I looked out the window this morning. Trees revealed a gentle breeze. The sky was overcast, a continuous stretch of same-greyness, wonderfully and masterfully dappled by God’s own brush. Then came a small, slender, slinking figure into view. One of the neighborhood cats.
It moved with cautious steps in a light-footed gait, displaying intermittent, sudden, frozen postures, as if playing a child’s game of “statue.” Its head seemingly followed the lead of darting eyes — quickly analyzing and assessing the landscape, with a laser-focused, hyper-awareness.
I would imagine she or he was hunting for small clues. Gathering signs and sightings, smells and sounds; in hopes of a tell-tale trail, pieces of evidence, of possible prey.
Also, mindful of danger – cleaver, sly, lurking, hidden hazards, ready to pursue, pounce and devour. There would be a decided advantage in such a vigilant, cautious approach; rightly anticipating that what was feared.
Masterfully earning the reward of being the first to see and not to be seen first. The hunter could be made prey by an unknown monster.
Then I moved my eyes inside, a few feet from the window and onto the carpeted floor. There sat my “second wife,” Alicia, in peaceful meditative posture, the epitome of a domesticated, short-haired cat. She is pampered and spoiled rotten. Alicia was herself statue-like, but for entirely different reasons.
Her tail was neatly tucked close to her body with the tip touching a front paw. She tried to wake. Her eyes would periodically open and then shut again.
Alicia didn’t seem to be anticipating anything. There was no prey to hunt. She knew where her next meal would be found – in the same dish that has always been there. It rests on the floor at the end of the hall. There is no mystery. My second wife knows every inch of our home, routinely selecting favorite spots to lounge both day and night.
Near the time of his death, Albert Einstein wondered, “is the universe friendly?” I do as well.
I believe, we will find this out in heaven. Will this be for us like a domesticated feline, basking in God’s love, stretched out on a son-lit carpet? Nothing else to do but to praise God and feast at a perpetual banquet?
This is how Scripture describes much of it, at least.
The surprise may be in sharing space with those once feared and feeling at ease.
Walter is pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church and has served as parish pastor for 30 years.