Today’s post comes to us from our poetry editor, Lisa G. Lisa lives in the Pacific Northwest with her cat and assorted familial humans. She loves green, God, and puddles of sun. And of course, lots of great poetry flowing into Segullah’s 2011 poetry contest: http://journal.segullah.org/contests/#poetrycontest. Write on!

 

My cat likes to bring me gifts. Baby rabbits, limp and warm. Headless moles. Birds, with broken necks and feathers strewn all over the doormat. Once, she caught a snake and deposited it—complete with tooth-holes and flapping scales—with great pride on the feline altar.

She is quite proud of her hunting prowess, my darling little cat. And she loves me. Thus the gifts. She wants to please me, bring me something hard-won and precious. She wants my approval, my acceptance of her very best work.

But I don’t like her gifts. Sometimes the baby bunnies are still alive and we always try, one more time, to save them by wrapping them in soft towels and laying them on a pillow. Until they die. Always. And we bury one more. The moles are just messy and with gloved hands, we toss them into the bushes. Both pieces. The fragmented birds are the most trouble to clean up, feathers flying, floating away from reach.

What I really like is when my cat comes just to sit with me a while. I love the smell of her soft fur, all outdoorsy, fresh as line-dried linen. She rubs her little face on my neck and kneads my chest with happy soft paws. Then she pads around in circles a few times, curls up in my arms, and rests, purring, perfectly content. No mangled animals. No mess. No attempt at impressing me with her accomplishments. Just purring and praise.

I wonder if that’s all God wants—a little purring and praise in his presence. Maybe He’s not really impressed with the gifts of “righteousness” I keep bringing to the altar, my mangled attempts to be “worthy.”  My deepest prayers pour forth from a heart full of praise. I simply bask in His grace, curled up in His loving embrace, perfectly content just to be.

Just like my cat.

What is your experience with deep prayer? How do you praise God?

10 Comments

  1. Melissa M.

    October 22, 2011

    Lisa, this was a lovely post. “I love the smell of her soft fur, all outdoorsy, fresh as line-dried linen.”—beautiful! I’m a dog lover myself, but I loved this description of your cat and her unabashed adoration of you. And I liked the analogy. Though I think God does appreciate and sanctify the gifts of righteousness we bring to Him, I think you’re right that we should spend more prayer time in “purring and praise,” content to just be in His presence. Too often I come to Him with petitions and pleas; I think I need to spend more time in just expressing my love for Him. Thank you for this post!

  2. Sue

    October 22, 2011

    Hoo-wee! This piece packs a punch!!

    Your descriptions are so apt (and grisly) that the images literally turned my stomach.

    Having said that, the analogy is excellent. And who knows? Maybe the shock value brings the message home more strongly.

    But it also makes me a little bit reluctant to ponder it…

  3. Lisa

    October 23, 2011

    Sorry if I grossed anyone out. Sometimes I forget that not everyone lives in the country; life and death is quite literal out here in the woodsy wilds.

  4. anon today

    October 23, 2011

    Oh, my, this is evocative! I KNOW there’s been a time or two that angels have said in dismay, “Oh, dear, you killed a baby bunny…”

    Reminds me of the Isaiah scripture about how all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags before God.

  5. CountryHungry

    October 23, 2011

    Oh yes country cats. The worst are the life mice that get dropped through the cat door and then run around the dinning room while we scream and swat with our brooms.

    I did not see where this was going in the beginning but wow was this just what I needed. I feel like I have been making lists of everything I need to do to proof that I love that I forget to do what is on the list, which always starts with prayer.

  6. Michelle L.

    October 24, 2011

    I loved this post enough that I read it out loud to my husband and again to my kids. They laughed at your descriptions and then we all marveled at your spiritual insight. I know I have placed some mangled moles on God’s altar. I’m going to work on becoming a purring, sun-warmed kitty.

  7. Lisa

    October 24, 2011

    A final note. My cat has been missing since the day I posted this. She never wanders, so I am afraid our neighborhood coyote got her. We are very sad. Mourn with me?

  8. Michelle L.

    October 24, 2011

    Oh no no no! I’m praying that kitty comes home soon, and bearing gifts.

  9. Melissa M.

    October 24, 2011

    Oh, Lisa, that is so sad! I’m hoping your cat comes home, too.

  10. Kellie aka Selwyn

    October 27, 2011

    I’ve come to this late, but love it all the more for it.

    Deep prayer is beautiful and refreshing to me. I think of it like sitting in the sun (like a cat!), able to stretch right out and feel the warm sink through me and to the very reaches of my soul. Some prayers are more like walking through a splash of sunlight – which often are necessary and brief – but the deep soaking sessions give me balance.

    And I hope your cat finds her way safely back to you!

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