They had been out of town for a couple of days. The cats had been "home alone," but left with plenty of food, water, and clean litter pans. Walking in the door, she didn't know whether to expect to be possessed or ignored. They are cats . . . either or both were probable.
Walking into the house she heard timid, pitiful, pathetic, heart wrenching mews. The boys (as they are often called) were curled up together on top of a storage container on the coffee table in the living room of the house. She emptied her arms and walked to them, picking them up for pets and love as she whispered sweet words in their ears. The younger cat crawled onto her shoulders with a happy, boisterous purr and settled on her shoulders. The elder lay limp in her arms . . . staring with reproachful eyes. Their food bowl was empty . . . oh my.
Carrying him in her arms, she walked into the bathroom where she expected to find another empty food bowl. It was full, pristine, untouched since it had been filled prior to their departure. Placing the elder cat on the counter, she encourage him to eat. He took a delicate, tiny bite and then stared at her as only a cat can stare. She placed his sibling near the bowl and he tore into the food quickly, settling to purr his delight. She walked out, leaving them at the food. As she glanced back the elder cat has pushed his brother aside and was enjoying his meal. Crazy cats! You can never out guess them.
As she unloaded the car from the trip, she noticed the elder cat had returned to his perch on the storage container. He knew quite well it held all the extra food from that last 20 pound bag they had bought. He was certainly anchoring it in place . . . pretending he was the cat rock
His brother on the other hand was overjoyed at her return. As she put things away, she stepped out of the office into the living room. Hearing the sound of running paws, she saw him streak around the corner from the dining room, past the couch and table and leaping into the air. He propelled himself through the air and struck her in the chest where she stood a good ten feet away. Knocking her back a step as he "landed" she wrapped her arms around him. His joy at being with her knew no bounds. She was his and he was hers.
Only leaving his post on the storage container to have his "needs" met and then returning to ensure the possession of his spot, the elder brother reached for her as she walked to him--with his brother still glued to her. While not leaving his spot, he needed her love and reassurance just as much as his brother. Of course, being the elder cat he could not allow himself to be thought of as needy and remained . . . the rock.
So alike, and yet so different. Both of the boys loved her. Both of the boys needed her love, attention, and care. Yet they expressed it so differently. One remained rooted in his need to "seem" not to care. The other willing to take a leap of faith, virtually flying into her arms, knowing she would catch him and fills his needs for love.
We tend to respond to God the same way. Some of us are staunch and stiff in our response to God's love . . . afraid to show how we feel . . . living by restrictive rules and regulations. Others leap into God's arms with abandon knowing that God will always be there for them . . . unafraid of failing . . . exuberate in their love . . . living life with uninhibited because even if they fail, they know God will forgive, pick them up, and love them no matter what.
Beloved One, we can be so afraid of failure . . . of being perceived as weak that we restrain ourselves and don't allow you to love us with the extravagant love you feel for us. Other times we leap before we look placing ourselves in harm's way, yet knowing that you will love us no matter how many times we fail. Help us, O God, not to judge one another, but to love each other through our differences . . . with the extravagant love you have for us. So be it. Amen.