to put up with allergies for her presence (I married a very good man).
So we adopted Grace. She was, I kid you not, the sweetest cat I’ve ever met. Loved to play, but also loved to cuddle. Adored people–she’d purr as soon as she was picked up.
Trouble was, that love was not quite reciprocal.
The kids admitted she was cute. And sweet. And perfect. But she freaked them out. K could not come through a room if Grace was within ten feet. Neither child would sit on a couch if Grace was out. They’d perch on their barstools and try to read or watch tv, all the while swiveling in place to keep eyes on the monster beneath.
The monster weighed just under three pounds, mind you.
B was allergic, as anticipated. And the kids were downright frightened. Everyone looked to me, the affirmed cat lover, for guidance.
I had nothing.
Sure, Grace was lovely. But from the second we brought this bundle of joy home, I had a sinking sensation in the pit of my stomach: this is too much.
I’m so glad Grace wasn’t a person.
Lately, after a season of rest, God has been piling on the commitments, the callings on my heart, the desires to do. Every time I face another opportunity, I pray: Is this what you want for me? Is this too much?
The answer has always been a perplexing no, even when I’m sure it should be too much. God is heaping my plate and I’m still trying to tackle it fully and cheerfully without questioning the how or why.
Because I had wanted this for so long. Because I prayed and prayed and prayed about this. Because we spent a gob of money adopting a cat. A picture perfect cat.
I’ll confess, it went through my thoughts more than once: Really, God? Really?
But as I prayed through, I realized the blessing of this experience. For one, I was able to recognize enough. I can trust in my connection to God more completely now, having known immediately when yes was the wrong answer.
I also have closure on my feelings of remorse over losing our first two cats. It’s not a cat I miss. It’s those cats. It’s the life they represented, when we were young and immature and just starting out, B and I. But it’s so wonderful to see that I’m not the same person I was then. I love that I’ve grown and matured. I love that I can say to that young and hurting self: it was too much–we let them go because it had become too much.
And I love that I can say that’s okay. With all eyes on me, I took a deep breath and said what we were all thinking: “I think this is not meant to be.”
So back Grace went, with wild fanfare and final hugs and many shed tears on my part. But I was learning all over again what God’s already tried to teach me: substitution is not healthy, and boundaries are there for a reason. I also know that if we were the wrong family for Grace, it was only right to see her off to the right one. It’s Micah 6:8 in action: acting justly by making the fair decision, loving mercy even when it’s painful, and walking humbly with our Lord no matter how confusing it might be (and for the record, we’re checked on Grace daily until her adoption–and I still pray for her growth and happiness. But in a world of more-is-better, we also discovered that right now, our family is enough. That’s a saving grace that will last a lifetime.