On Monday during the coldest week of the winter, our cat Bob went missing.
Our family has received a lot of urging to keep Bob indoors, where it is safer. But we’ve decided to let him be an outdoor cat, because he and the rest of the family are MUCH happier when he can be outside. So when Bob didn’t come home, I just jumped on the prediction bandwagon. I figured that he’d been munched by one of the coyotes or fisher cats that sometimes come into the neighborhoods and woods where Bob likes to roam.
By Wednesday, Bob still hadn’t been found. After the Wednesday evening service, I asked church members to please pray for Bob.
The next day I made several calls to organizations that might help. I was reluctant to call the dog officer, who had twice quarantined Bob because of injuries. The dog officer kept warning us of dangers and saying that we should keep Bob inside. When I finally called, I reached a different dog officer, who was tremendously encouraging and non-judgmental.
I also recalled how the cat I had grown up with once went missing for six weeks. At the time I had just moved to Boston to attend school and was having a hard time adjusting to living away from home. A practitioner and I worked about home. One night I was getting emotional about the cat and called the practitioner. He pinned me down as to how much time I was spending praying about the situation. It came out that it was painful to think about, so I really hadn’t been working about it. The practitioner made it clear that I needed to do my part. This wasn’t the soft-spoken, everything-will-be-all-right kind of practitioner I was used to!
The next day I discussed the situation with my Sunday School teacher and realized what I needed to do. When I called the practitioner I was able to express gratitude for my living arrangements in Boston and for his help. When I got off the phone I was tempted to worry about my cat, but I was able to let her go, knowing that God was taking care of her. I wasn’t her salvation. Immediately I heard her at the door, and she was just fine.
When I told my son about this experience, he was so impressed by my account that I realized I should expect no less about Bob. That night Bob came home.
It was a good lesson in checking what one’s expectations are in healing. Are we just consenting to the prescribed course of events? Are we concerned about the I-told-you-so comments? I wouldn’t have given up on any of my other family members, but would have gotten to work prayerfully right away.
I called fellow church members in gratitude. When I called the dog officer with the good news, she rejoiced with me.