I’ve never considered myself a “cat person”…dog maybe…cow, for sure, but not a cat. Two to three years ago now, Effie and the boys had been begging for a cat for sometime…Matt, nor I, were excited about the possibility. Then, one weekend, on a whim, I told them we would go LOOK…love on some, but absolutely not get one. Turns out, Effie got sick, but we still snuck in and loved several kitties…one was a sweet male cat - about a year old - not known why he was placed, but had only had one owner and kept only indoors. I knew I didn’t want an only indoor cat…we live on almost 70-acres, for goodness, I felt like a cat that was a Ward kitty would need to chase birds when it wanted to. We left and went home, but not before Effie took a “big eye” picture and sent to her daddy — begging for the kitty. When I talked to him later that night (Effie now running a fever), his response was simply, “How can I say no now?”. The next morning Matt arranged for me and Carson to drive secretly into town to adopt that sweet boy, known now as Mr. Fuzzy Pants.
After a few weeks, he started to venture onto the grass outside, and loved it. It didn’t take him long to decide that he wanted to spend some of his time out there, and he transitioned himself to an indoor-outdoor kitty, who would meow to go outside, paw at the door to come in, and never had a littler box from that day forward. Perfection. That sweet boy has spent so many nights cuddled at the foot of one of my kids’ beds almost every night since, and hardly left Effie’s side after she had her brain surgery. He consistently finds me between 4-6 a.m. to go outside to potty. He’s like clockwork.
A few weeks ago, we traveled to the mountains for a 4-day vacation…we had a friend housesit for us…a very trustworthy college guy that Matt has worked with. From day 1, he said Mr. Fuzzy wasn’t super excited about his being there, and never came in to eat while we were gone….rather, he just sat on the ping pong table out on the back porch, peering at him, eating the food he would put out, but didn’t dare to enter. Fast forward to our arrival home…Mr. Fuzzy was nowhere to be found. The kids called and called, I called and called, then a few hours later after some frantic kids, Matt called more and there he came! Such relief! He was sort of stand-off-ish for a few hours. I told the kids he was mad at us for leaving him I guess…but within the next day, he was back to normal and happy to have his family (and his routine) back!
We were home for almost two weeks, when it was time for a planned 4-day beach vacation before school started…I was a little leery about kitty, but figured it would be same as last time, so not many worries. This time, our house sitter said he didn’t see Mr. Fuzzy as much, but did have to refill his feed bowl several times, so he knew he was eating. Arriving home, the kids couldn’t wait to love on their sweet boy, but to no avail, he was nowhere waiting on us. We called and called…nothing…no ringing of his sweet tag and bell on his collar, no meowing, and now his food obviously hadn’t been touched for at least a day. Matt and I both were very concerned (and not super optimistic) when through the entire night he didn’t show up. Even our sweet mini Australian Shepherd, Lola just sort of laid around…I think missing her buddy.
Back at work on Monday, I got several sobbing phone calls from Effie, and some worried texts from Carson - him not knowing how to comfort Effie…who at one point called the kitty for a solid half-hour and sobbed for almost an hour. I told her that all she could do at this point was pray that God would help kitty find his way home. I emphasized to her that if in fact, something did happen to him, that I was positive that he knew how much he was loved while he was with us.
Effie prays, but doesn’t like to pray in front of people, even us (a trait I’m sorry to say, that I’ve probably inferred on her). She does take her turn to say the blessing before dinner, but her prayer is often quiet and short.
That evening, though, we sat down to dinner, held hands and bowed heads, and before Cullen,(the steady Eddie saying the best blessings), could even get a syllable out of his mouth, Effie immediately took over. It was the most fervent prayer I’ve ever heard come from her lips…it was loud, clear and very precise. She took her time to thank God for dinner and her family, and then asked God to help bring their kitty home and keep him safe..that they really wanted him back.
After her Amen, we all just sort of looked over at her…I squeezed her hand, Carson leaned in to give her a hug…we told her how proud of her we were…very confidently, she said “I promised God that if He would bring kitty home, I would say the prayer every night before dinner!” I asked her, “So, you’re holding up your end of the bargain, even before He does?” She looked at me and said, “Yep!…because I know he’s coming home.” Very matter of fact…very confident.
Dinner was finished and table was cleared…a couple of hours later, it was time to dig some extra school supplies out of the coat closet to see what we had and what we needed. On my way to that closet, I was talking to Effie who was in her room, and out of the corner of my eye, I spied something moving at the front door glass…could it be?! It WAS!! It was two precious paws, pawing at the glass to come in. I called for Effie and immediately opened the door carefully and just sat down talking to him. It took him just a minute to come inside and we couldn’t quit holding him and loving him…he was thinner and absolutely starving! That sweet boy loved all over us that night, falling right back into his routine. Effie sat beside me on the couch late that night, and was just so very thankful to God for his return.
Often, as adults, we make “deals” with God…”I’ll do this, if you do that…” God’s will isn’t negotiable in my opinion, but I do believe he knows the desires of our heart, and I think maybe He uses things and times, good and bad, to bring us closer to Him. Through so many of Effie’s stories, I’ve always felt like she had some special connection, and her faith is so strong, even when mine waivers..it always stops me in my tracks and pulls me closer to God to witness her actions.
“To trust God in the light is nothing. To trust Him in the dark…that is faith.” C.H. Spurgeon
Effie held up her end of the bargain, even before God did….are you?