This post is for Ruth, fellow gray tabby lover over at praypower4today.
Gray Guy hiked his back end up in the air, tail held tall and rigid. He stretched his back legs as straight as he could then inched forward, one paw at a time, until he was stretched out as long as the bed pillow he’d been laying on. The “M” shape on Gray’s forehead announced he was a tabby, but his splotches of white and gold and brown betrayed the fact the he was part calico as well. True to his name, however, he was mostly silver gray striped. When he was born the kids looked at him and exclaimed, “Oh! Look at the little gray guy!” And it stuck.
Gray took a couple turns around the pillow to plump it up just right, then curled up in a semi-circle, tail wrapped around his feet, head on paws. I reached over to scratch his ears and he looked up at me with his lifeless eyes as if to say, “I know you’re there somewhere. I just wish I could see you.”
At 15 months Gray had been a healthy, frisky cat. Then somewhere he’d picked up a virus that had settled in his eyes. We came from our first camping trip of the summer to find them all clouded over. His pupils seemed to have disappeared. A trip to the vet revealed the disease had ulcerated 75% of Gray’s eyes. Could his eyesight be saved? “Possibly,” was all the vet would say. So he and his associate went to work on Gray.
They removed the damaged part of the eyes, packed them with antibiotics, then sewed his second eyelids shut (cats have three!) to protect his eyes and promote healing. The treatment now meant drops in his eyes every two hours round the clock for the next couple days. And every four hours for ten days after that. We wouldn’t know if there’d been damage to the retina until the stitches were removed. For now all we could do was be faithful with the drops and pray.
Gray handled his blindness admirably. He bumped into lots of furniture at first, but soon caught on to where everything was in the house. Even so, he hated being cooped up. At times he’d whimper and my heart would break. I had no way of making him understand this was for his own good. Nor that it was only, hopefully, temporary. I’d stroke his soft, gray fur and say, “trust me, kitty. I’m doing what’s best for you. It’s going to be okay.” But I knew he couldn’t understand. I had no way of communicating with him except to offer a reassuring hug or scratch behind his ear.
As I lazed on the bed petting Gray that day it struck me how I feel like that with God sometimes. Often I don’t understand what He’s doing in my life. Like Gray, I feel my way around, tripping, bumping into things, just as if my eyes were sewn shut. At least spiritually. During those times I, too, tend to curl up next to God and whimper, “I know You’re there. I just wish I could see You.” Finally I’ll run out of questions to ask. My mind will become weary with searching for answers. And I’ll look up at God with those same lifeless eyes, pleading for His reassurance. But there’s no way God can make me understand, for His ways are not our ways, His thoughts not our thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8,9) I smiled a little as I wondered if God ever feels as sad about my confusion as I do about my cat’s.
There is, of course, one big difference. For unlike my inability to bridge the communications gap with Gray Guy, God’s not limited in the same way. In fact, He’s given us someone to help us understand who He is and how life works. Someone who boldly declared to the world, “When you have seen me, you have seen the One who sent me!” (John 12:45) So unlike Gray, who can only stumble in the darkness and listen for a voice that might be there, God has given us someone to make our paths bright. He’s the Light of the World. His name is Jesus. And when we look at Him, at His compassion and patience, His wisdom and commitment, we can know that the God who holds our future is a God who really cares. A God whom we can trust.
Not to leave you wondering, Gray had his stitches removed last week. There was no damage to the retinas. Thank God! There’s still a lot of dead tissue, but the vet said in three or four months it would be absorbed into the eyes and they would become clear. Only a small scar would remain on each to remind us of Gray’s ordeal.
My family did a lot of praising God that day for the miracle of healing He’d brought about in Gray’s eyes. And as for me, I left the vet’s hoping the next time I’m curled up next to God whimpering with non-understanding I’ll remember Gray’s experience and remind myself that no matter what life feels like, I don’t have to grope in the darkness waiting for an answer, for I have the Light. I have Jesus. And because of Him I can put one foot in front of the other and keep plugging along. And sometimes that, in itself, is a bloomin’ miracle!
That’s not our cat Gray Guy, but he looks just like Gray. That story came out of my journal a few years ago. The sad ending is, Gray disappeared three weeks later and we never saw him again. Kept seeing the vet bill for awhile though. I hope wherever he went he found a good home. Maybe he was just meant to be with us long enough to teach us a lesson…