Gethsemane

There it was again. He stopped, crouched down and watched. He waited with every muscle tense, his tail moving back and forth and his ears flattened against his head. When it moved again he was ready. He sprang into the air and reached.

The butterfly only changed its direction slightly, but it was enough. He stood and watched it fly out of sight. He consoled himself with the thought that a Tiger never missed when he was serious.

But Tiger wasn’t really a tiger at all. He wasn’t the biggest cat. He didn’t stop traffic with a roar. And no one rushed to get out of his way as he walked by. He was a very ordinary brown cat with very ordinary black stripes. Nothing special. Most people didn’t even notice when he was around. It took more than stripes to fit that name.

It was getting dark as he made his way home. He knew that tonight was special for the family he lived with. Once a year everything was different and they prepared for it for days. He heard the word “Passover” often during the preparations each year. Even their son, Mark, seemed to be very serious this one night.

When Tiger got home he found the usual people and smells that he remembered from other years — and different ones, too. This needed investigation. He gradually worked his way around the downstairs, checking as he went. The trail led to the guest room stairs. He slowly crept up, keeping himself as low as he could as he made his way up each step, sniffing as he went.

Peering over the top step, he saw them. Strangers. His ears went back and he fluffed up his fur to look as big (and scary) as he could. He stayed where he was and looked around. Then he saw Mark in the corner of the room. Being careful to stay low and as close to the wall as possible, he hurried to his side and sat on the floor.

As he continued to look and sniff and look some more he became aware of something wonderful. One of the strangers wasn’t strange at all. The Creator was here! Tiger made himself comfortable, purring happily.

When the Creator got up and left the room, the others followed Him. Mark followed them—and so did a very ordinary cat. The strange parade made its way along the street, up and down hills and around corners, to the place called the Garden of Gethsemane. The Creator told His friends to pray and went to a place by Himself. He used one of the large rocks there to lean against and began to speak to His Father. Tiger sat nearby and watched. After some time went by the Creator returned to the others. He seemed very upset to find them asleep. Tiger watched as He returned to His rock. He didn’t understand the words he heard, “Father, if there is any other way please show Me”, but he could sense the feelings. Feelings of sorrow, pain and loneliness.

Tiger looked at the Creator’s friends. Then back at the Creator. He lifted his paw and started to move then changed his mind. He looked back at the others. They had gone to sleep again. That decided him. Trotting over to the Creator, he rubbed against His ankle. No response. He tried again. He went around to the other side and tried again. He jumped up onto the rock and rubbed against the clasped hands there. He walked along an arm—desperately trying to look into the Creator’s eyes—to make sure that He knew that He was not alone. But the eyes were closed. He went back to rubbing against the hands on the rock.

Then something changed. The Creator sighed and said “If this is the only way—may Your will be done.” Tiger sensed new feelings. Peace, confidence and determination. The Creator opened His eyes and looked into a little furry face full of concern. He smiled and whispered the words “Thank you, little one.”

Tiger had time for a “you’re welcome” purr before he heard angry, arguing voices of other strangers. He moved away and watched from a distance—knowing that the owners of all those feet were not going to be aware of one ordinary cat.

They didn’t treat the Creator with the respect that He deserved—and they took Him away.

Tiger waited in the quiet for a long time before he went home. And he never felt the same again. The brown was still the same and so were the black stripes—but his little kitty heart was very full. He seemed to have grown the confidence that matched his name. He held his head high and his tail had a very proud curl at the end. A thank you from the Creator makes the ordinary very special.

© 1995, Micki Parkinson

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