365 days and counting.
The number of days our wild kitty has lived the domestic life.
The number of days since she has had to live by the code of the wild- self-preservation.
The number of days she has received the care of human hands and the love of a Labrador Retriever.
Reeses, our tortoise shell feline, has come a long way since her arrival a year ago. Where once we had to seek her out, she now seeks out each member of our family, including the dog, to bestow her affection. A stranger, however, is a different story. The mere sound of an unfamiliar voice sends her into the deepest, darkest hiding places of our house where she will stay until the voice leaves. With that in mind, I had a decision to make regarding Reeses and an upcoming holiday trip .
Both our cat and dog travel along on trips to my childhood home. My parent’s house has become their second home. However, this Thanksgiving trip included a large family gathering which would add the sounds of many unfamiliar adults and children. Normally, Reeses has the freedom to roam the entire house. For the duration of the holiday festivities, I decided she would be happiest shut downstairs in my parent’s unfinished basement. She could prowl for crickets, nap under my father’s work bench, and snatch a bite to eat from her food bowl. All in peace. Only an occasional trip to the basement refrigerator would interrupt her solitude.
By midday, the call to retrieve a salad sent me to the basement door. I was met there by Adi’s sister Nova. This Labrador’s nose had told her a cat was in the basement. She was clearly desperate for an encounter. I looked at her large brown eyes that were pleading to follow and wondered if 365 days of love and affection from Adi were enough for Reeses to meet another dog.
A complete sucker for Labrador eyes and armed with the knowledge that Reeses adores Adi and Nova is as gentle and sweet as her sister, I decided to take Nova along and see what would transpire.
Reeses heard us descending and peaked out from her hiding place among my mother’s collection of artificial flowers. Nova beelined to her. Reeses didn’t move. The moment they touched noses I knew any case of mistaken identity was over. Rather than disappearing into the jungle of fake flowers, Reeses hopped to the ground and crouched under an adjacent shelving unit. She remained just close enough that Nova could sniff, nose, and even lick her before she slipped away. I called Nova back. “That was unexpected,” I thought as we headed back upstairs fruit salad in hand.
Time came for me to return the food to the basement refrigerator. Nova eagerly accompanied me on the trip. To my surprise, Reeses emerged immediately and marched right up to Nova initiating contact. Nova stood stock still as Reeses reached up and rubbed her face against Nova’s muzzle then twined herself between Nova’s front legs before turning and disappearing into the dark recesses of the basement. When Nova turned and looked at me, I knew she was completely smitten with our cat.
In that moment I could clearly see the fluid nature of love. When received, love continues its flow to others. I can trace the source of the love Nova received from Reeses back to our neighbor’s orange tabby named Higgins. One sunny morning, Higgins sat on our neighbor’s porch and gave a moment of love to Adi who would later spread that love to Reeses who in turn extended that love to Nova who will one day pass it forward.
Isn’t the fluid nature of love what Jesus spoke about in His words:
“Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. . . And, love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39).
When I love the Lord, by spending time with Him in His Word, creation, worship, and prayer, He fills me to overflowing with His love. I can’t help but extend that love to my family, friends, neighbors, and the strangers I encounter throughout my day.
God has shown us his love by sending his only Son into the world so that we could have life through him. This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the payment for our sins. Dear friends, if this is the way God loved us, we must also love each other.
We love because God loved us first.1 John 4: 9-11, 19, God’s Word Translation
I pray you experience the love of the Lord in your own life and witness its flow through you into the lives of others.
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