Sept. 8, 2021
When Hadley was almost three, we decided to get a family cat. We went to the Humane Society, visited a room with several kittens bounding around, and watched for the one we wanted to adopt. We let Hadley pick him out, but I know I did my fair share of “encouraging” toward a particular kitten. His features were striking and beautiful to me--deep green eyes, short fur, grayish brown and black stripes, and one thick, black stripe straight down his back. I remember thinking then and always when I would look at him how creative our God was and what an incredible artist to design such a beautiful creature.
With no small amount of persuasion from us, Hadley named him Linus--or as she pronounced it at the time, "Whynus." Linus was a good cat. He often hid out during the day, but we called him our “praying cat” because he would always come to wherever we gathered to pray as a family at night. He would lay down comfortably in the middle of us and seemingly join in the prayer. After that, he would pick one of our beds to lay on (usually Taylor’s) and nestle between our feet as we slept.
He was an indoor cat, only venturing out into our backyard occasionally when we were home but never exploring past our property. However, on June 16th, when we were away on vacation, he snuck out during someone’s visit to our house and ventured too far. He was lost. When we returned from our trip, we started looking for him, hanging up flyers, checking with neighbors, filing missing reports, and checking sites for missing animals. We were so appreciative of the many people in the community who cared enough about our Linus and about us to continue to keep their eyes out for him and send us tips on the best ways to find him throughout the time he was gone.
As we looked for him, we often wondered at what could have happened to him or where he could be--could he have been hit by a car, attacked by another animal, treated cruelly by humans, hidden scared, alone, and starving somewhere, or hanging out safely in someone else’s home? Was he dead or alive? Should we keep looking or assume he is gone forever? In those moments of worry and unrest, we would often find peace in the truth that God’s eyes are on all creatures, and He knew exactly where Linus was. He could sustain Him if He willed, He could bring Him back to us, or He could determine if the number of Linus’ days had come to a close. We prayed for his return but trusted in whatever outcome we’d face.
We had been holding onto all of Linus’ things as we waited, but as we neared the 2 month mark of his disappearance, we decided it was probably time to pass his things on. Before donating the items, I decided to once more check the Humane Society website before calling an end to our search. I opened the page of lost animals, which I had visited almost everyday since his disappearance. I scrolled down, and THERE HE WAS! I couldn’t believe it! I cried happy tears, shared the news with the kids, and we raced to the Humane Society to pick him up. We were not able to get any information on where he was found or who brought him in. So, we continued to wonder at where he had been all this time and to marvel that his life had been sustained. We celebrated!
But Linus was very, very thin, very dehydrated, and not well. We took him into the vet, had blood work done, gave him fluids, and prayed he would turn a corner. Yet, after a few days of working to nurse him back to health, he only continued to go downhill. On August 16th, exactly 2 months after he had been lost, we made the difficult decision to put him down. We all went to the vet to be with him in his last moments. We prayed with him (since he always seemed to like that), cuddled him, pet him, and talked softly to him. And, then we wept together as we watched him leave this world.
We wonder at God’s purposes in all of it. Why did Linus sneak out while we were gone and wander so far from the yard? Why weren’t we able to find him sooner? Why would God reunite us to him, only to take him again a few days later? We don’t know the answers to these questions, but we choose to trust that God’s purposes are good. We choose to marvel at the miracle that Linus’ life was sustained for nearly two months out on his own and to remember God held his life and holds our lives in His capable hands. We choose to be amazed at the kindness and compassion of neighbors and friends and strangers who rallied around us as we searched, celebrated with us when we found him, and mourned with us when we lost him. We choose to be thankful for the handful of days we were able to have him back home with us in order to hold him, show him our love, and say goodbye. We choose to rest in the truth that although we don’t know the answers to “Why,” we know a good God who does know and who is working it all out for good. “I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish my purpose’” (Isaiah 46: 9-10).
By Katie Miller
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