Written by Jim Kirkland
Whenever spring rolls around, I’ll always think of Sophie.
She’s our cat. A cat that enjoys making an occasional break for greener grass (literally) through windows left open or a door closed too slowly. And an escape by Sophie is sure to kindle a blaze o’drama in our youngest daughter.
One springtime Sunday, the tranquility of the afternoon was shattered by my wife’s yells to come inside…quickly. It seemed Sophie had broken free and Lucy was a bit over-zealous in her “rescue” of the cat. Hobbling on the living room floor while offering up an almost growl-like purr, Sophie had a hind leg 45 degrees perpendicular to her body, pointing straight to her right. If that sounds biologically incorrect, you’re correct.
Off we go to the only emergency animal clinic open on Sundays in two counties. In the possession of a clearly damaged cat after-hours, this was bound to cost.
After a couple of x-rays, the Veterinarian studied Sophie a moment, then left the examination room to returned with a manual of sorts, as thick as a Big City phone book. Canvassing the pages with his index finger, the Vet finds what he’s looking for. Sophie’s toes…all of ‘em…have to be reconnected, and the bone is broken above the joint where the foot connects to the leg.
Surgery, for sure. And his best guess on my next question:
Twenty-three hundred dollars.
My first thought the instant he uttered the figure was, “What’s the return-on-investment on a cat almost 11 years old? I mean…maybe it’ll live to 14-15…tops.” But that thought of a quick end for Sophie quickly evaporated. I could never go there.
Glancing at my wife, she gave me that I-know-what-you’re-thinking; you-know-what-I’m-thinking look. In tandem, we rationalized “I’ve seen dogs and cats with three-legs get along just fine. What if they just remove it? They adapt!”
As we drove home, we talk about what to do with Sophie. The conversation about amputation didn’t go long before I thought, “Naw…we can’t do that. We’d all feel terrible. Every time we saw her, there’d be that reminder. That space under Sophie’s body where a fourth leg should be: first time she jumps up somewhere and misses ‘cause the leg’s gone…wow.” Sophie the three-legged cat would be a constant reminder of our selfish decision.
Come to think about it…..we all have three-legged cats in our lives already. Those reminders of unwise, sin-driven decisions, living on and on like some three-legged cat, roaming the house showing off its fate, all because of our me-centered decision.
Of course, we’re forgiven of the sins that create three-legged cats. Jesus Christ paid for those while on the cross. But, as we know, we still have to deal with the consequences. And those ramifications weigh us down spiritually, emotionally and can even blunt our effectiveness in being Christ-like to the world.
As we continue our growth as a follower of Christ, may we acquire a distaste for things that leave behind three-legged cats. We already have the spirit’s in-dwelling to be acutely aware of avoiding decisions that give birth to those creatures. In Romans chapter 6, verse 11. Paul shares “In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Then in verse 14: “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under the law but under grace.”
In Chapter 7, Paul takes a look at the three-legged cats he creates. Doing what he shouldn’t do and not doing what he should.
Then in chapter 8, verse 5: “…but those that live in accordance with the spirit have their minds set on what the spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the spirit is life and peace.” Life and peace, it seems, can only flourish with a minimum of three-legged cats in our lives.
As Paul says, the spirit gives pause to avoid those things that defile and deflect from the glory of God, making us less effective.
Three-legged cats can live a l-o-n-g time. Fear them. And give praise to God for He has provided the answers to avoid them. By the way – Sophie is alive and well. With all four legs.