They say cats always land on their feet. Has this been scientifically verified? If tests were run, I suspect the people at PETA weren’t very happy about it.
When I was little, the playground at my school had a piece of equipment so obviously unsafe that it’s unlikely you’ll find one like it nowadays. It was a wooden ramp, about 8 feet long and approximately 4 feet off the ground. Just beyond this ramp was a pit filled with wood chips and sand. To the best of my knowledge, the only conceivable use for such a contraption is to line up roughly 30 feet away, run at full speed and hurl yourself into space, landing in a heap after traveling as far as possible. And if possible, try to remain conscious and in one piece.
So, of course, that’s what we did.
Each afternoon, we would take our turn attacking the ramp. The goal being, to see if we could fly farther today than yesterday. If the wind was at your back, or you hit the ramp just right, you might just jump a few inches farther than you ever had before.
Then one day the ramp was gone.
Likely, sanity prevailed at a PTO meeting and the dangerous ramp was destroyed. (Of course we replaced it with the infinitely more dangerous tackle football where I actually DID get a concussion, but that’s another story.)
One day the ramp was gone.
I had a friend who loved cats. She had cats on her shirts, cats on her pants, cats on her coats, cats on her computer, cats on her refrigerator. She was a crazy cat lady in training if you ever met one. My friend and I were really close. We shared stories that I’ll never tell anyone else, intimate details of our lives, and lots of laughs. Though we were together for only a short time, it was a hugely significant relationship. We pushed each other to be the best we could be. My friend helped me become a better person.
Then one day my friend was gone.
Jesus had a friend named Lazarus. They were very close. One day, while Jesus was away in another town, a message came that his friend was ill. After a few more days of preaching, Jesus and his disciples started off to the town where Lazarus lay dying. Before Jesus could arrive though, his friend had passed away. When Jesus saw his friends Martha and Mary crying, standing in front of the tomb of their brother, Jesus himself began to weep.
It’s not in the Bible, but I’m pretty sure that Jesus said, “well, that sucks.”
His friend was gone.
Of course for Jesus, death never has the last word. Jesus brings Lazarus back from the dead.
I wonder though, if not long after that, when Jesus prepares to go to Jerusalem, does Lazarus stay behind? What if he had business to attend to? Did he say to Jesus, “Enjoy the Passover! I’ll see you next week!” Did days later a message come to Lazarus that his friend was dying on a cross? Did he arrive in time to find Jesus laying in a tomb? Did he weep? Did he wish he’d had a chance to say goodbye?
We all long for one more jump.
One more hug.
One more chance to say goodbye.
Ephesians 4:6 says there is:
one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Have you lost a friend? Were you in a relationship that ended? Have you ever woken up to realize they aren’t coming back? Or is there a hole where once there was something, a business or activity, that brought you so much joy? Have you ever asked, where is God in all of this?
God doesn’t take away our friends anymore than He removes pieces of playground equipment. He is right there with us, standing beside us as we stare at a patch of dead grass in front of a pointless pit of wood chips and sand. He’s sitting there with us on a park bench when the realization hits that she isn’t coming back. I believe God says, “that sucks.” And then, He weeps with us.
May you take the time each day to fully appreciate the crazy, dangerous, seemingly useless piece of playground equipment in your life. May you make the most of each moment with your crazy cat lady friend. When you weep, may you know you’re not alone. And may you remember that death, and loss, and pain do not have the last word.
My friend, may you always land on your feet.