We were at a place where I knew we had to make a decision. I didn't have much time to think about it, and I had to act quickly. There was tremendous pain in making it, but if I had not made it, I could have caused harm to something so very fragile. I prayed for an answer. I prayed for strength. I prayed for forgiveness for what I was ready to do.
I felt like I couldn't let myself feel. I had to try to be as numb as I could. I was strong until I was in the midst of the act that I dreaded. Before you think this is something much worse, let me explain. It was January. I had spent a week in the hospital, my baby was in the middle of the fight for his life, we were preparing our home to be as germ free as we could, so that when Aaron came home, we could keep him well. Our cat, Judah, had been getting worse and worse about finding places in the house to relieve himself. We would find evidence of him in closets, in boxes w/ blankets, beside a backpack, and on my comforter. It was not getting better, and I knew it was time to do something. I took him to the vet, knowing that I might have to put him down - if this was something that could not be fixed.
Let me introduce you to Judah. Randy found him as a tiny kitten. He was huddled under a porch of one of the houses being built. Randy brought him home in a little green birdcage. When I first saw him, he was balled up in a corner hissing. Randy wouldn't let me get him out, because he thought he might bite me. (This is the guy who will pick up a rattlesnake without batting an eye!) I humored him for a bit, then got that baby out and snuggled with him. He was scared to death! We were engaged at the time, and he became our kitty. When we got married, and I moved in, we learned that we had one smart cat on our hands. We taught him to fetch. I could be in one room, and Randy in another. We would wad up paper - writing notes to each other on it - and as we threw it, Judah would take the paper in the other room, to the other person! No lie! Then, there were times when he was not so bright. We kept him locked in our bedroom during the day. We lived in an apartment, and we weren't sure about the pet rule. When we would come home, his little white paws would wave at us from underneath the door as if he was saying, "Hey, welcome home, now come let me out!"
Judah was a constant fixture in our home. He saw my first three babies come home from the hospital. He sent each of the big kids off to school for the first time, and was waiting on them when they got home. When I was pregnant, he would lie on my belly and purr as the babies moved around. He looked at me in my eyes, as if he could tell how I was feeling. He was extremely obedient. He wouldn't put a paw on the kitchen floor. One day, he tried to save my life. Randy was tickling me, and I was screaming. Judah jumped on Randy and climbed to his neck where he proceeded to bite Randy until I stopped screaming. He stood between Sydney and Gracen and a big dog that walked up in our driveway. He puffed himself up as big as he could and let out a growl with a hiss, and that dog tucked tail and ran. :)
He loved us. He protected us. He made us smile. We were his people, and he was our cat. Now, in a matter of days I was making a decision about his sweet life. The vet told me he was old, in pain, and his behavior would probably not get better. We considered the worst. UNTIL...a sweet lady in the vet at the same time as Randy offered to take him to her farm. He could run and be free and live out his days living the life of a farm cat. I was so elated that we had an alternative. My best friend drove me to the farm as I let my kitty go. I tried to tell him what was going on. I tried to tell myself this was the best thing for him. I wish I didn't have to leave him, and maybe I shouldn't have, but I did. I wrote the lady a letter about all this sweet kitty meant to me. I told her about his personality, and I thanked her for giving my kitty a second chance.
My focus was on my four pound baby. I had to fight for him, and I had to give him the best environment he could have. I had to let go of 13 years of loving that little kitten in a birdcage. What was he thinking? All I could do was pray that he would enjoy his new life on the farm. The nice lady said I could bring my kids up to see him whenever we wanted. My kids were about to experience life without Judah - which is something they had never known.
I kept in touch with the nice lady. Judah liked the horse. He would follow her out to feed him. One day I called to see if we could come visit. Now was not a good time. I called later. They were getting ready to move, but Judah would be fine. I called and left messages. I drove by the farm, and called her. She had moved and Judah had not gone with them. Neighbors had food put out, so he would not go hungry. The big kids and I went on a Judah hunt. We left our number with all the neighbors. We called his name all over the place. Nothing.
Today, I drove back by without the big kids. The lady told me he liked the green trailer behind the house. The day I had the kids with me, I couldn't find it. I found it hidden way back in the woods. I got flat on the ground, looking under it. No Judah.
The other day when we were there, a man with kind eyes helped by giving us some information. He told me he would look for Judah. He told me where the green trailer was. He gave me the names of the neighbors to talk to. Today, the man with the kind eyes asked me how well I knew the lady. "Not well at all," I replied. He looked in my eyes, and I knew I was not going to find my kitty today. He assured me that she took good care of her animals, but that I might never know the truth about Judah. I don't understand. I can't tell you how badly I want to see that little black face popping up out of some grass. I am mourning all over again.
I prayed that these neighbors would not think I was a stalker. As I said that out loud, I continued with, "Lord, you would do this for us. If you knew we were lost, you would come find us - no matter who thought we were crazy." He's been an outside cat, so he could be outside at our house now. I also prayed that if Judah could hear me, that he would find me. I believe he didn't hear me today. I'm not ready to believe that he's gone. I am still hoping that he finds his way back to us, or that one of the neighbors finds him and calls me.
Sometimes things don't work out the way we plan or hope. Sometimes they do. I want to see those golden eyes again! Just as I had to choose my child over my animal, Jesus will choose His children EVERY time over those who go against them. Unlike me, Jesus is all-powerful, and all-knowing. When He hears your cry, He comes running to you - and He ALWAYS finds what He's looking for, no matter what truth is being withheld.
I'm praying for those of you who may be experiencing deep hurt. Maybe no one really knows the depth of your ache. He does. Bring it to Him, and let Him heal your brokenness. You might have guilt and regret over something. The truth is, you can't change it. Jesus can pick up your pieces right where you are and create a masterpiece. Pain is hard to deal with presently. Pain will also produce strength that you wouldn't gain without the hurt. I say this to you as I am still grieving a loss, and unanswered questions. Press forward! We can do this.