“So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near—at the doors!” (Matthew 24:33).
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Today’s passage made me think about one of our cats, Mocha. She lived lived to be 18. Here’s a memory from when she was a little younger, and knew how to watch for signs of a storm …
Mocha came home two days ago. It’s not that she ever really left, but before I heard and saw her scratching at the back window forty-eight hours ago, I knew her only as a hushed whisper that watched me from shadows and teased me from between the top row of hay bales. I’d sense she was up there and try to lure her out, but in the last two or three years, I’ve probably touched her only twice. She’s old, and skittish, and much too independent for her own good.
But right now, she’s napping under the love seat. I can see the bulk of her dark calico self peeking out from beneath the scalloped wicker edge; occasionally, I catch the flicker of her brown and orange tail.
We’re anticipating the coldest days we’ve had in over a decade. In a few hours, winds from Canada are expected to swoop down and blanket this area with frigid, bone-numbing air. I have to wonder if Mocha — who will be fourteen in a few months — smelled the coming storm. I picture her lifting her head from atop her favored hay perch, wrinkling her black, triangular nose, and sniffing the breeze. I imagine her little quarter-pound brain scanning its files, pulling out a memory from ten or twelve years ago, and analyzing the remembrance with a growing sense of dread. Of her own choosing, she’s always been an outdoor cat. Not long after we brought her home as a kitten, and three-year old Zac welcomed her with an exuberant cuddle and rub-down in the recliner (“Mama–she name is Mocha”), the cat searched for the nearest exit and skedaddled.
But she’s here now.
Wise creatures scan the skies and smell the breeze and scrutinize signs. They take stock of their position, and when they determine that something ominous is on the move, they drop their weighty independence and seek shelter. They go to where they’ll be welcomed, and stroked, and loved — where a bigger someone is waiting to offer bowls of warm milk with egg, and safety from the storm.
That we would all be so wise.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
–Luke 13:34 (NIV)