To Trust Like Skinny Bones
I have always viewed an infant as a tiny miracle from God. But I never imagined that having a baby would require a miracle.
Since our marriage almost five years ago, infertility problems have so far prevented my wife, Florence, from becoming pregnant. As the years and the tears have gone by, we have relied more and more on faith and the power of prayer. But, as the saying goes, be careful for what you pray for because what we've ended up with, for now, has been a cat — and a lesson in trust.
Let me explain. Several months ago, at the beginning of Lent, Florence and I met a scruffy black kitten with a white nose and white paws that was wandering around in a park. That someone had abandoned him was obvious. Terribly thin, he was peering into a garbage can when we saw him and acting as lonely and hungry as a homeless person. He soon leapt on my wife's lap and received a fur massage while we sat on a bench. I tried my best to ignore him. He was cute, but he was a cat. I didn't like cats. After leaving the park that afternoon, I thought we would never see him again.
My wife had other ideas. For three straight days, starting with the afternoon we met him, she went back to the park and fed the kitten. On the second day, she tried to bring him home. But he leapt out of her arms and escaped. Reflecting on the cat's refusal to accept her good intentions, Florence told me later that day that God's sorrow must be infinitely greater each time we, his children, turn our backs on his tender care and providence.
The next day, when she couldn't find the kitten, she prayed to God that, if he wanted one of his creatures to be helped, she needed some divine assistance. God heard her prayer: Not only did she find the kitten, whom she had nicknamed “Skinny Bones,” but she successfully took him home this time. I was not surprised. Her maternal instincts needed to nurture. Skinny Bones wasn't a baby, but he was innocent and trusting, and he needed care.
There have been many ups and downs in trying to get pregnant. There have been many times when we questioned God and wondered why so many obstacles have been in our way, and there have been many times when we have felt it will be impossible to either conceive of a child or afford to adopt one in the future.
Witnessing Skinny Bones’ acceptance of life's twists and turns has been a real blessing and a great inspiration. One moment he was running freely through a park and the next he was confined in a foreign apartment with two strangers. Once he adjusted, he completely accepted our small home as his. Since then, his love for us has been total and unconditional. He sprawls on our laps as if he has known us for years. He follows us everywhere we go in the apartment. (As I write this, he's asleep in the chair next to mine.) He's grateful when we feed him. He is at peace because he trusts.
To us, this kitten with the big yellow eyes represents a gift from God. And the greatest gift has been the reminder that we shouldn't worry about today's problems, but to abandon ourselves to our heavenly Father and his love, which will give us what we need when we need it — but only if we trust in him completely.
Carlos Briceno writes from Seminole, Florida.
- July 20-26, 2003