I confess that it took me a while to get used to Gracie. She’s one of the cats we welcomed into our home last November. You see, Gracie is a black cat. A solid black cat.
I don’t consider myself a superstitious person…but all that “If a black cat walks in front of you, it’s bad luck” nonsense ran through my head every time I saw Gracie. If a black cat walks in front of you… But what if she slithers around your ankles and wraps herself around your legs while you walk? For the first couple of months, I was sure I was done for. Bringing a black cat into our home? What was I thinking?
I had an insight about Gracie this week–she’s living up to her name. I named her after the monastery I’ve been visiting the past 3 years, Our Lady of Grace Monastery in Beech Grove, Indiana. OLG is the place where I have definitely experienced grace through the Women Touched by Grace program for women clergy (www.wtbg.org). I wanted to pay tribute to OLG and WTBG by naming one of the two cats we got “Gracie.” (We thought of naming the other cat “Georgie” [as in Burns], but opted instead for Dayo, a Yoruban word that means “joy arrives.”
Once able to get past the fact that Gracie is a black cat who walks in front of me every chance she gets (and recognizing that no more bad luck than usual has visited my life since Gracie had entered it), I began to observe Grac(i)e for who she is. Here’s some of what I’ve observed…
–Grac(i)e is always present. The moment I begin to stir in the mornings, Grac(i)e is right there, poking around, gently pawing, nuzzling. If I respond to her, she seems overjoyed. If I don’t respond, she hops off the bed…then returns the next time I stir. Grac(i)e also accompanies me to the bathroom. That seems to be one of her greatest concerns–making sure I’m never un-attended in the powder room. Whether awake or asleep, studying or watching TV, Gracie is present, sometimes in my lap, usually just nearby sleeping.
–Grac(i)e loves to play. LOVES to play! Several times a day, she approaches me with a sponge ball in her mouth; sometimes she’s on the floor, sometimes on the chair, sometimes in my lap. Her invitations are always subtle, yet still insistent. “It’s time to play, Kim.” I’d say I accept her invitation about 97% of the time. We don’t usually play long, but the game is always a gift.
–Grac(i)e loves and accepts me, no matter what I do. If we have a falling out–like when she sneaks under the covers and starts nipping my legs–no matter. We take a short break, then she’s right back with me, nuzzling, purring, loving (or whatever the cat equivalent of loving is).
Now, when I see Gracie, I imagine that I’m encountering God’s grace. God’s grace, too, is ever-present, accepts me for who and what I am, and often invites me to play.
Amazing Grac(i)e, indeed!
Peace for your journey…
awesome reflection on the reality of grace (and cats!) in our lives. Thanks, Kim
Thanks, Michelle. I’ve thought of you a lot this week while preparing to preach the Gospel lesson–John 3! I hope you and your kitties are having a meaningful Lent. Peace.
You know how I love the kitties, and I got a warm, fuzzy feeling after reading about
Grac(i)e. Such a sweet tribute to one species of God’s creatures who can bring so much joy to us. I too believe he works through our furry friends.