Monday, April 30, 2012

Up A Tree

One of the lovely prayer gardens on the Sacred Path  (Photo Credit: deAnn Roe)

I had walked the well-groomed, half-mile trail that runs along the perimeter of our church’s property line, when it was newly opened last fall. I was looking forward to a quiet time of reflection, seeing what surprises the spring season would have to offer.

I heard an unfamiliar sound, as I approached the “Sacred Path”. Imagine my surprise, when I rounded the corner and learned that the source of the noise was a fire truck stationed in the church’s front parking lot. It had its’ levelers stretched out and the truck was suspended with none of the tires touching the ground. The boom was fully extended with two firefighters in the bucket. There wasn’t any smoke, but a small group had gathered and all eyes were on the wooded hedgerow that separated the path from the property lines of the adjoining farm land.

Selfishly, I was annoyed that my peaceful stroll was spoiled. I had already visited two of the reflective gardens, and nearing the third was putting me ever closer to the unexpected scene. Since many of the onlookers were young people in their mid teens, I thought that perhaps they were a group of junior firefighters on learning maneuvers. My curiosity drove me on.

As I was passing through the midst of the spectators, I finally saw what all the commotion was about and it rekindled a memory from long ago. Now I could see the young man in his firefighter garb perched precariously on the top rung. Even at full extension of the towering ladder, the terrorized cat was several feet out of his reach and wanted nothing to do with the rescuer’s desire to help him.

I decided to join the audience when I finished my walk. We watched as the frightened cat climbed as high as the fragile limbs would allow. He didn’t stay high and dry for long, before the boom was employed once again. This time the firefighters were equipped with a medium sized tank of water and proceeded to “encourage” the cat to head down the tree. This spraying technique worked well until the water ran out and back up he went, to an even more dangerous height. I’m sure if we could have interpreted his protest, we would have heard many colorful words aimed at his rescuers. I felt sorry for the cat as I headed home, but I had to smile as I recalled my own “up a tree” cat story.

                                                                              Bigfoot look-alike                                                                                    Photo Credit:

Bigfoot was a gorgeous Maine Coon Cat and looked exactly like the photograph I posted here. One day, a neighbor’s dog came onto our property and Bigfoot wasted no time as she scrambled up one of the gigantic poplar trees to evade the intruder. In her panic she traveled to great heights to feel safe. Unfortunately for her, the lowest limbs were located at a dizzying elevation.

Bigfoot had two extra toes on each foot, and they turned out to be a great disadvantage whenever she attempted to escape her hazardous surroundings. Each time she would try to descend, she would start to slip and would scurry to an increasingly more dangerous altitude. It was very difficult to be a witness and have to watch helplessly as my beloved kitty was stuck in such a terrible situation.

The fire department couldn’t help because the sizable creek in my front yard didn’t allow their vehicle to get close enough. A courageous friend attempted to help by using pole climbers but wasn’t successful. So all I could do was pray and wait... and wait...and wait! The days went by and Bigfoot encountered many extremes of weather, since it was early winter. In addition to no food or water, she faced wind and rain storms and a snow shower. And I prayed and waited some more...eight days in all! I was outside when she was finally weakened enough that she fell out of the tree. I heard the thump. I have to confess that my faith was small, and I worried that she wouldn't survive such a fall. I ran to the base of the tree and she was nowhere in sight. I searched frantically and finally found her hiding under a woodpile nearby. She was stunned and shaky, but she was so happy to be in my arms. I thanked God for His mercy, in spite of my flimsy faith.

This story had an even happier ending than I expected, because prior to her experience, my beautiful Bigfoot had a very indifferent, “just feed me and leave me alone” kind of personality. However, her eight days of isolation and exposure had quite the transforming effect on my furry miss. Let’s just say that she had a life-altering, attitude adjustment, and her change of heart created the sweetest and warmest disposition I could ever have hoped for. She was forever changed by her memorable eight days away from home and was more than happy to be my best buddy after that.

