Sunday, October 23, 2011

'Fraidy Cat

If you’ve read some of my earlier blogs, then you already know Smokey, our resident cat-in-charge. Mornings are when Smokey is the most full of vim and vigor; he stalks the goats, climbs trees, sharpens his claws on fence posts, and races around the pond and barnyard in an apparent attempt to startle as many birds and mammals as possible.

Smokey’s morning started the same way it normally does: the little Viking scratched my favorite chair, bit my arm, and was promptly evicted from the house so he could plunder and pillage elsewhere. As usual, Smokey reappeared when Bodie (the dog) and I were doing chores. Without acknowledging our presence, the little hotshot just strode past us with that Lion King-Joe Cool swagger of his. I made mention of the mouse I’d seen in the barn the day before, but, apparently, he had more pressing business.

I’d finished chores and was headed houseward when I heard a peculiar banging sound coming from the barn. “What could that cat be up to?” I asked Bodie. Before long, I found Smokey, balanced precariously on top of a 2X10 at the top of the barn wall, eyes round, his pupils dilated with fear. Since I have a fear of heights myself, I well understood that miserable, panicky, how-will-I-ever-get-down-from-here feeling!

 “Mmrroww, mmrroww!” Smokey entreated me to rescue him. I dragged a ladder over to a large round straw bale lying near the wall, then lugged an even bigger ladder up on top of the straw and rested it on the wall close to the cat. The top of the ladder was only about 18 inches from the cat, so I was sure that he could easily climb down. I waited. I encouraged. I reassured. But, “Mmrroww, mmrroww!” was the only response.

 I remembered working on a shed roof with Hubby. When it was time to climb down the ladder, the heights-panic hit me, and suddenly it seemed as if the roof was miles from the ground instead of just feet. And the first time I went down a ski hill, the mild slope looked almost as steep as a cliff. (One definition of “fear” is False Evidence Appearing Real.) In both instances, I just froze. If people hadn’t been around to more or less force me down, I might still be up that ladder or mountain!

Well, my mountain climbing-kid was in India, and Hubby was miles away at work, so I was Smokey’s only hope. Up the ladders I went, counting on the promises of Psalm 91 (see below). Smokey stretched down to where I could grab him by the scruff of the neck and lower him to the ladder, then followed me to solid ground and the house. Temporarily deflated of pride and bravado, he slept soundly on the bed for the rest of the day.

As for me, I felt kind of proud of myself. For most people, ascending and descending that ladder would’ve been no big deal, but for me, it was a victory of faith over fear. For once, the ‘fraidy cat was actually a cat and not me!

He ordered his angels to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they'll catch you; their job is to keep you from falling.
                                    Psalm 91:11-12

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