I’ve mentioned before about our cat Hermes, and his utter contempt and hatred for flies in the house. Actually, he has a pretty rigorous patrol that he makes to ensure that our home is safe from any intruders from insects on up. I’m not sure how many times in his 16-year old life I or one of the other members of the family has said, “Hermes – what you doing there?” As he is quick to explore the many places where we live, where nothing good will come of it. It’s a common sight, when we wake in the morning, to see jigsaw puzzle pieces having been carefully flipped on to the floor, or stray small pieces of paper, or batteries left on the table, or pens or paper clips, or anything else that we inadvertently forgot and left on a high perch or place to be found on the carpet or tile below. I’m not sure which manual he received as a small kitten, but I can only imagine there was a pretty significant chapter in it entitled, “Knocking Things to the Floor.”
I should say, this isn’t a new or recent phenomenon. Truly, when Hermes was just a kitten, barely a year old, and both boys were away at college, while we would sit upstairs at the kitchen table, we would hear a huge racket coming from the basement. The loudest part was a near-blood curdling meow or howl, that sounded like a cat being caught in a horrible trap. What it was, however, was Hermes, having gone done into one or the other’s bedrooms, and then carrying something they owned up to the main floor, like… a mighty hunter. Dozens of different socks found their way, as did t-shirts, flip flops, sets of keys on lanyards, and even one time, he managed to drag up the stairs a fairly large rolled up banner that Adam had bought on our trip to visit the University of Alabama. The thing was probably three times the length of this little cat, and the thump-thump, howl, cry, thump sound was actually pretty amazing to watch. Of course, after every one of the installments of his work to try to move everything from the basement up to the main floor, he would drop it in the kitchen, and then, having completed his task, it seemed, he walked away, smug and self-satisfied that he had done his heavy lifting for the day.
As of late, Hermes has adjusted his tactics. I should say, if you are not already aware, that anything stretchable or elastic might as well be catnip to most cats, and especially to Hermes. I can’t leave a windbreaker with an elastic cord at the waist just sitting on the back of a chair, to wear in a few minutes. It is almost immediate that somehow the little elastic alarm goes off, and Hermes is at the jacket, pulling and chewing and trying to dislodge the stuff from the jacket itself. He is merciless, and persistent, to the point that we have to make sure to keep the coat closet door shut completely, or there will be a small tawny cat, trying to get at his heart’s desire.
When Hermes was little, we had some large, thick rubber bands lying around, that we could shoot across the room, and the cat would bound after it, like a game of catch and fetch. He still gets excited to see them, but when we shoot them, he now takes a couple of steps, and then looks at us as if to say, “Ok – that was fun – now go get the rubber band, and shoot it back this way, and I’ll watch for it.” This all goes, of course, to the prove theory that dogs have owners, but cats have staff.
One thing was have discovered, however, is that Hermes can get pretty bored, and if there is nothing for him to do, he will make up his own game, to try to extort us to play with him. For the past week or so, after Cheri has gone to bed, and the other three of us are watching another hour of television, we will have to periodically pause the show, as we hear from upstairs the sound of a little cat begin torn to shreds. It’s really a horrible sound. They talk about the cry of the banshee – I’m sure that’s close to what we hear.
When we first heard it, we thought that perhaps Hermes was in some kind of trouble, but now, we realize that he’s only calling out his battle cry, the victorious Rebel yell that comes after subduing a fearsome enemy, or a dangerous foe. He will howl for a couple of minutes, but it’s strange that the sound he makes seems muffled, like he’s wearing a face mask at a bank or something. It’s at that point that we slap our hands across our legs to encourage him to come down the stair, which he eventually does. The reason for the muffled sound, we find, is that he tries to carry a large rubber band in his mouth as he trots across the living room and then down the stairs. When he gets to the bottom, he then drops the rubber band, and then howls a little bit more and then comes over to get scratches and pats, and recognition for being such a mighty hunter!
Every couple of days or so, we then have to carry the rubber bands upstairs and put them back in the living room, so he has a new set to wrangle and transport back down again. One day, all the rubber bands were downstairs, and so we once again heard the howl and cry, and in summoning Hermes, he came downstairs hauling one his other toys – a feather on a string attached to a stick. Now, we know for certain that the feather was actually in their little toybox behind the couch, so he would have had to work pretty hard to pull it out and carry it around all the furniture. Apparently that didn’t dissuade him…
I can’t guess whether your family feels as safe and protected as we do, knowing that a little tawny cat stands guard against all intruders or infiltrators in our home. Rubber bands can be pretty sneaky late at night if you don’t watch them carefully…
Even in you don’t have a “mighty hunter” in your home, take courage in knowing that whatever happens, you can trust that God stands guard in your life. As the psalmist wrote in Psalm 121: God won’t let your foot slip. Israel’s Protector never sleeps or rest. The Lord is your Protector…
I know it’s silly to talk about a cat protecting us, but these sure seem to be dangerous times in which to live. To know that we are not alone, nor left helpless, even when things seem to surround us, and threaten us, is proof of God’s unfailing love, and equally unfailing promises – to you this day. Blessings.
Word for the day: pertinacious. Pronounced per-tin-AISH-in-us. Sounds like a stubborn word, doesn’t it? You would be right. It means, “stubbornly tenacious, almost perversely persistent, or obstinate.” Now, that sounds negative, but it really depends on whose side you are on. It comes from the Latin, pertinax, meaning “very tenacious,” and tenere, “to hold.” Of course, to be tenacious is to hold on to something without letting go.
So, think about pertinacious as it refers to your faith. Are you willing to hang on to what you believe, even when there is an all-out assault against you? The early Christians, and many others today died and are dying for their faith at the hands of those who would want to destroy it. Our pertinacious attitude is that same as the image of standing on the rock, and hanging on to what you believe with all your might.
After 43 years of ministry, Randy Cross lived his "fourth life" and shared about retirement, living boldly and intentionally in our world. To be sure, there was some North Dakota thrown in.