We had a bird (a cockatiel) for almost 20 years – until this last Christmas when it saw a chance for freedom and took it. A too-slowly closed door became the portal for a new life. Once out he flew with all his might, over the neighbor’s house and away. Our search was fruitless for a while, but then I heard him chirping (screaming) in the distance. He had flown back toward home and was lodged at the top of a very tall tree. There was no way to get him down. I could tell that he was scared and helpless and regretful (if birds feel regret).
You remember the cat from an earlier post? Well, we are doing good these days (she has us fully trained now). We do not know who owns the cat so we just call her R. Cat (our cat). Every day she seeks to enter the house now that a bond of trust has been established. To begin with she wouldn’t set foot in the door and now she can’t wait to get invited in. Some days R. Cat is even more interested in affection than food.
So why the pet story? I was thinking that human relationships can be a lot like the bird and cat. One in a stable environment seeking to escape and another with a desire to find a place of nurture and acceptance.
Every time I see a marriage about to break apart I think to myself “You (the runner) will most likely be regretful sometime in the future when you realize your loss.” The situation may not have been perfect (our bird would probably have liked a more varied diet), but it certainly had it’s benefits.
I also feel sad when people are too cautious to take risks toward establishing relationships that may satisfy what their hearts have been yearning for.
I think fear may be at the core of each of these scenarios: fear of being trapped in a tough situation with no hope of healing, or fear of being hurt with no way to survive the pain. In each case there is probably inaccurate thinking. Our belief may be that the struggle is not worth it, or that the effort required is not worth the risk of failure. But we forget that we are not alone – that the battle is not solely ours. We have an Advocate who is with us in our trials, who will comfort us in our pain.
For some the most difficult thing they can do is to remain steadfast in the middle of an emotional storm, when they are discouraged or bored or scared or feeling hopeless. For others taking action, making decisions and pushing through inertia feels like pulling out their own teeth. But in both cases it may be what God wants from you to accomplish His purposes through you.
I can’t say that the cat directly replaces the bird – but she does bring comfort. And there is something healing about the relationship, even redemptive. As a child my first encounter with a cat was not positive. This purring creature sidled up to me and then promptly bit me on the wrist, drawing blood. My trust for cats has been low ever since – until now. It may seem like a small risk – but it’s a good start.
Which one do you feel more like; the cat or the bird?
What do you think God might be asking of you?
Update: Since we first posted this we have found out the cat is a “he” and not a “she” and named “Nor”. He belongs to a neighbor, but makes his home on our front porch at least half of the time.