In the beginning, before there was Mike and Maggie, there was Mike and Joshua.
Joshua means “The Lord saves” and is much too spiritual a name for a cat, but there you are. Immediately following college graduation, Mike became daddy to a Siamese kitty he christened Joshua. Mike loved Josh and the feeling was mutual. When Mike and I married in 1976, we two became three instantly. Josh rode along in the U-Haul when we moved to Boston to attend seminary, and when we arrived on Cape Cod in 1989 he was still with us.
Josh lived to the respectable feline age of 18 – his tenure in Osterville overlapping that of his successor by a year or more. In 1993, a tiny gray kitten peeked out of Amber’s Christmas stocking. 19 years later, the cat Amber named Genevieve is still with us.
But unlike Josh, Gen is not a cuddler. She grew up to be, at least in our estimation, the meanest cat on Cape Cod. (“Cape Cod cats, they have no tails/They lost them all in nor’east gales.”) The true tale of Gen chasing our neighbor’s cat into its own home through the cat door and proceeding to thrash him has become legend.
And nothing much has changed. When I arrived home from work tonight, Gen howled for her dinner, glared at me until it was delivered and then promptly disappeared. She has been bulimic for years and I find the evidence in the oddest places. On evenings when I am reading at home, I beckon Gen to sit quietly in my lap, but she never does.
So why do I love that darn cat so much?
She only comes to me when she wants something.
She disappears once she’s satisfied with nary a backward look of appreciation.
She is arrogant, picks fights with the dog and pollutes the home we’ve provided for her with hair and messes emanating from both ends.
But I love her, yes I do. She hasn’t done anything to earn my love; she doesn’t have to. I love her just because.
And you know what? Someone loves me that same way too.
Too often I act as if He is here to serve me rather than the other way around. I ignore Him until I want something. I make messes and then expect Him to clean them up.
But He loves me, yes He does. Just because.