Thursday, June 10, 2004

Meet Cheap Suit

Meet Cheap Suit...
Cheap Suit (aka Grace)
Her real name is Grace. Like all our pets, she has multiple names, rarely going by that originally issued -- unless they're in trouble. I call her Cheap Suit because of her propensity to be all over you (like a cheap suit) whenever hungry or attention-starved. And like a cheap suit, she doesn't always wear well...

Grace joined our family two years ago at Christmas. Dirty, matted, and needy, we found her at the local animal shelter, where she seemed very sweet. Hours from euthanasia, she won our hearts. Hence the name Grace: saved by no merit of her own, but by the love and compassion of another. In our haste to give her a good home, we neglected to heed the sign on her cage:
DOESN'T LIKE OTHER CATS.

So we brought her home to join two Persian cats and a dog.

Our Persian boys were not amused, nor was Grace, so we negotiated an uneasy truce by keeping her separated downstairs. Cleaned up, she was a beautiful animal. Fur soft as down, penetrating blue eyes, and gorgeous coloration. At first curious, affectionate and social, in short time she began to manifest a most unpleasant trait: the ability to change from a purring soulmate to a hissing, biting, spitting maniac in a flash. Unprovoked, unpredictable, utterly volatile.

My wife is a cat lover of the smothering kind - loves to hold them, squeeze them, kiss them - and can't imagine why they are not always amused by such attention. The Persians, being the Kings of Mellow, tolerate this. With Grace, such affection proved an utter disaster.

Hissing, biting, batting and misbehavior quickly became the norm. Her welcome wore out quickly. When the older Persian managed to get downstairs and attacked her, there was cat urine and fur everywhere. Everywhere. My wife began to bring up euthanasia. For real. The Grim Reaper was back in town.

Now, I'm entertained by cats but am a dog person at heart. But I had a special place in my heart for Gracie. You see, she reminded me of myself, and my relationship with God. Saved from the darkest of fates, not even dimly aware of the nature her impending destruction, she returned the favor with spiteful rebellion at the slightest disruption of her comfort or plans. Yet we saw in her at first a beauty not evident on the surface - just as God has little concern about what I was, or am now, but rather what I can be by His grace and mercy. But how at times he must marvel and fume at my insolence and ingratitude.

Gracie is still with us, and likely will be for a long time. We have learned to accommodate to her idiosyncrasies, and now find her quite amusing and very affectionate, albeit on her own terms. She changed in response to our love and patience. And she daily reminds me of how God changes me in like manner.