Kip is a wild girl. She’s a cat on the run. She’s a frustrating mix of need and paranoia, of “touch me” and “don’t you dare.” As a kitten, she endured my petting, because she hadn’t yet discovered she had a choice. But as soon as she hit open air, she grabbed her independence like a life line and tossed a “see ya” right over her shoulder.
She watches our house from the woods, where she blends easily into the shadows cast by ferns and blackberries. Sometimes, when curiosity draws her from her watching place, she’ll leap to the top of the barbecue grill outside our back window and stare at us from behind the safety of glass. But no matter how surreptitiously we creep to the door, no matter who quietly we pull the slider open, when we slip out to greet her, she’s as gone as though she never sat there.
When the itch behind her ears finally overcomes her suspicion, Kip permits me to scratch her, but even then — even when I’ve coaxed her into my arms and I’m speaking to her in my mother-to-baby voice — she keeps one leg poised for launching, and I can feel that every muscle in her lean black body is spring loaded and ready for flight.
I heard her purr only once, on a warm day when my touch eased up on her and the sun wrapped a lulling blanket around her distrust. But she caught herself and stopped. Purring can be intoxicating, and wild cats don’t allow themselves addictions.
I saw her this morning when I stepped out the back door. And for about twenty seconds, I thought today was my day. She ran across the grass toward me as though she’d seen a friend. I squatted down and said good morning. “Come here, little girl … let me hold you.” But just inches from my outstretched hand, she veered off at a 30 degree angle and kept running. I guess she hadn’t seen a friend after all.
I wonder how often God scans the woods, waiting for a glimpse of me. And I wonder how often I watch Him from the shadows, and shrink back from the tender sound of His Father-to-child voice, and close my eyes to the sight of His outstretched arms. I’m far too independent for my own good; I know that. But I don’t want it to be so. There’s nothing sadder in the world than a being who won’t let love in.
Keep calling my name, Lord. As much as I think I need independence, I need You more.
Tame Your wild girl.