August 26, 2010

My Madeline

I'll admit, I hate letting go.
I love change when it sweeps me along and carries me off,
I'm all for change, in the form of adventure, and newness.
The kind of change that lets you embrace what's fresh,
but keep and treasure all that's old.
Change that gives.

But there's more than one kind of change.

There's the change that one-by-one deprives you of the
things you deeply treasure and wanted to keep. Forever.
The change that wipes away what's past,
and leaves you empty handed.
Change that doesn't give you much choice or warning.
Change that takes. And takes.

I hate that kind of change.

But it has visited me often this Summer just the same.
The house bad news, Haggai dying, Fiffen disappearing.
And I'm finally swallowing something else;
I've lost an old friend.

Madeline was my first real pet.
When we knew for sure that we had a home in the country,
Dad and Mom finally told us we could have the long-awaited cats.
And Maddy was the kitten that filled my seven-year-old heart.

I dressed her up in doll clothes,
and loved her to pieces;
and she put up with it, sometimes grudgingly,
but she was my cat.
And she always seemed to know it.

She was moody.
She used to smack horses, and scratch little kids.
But she and I had an understanding,
and there was something special about it.

She was lovely, dignified, feminine.
Always a little aloof; once she became an outdoor cat -
she refused to eat with the other cats in the back,
she had to have her dinner in a special dish on the front porch.
She was always there for dinner, always on time.

For thirteen years.

One night about a month ago,
Madeline never came for dinner;
nor the next night, or any night since.

For awhile,
I refused to give up hope that she might be back;
just be there waiting like she's supposed to.
I've dreamed that more times than I can count.
But I'm slowly accepting it;
I don't think she's coming back.

Maddy was old and tired;
she probably curled up under a bush somewhere,
and never woke up.
She didn't want us to find her;
that's so like my Madeline.

I look around, and I know there's more of this to come.
All my pets are getting old on me.
Slowing down, getting gray.
I'll admit, sometimes I want to question why the Lord would
ask me to let go of so much at once.
I feel guilty, knowing that others around me are having to
give up much, much, more.
But God has blessed me with just a tiny glimpse of His view -
that the emptier my life becomes,
the more room there is for His will in it.
As much as I hate it,
He's freeing me up for whatever is next.
As I one by one am releasing what I have long dreaded
having to live without -
God is showing me how faithful He is,
and assuring me-
that even if I had to part with every last speck of all
that I hold dear, I would still have Him.
And He would be more than enough.
There is such a joy in that, and an incredible peace -
knowing that all I am missing in the past,
is preparing me for a more faith-filled future.

Yes, even change that hurts can be something beautiful;
in God's hands.


Sara said...

Dear Kate,

Your blog has been near to my mind for weeks, but blogger was being stubborn and wouldn't let me comment. (ggrrr) I am so sorry for you and sweet Madeline! Our 8yo bunny, Abby, died today from a tremendous tumor that we didn't notice until yesterday... She was our graceful, sassy, shy, creative, destructive, OCD little lop who snubbed strangers and helped Laura clean out their litter box. Her mate died in February last year and that still hurts - I feel for you so having to handle so much in this one summer! Our house "pushed us out" too. Not with a diagnosed mold problem, but it did make us sick and the spring before we moved, deer ate all the shrubs and a late frost shriveled the first blossoms we had ever coaxed from our wisteria. 'Out!", it all said. So out we went. No more allergy meds! :D The new house is looking lovely and I LOVE the chicken photos!! Blessings ~ Sara

Laura said...

Oh, Dear Precious Kate,
Hold on to those thoughts, dear and your family have been through so much this summer...but He is always good...and always faithful. I just know that He has wonderful adventures planned for you!
With love and blessings,
Mrs. Laura

Margaret said...

I have a cat that smacks children and scratches them and occasionally I just want a cat that is calm and normal. But I think that the cats with character always stay in your mind and heart a little bit longer perhaps than the ones who are perfect angels...

I'm so sorry about your loss.

Christianna said...

Ahh, Maddie seemed like such a sweet cat. We've had cats for almost as long as I can remember. One by one they all disappear. Although we have never had one for that long (thirteen years), we have always gotten attached to our cats. They all have their own personality and cute little ways about them.

Andrea said...

OK, now you have me crying. I'm sorry for your losses,
blessed by your faith in seeing God's drawing you nearer to Himself. You have a beautiful talent for writing...drawing the reader in. And the way that you arrange your photos in the midst of the text is artful.

Blessings to you and yours,

Mrs. Mendenhall

Jill said...

Oh, Kate, I am so sorry about your kitty. I had a cat that disappeared in a similar fashion, and I remember how much it hurts. Cats have a way of making one love them, don't they?

I know that you and your family have had many trials this year. I am keeping you in my prayers. I am always encouraged by reading your faith-filled, insightful posts.