A few days later, I asked about the cat at the church property, and I learned that the fire department gave up after five and a half hours of rescue efforts. After two days, a local tree service company was called on the scene and the cat was returned safely to the ground, but not before biting his hero, who is most likely facing a painful series of rabies shots as a reward for his courage and kindness. How I hate ending this story on such an unpleasant note!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

What Happened To Buck

The title of this post is not a question, but rather what I am making my focus, as yesterday was the three year anniversary of Buck's passing from this life into his new one. As I reflect, I am committed to thinking about what happened to him on that day, instead of dwelling on the loss and the heart break. He left a hole that only the Lord can fill and heal, but just the same, I am so happy for him and all the wonder of what he must be experiencing right now and forevermore.

I wish we had a clearer understanding of what heaven is like, but I rest in the fact that Buck is with Jesus now and there is no place he would rather be. I am also comforted by all that he is not having to face in order to get well, if he were still here. His health challenges would have been many and complicated and would have taken him down a road I know he would not have wanted to travel. Now he is pain free and happy as he enjoys his face to face relationship with the Lord. I am so thankful that God has enabled me to start letting go of the life I enjoyed with my husband, having done the hard  work of facing my grief and the many aspects of what I lost when God called Buck home.

Thanks to the inspiration of one of my favorite devotionals: God Calling, I have adopted a new phrase and a new attitude. That all important phrase is: "All is well". A dearest friend of mine has been saying this for years, and I have always been blessed whenever she answered with this positive response. For me, "All is well" doesn't mean my heart isn't broken any more, but it means the Lord is healing me and I'm doing better. It means I still get teary often, but I smile more now too. It means I am intentional in looking for the joy in each new day. But I think the most important meaning is this: whatever is going on in my life is in God's hands, and that fact is growing stronger in my heart and mind as time goes on.

Some of the most important messages that God is communicating to me right now are the mind boggling facts that He is always with me, that I am His and that He loves me. These same  precious messages are meant for all of us. I think that after all this time spent walking with Him, I am finally beginning to "get it"! Thank You, Lord, for not giving up on me all these years that I have been so thick headed. Thank You for the constant reminders as I spend my mornings with You, my favorite part of the day! Help me to encourage others to depend on You in all things, so that they too can enjoy the peace and comfort that only You can provide.

I want to leave you with yesterday's scripture that was on my perpetual calendar, marking the day God chose to welcome my sweetheart Home.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses... For when I am weak, then I am strong.                                                                                                             2 Corinthians 12:9-10

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A New Focus

It's hard to believe that two months have gone by since my last post. I'm happy to report that emotionally, I'm doing better than I did throughout the cold months. Winter was a lot harder than I anticipated - most likely because I had unrealistic expectations that I would be doing better by now.

In a recent conversation with a friend who was a widow years ago, I shared that I felt I was going backward because I had enjoyed other seasons when I was doing so much better. With her encouraging voice of experience, she assured me that I wasn't going backward - just going through.  Her supportive statement gave me a fresh portion of hopefulness and pushed me into a more positive mindset. Her words of wisdom were just what I needed to spur me on. 

In September last year, I did a search for Christian widowhood blogs and found a website that blessed me. It is titled: Widows Christian Place. The site's writer, Ferree, was a widow a few years ago and has remarried. Her website is her gift to widows and a beautiful ministry that she knew was greatly needed, as there was nothing like it available in her time of need. She has encouraged us along the way and introduced us to other widowed bloggers. Ferree recommended keeping a journal to help process our seasons of grief and invited us to share our stories on her site through her blog list. She was so gracious to include my blogs there.

Through this source I found a community of brokenhearted women who were walking the same path. I made some new friends who really understood and we encouraged each other. Many gifted writers can be found there. As they shared their hearts, they helped to heal mine and I am thankful! Many have gleaned from their godly wisdom, as they shared how important it is to depend of our personal relationship with the Lord to get through this lengthy difficult season.

Over the past several months, I have sensed the Lord's nudge to work on developing my writing skills.  So in an effort to become a better writer, I have started reading books to review the basics and to equip myself with the tools I need to become a better communicator. My participation as a member of the writers group at my church has been instrumental in helping me to reach my goals and continues to inspire me to try new things. As I have new writings to share, I will publish them here.

I am thankful and humbled that you are still following my journey and I am very blessed that you still care. Thank you for your concern and your faithfulness as I am quickly approaching the three year anniversary of Buck's relocation to his eternal home. It's still very difficult to face life without my sweetheart, but the arrival of spring makes everything better!

                                                                                                          Photo credit:
 "See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland." Isaiah 43:19