They’ve experienced the best of times and the worst of times. Belle (left photo) came from an animal shelter. Rory (right photo) showed up on our back doorstep on one of the coldest February nights last year (below zero). We adopted Belle. Rory…well, Rory adopted us.
Why am I telling this kitty tale on a blog about the Father’s love? Because I’m thinking we might learn something about that from both of them.
Both were orphans, but under very difference circumstances.
Belle came from the “system”…an orphanage, if you will.
Rory came from the street.
When we got Belle from the animal shelter, she spent the first couple of weeks hiding under our bed. She may’ve come from an abusive environment, but we don’t that know for sure. We would try to coax her out and show her it’s okay. Even to this day (3 years later), she’s still a bit skittish.
We found Rory shivering in the snow, waiting for us to take him in on that bitterly cold winter day. He was just a kitten, sickly and bit tattered, but didn’t seem like a feral cat. He may’ve been abandoned (wounded people do those kinds of things.) Whatever the case, we spent some time trying to locate his owner. Of course, Rory knew this would be a futile attempt, so he made himself quite at home on our back porch. After making sure he didn’t belong to someone else, we took Rory to the vet and got him all ready to live with the rest of our family.
Now, the important part.
Both of these cats became a “daddy’s boy/girl” almost immediately. But both were still orphans in their little kitty minds in very different ways.
Belle, as I said, hid from us. She would never let you pick her up. But if we were sitting down, she would eventually come out. We could tell she so wanted to sit on my lap but, even if I encouraged her to do so, there was something in her orphaned kitty brain that made her think she needed to keep her distance. If I reached out toward her, she would recoil or run away. Even today, she struggles with it a little bit, but always loves it when she finally gets the courage to jump up on my lap and spend some “daddy” time.
Rory, on the other hand, was a fighter from day one. I don’t think he’s ever run from anything (even when he probably should!) He loves to play (Of course, Belle loves to play, too, as you can see here).
Rory doesn’t hide; he follows me around like a lost puppy. My wife says he cries when I’m not home. He always let me pick him up, but then he complains and bites my arm (not hard) to let me know he wants down. He’s too busy for that kind of stuff.
Rory is a constant trouble-maker. Belle never gets into trouble.
Rory constantly complains about everything; Belle never complains about anything.
Rory mostly wants to play; Belle mostly wants to be by herself.
Rory is the prodigal son; Belle is the elder sister.
Neither Rory nor Belle knew how to have a healthy relationship with their “father.”
While both are doing much better today, they still need to have to have their “kitty” orphan tendencies fathered out of them. Both still need to know how to just be loved. And as they become comfortable knowing they’re loved just as they are, finding the freedom and security and joy of belonging, they are progressively becoming who they were always meant to be.
This made me think…there are Belle’s and Rory’s coming to our churches and home groups, too. The former coming from abusive relationships (or abusive churches); the latter wanting to come out of the cold. They all come to get healed and to be loved…to feel safe…to belong.
We’re all on traveling on this journey together, learning what it means to be our heavenly Father’s adopted sons and daughters (Eph.1:4-5), even though we may have differing circumstances that brought us to Him. You may relate more to Belle, or to Rory (gender makes no difference in this regard). Perhaps neither, but we all need to have the orphan fathered out of us.
So I’ll end with this question…
…are you learning how to let your heavenly Papa love you?
By the way, we have a third cat (Pippin), who’s an 18-pound mama’s boy. He’s always had a home and has never had any issues about being loved (his love language is “acts of service,” which usually means feeding him!) He likes to sit in the bathroom sink and get wet. Yeah, he’s a bit strange, but that’s another kitty tale.