We have a neighbor who becomes annoyed when Pancake sits on our front lawn or on the curb so she picks him up and delivers him to our door. The last time she appeared irritated that we can’t control our cat.
During dinner one night, my cell phone rang. The message was, “Hi, it’s Kerry from the County Animal Shelter. We have Pancake, give us a call.” The shelter closes at 5:30 and it was 6 pm but I took off to see if I could find someone at the shelter. I found out that Pancake was doing fine and a neighbor had turned him in but he had to stay in kitty-jail until a clerk was there the next day.
That’s when hate flooded in. When the employee said “neighbor” I had images of our neighbor saying to herself, “I’m going to teach this family a lesson by taking Pancake to the shelter.” The more I thought, the more infuriated I got. By the time I got home, I was mad at the world and wanted revenge. But the calming Spirit of the Lord intervened. I decided to talk to another neighbor who has lived in the complex since it was built, knows everyone, is on the homeowners board, is an animal lover, a Navy widow, and very sweet and kind. I knocked on her door and asked if our CC&Rs have restrictions on unleashed cats? She replied they didn’t and asked why. I said I thought our neighbor (she knew which one I was referring to) had taken Pancake to the shelter.
She thought about the allegation for a moment and said, “That doesn’t sound like her. Her cat, her only companion, was struck by a car right out front and she’s been concerned ever since. I don’t think she’d take your cat.” I decided to pray and sleep on it. The next morning, I woke up still annoyed but looking forward to Pancake’s return.
When Christi picked up our beloved cat from kitty-jail she asked the clerk where Pancake was picked up and by whom. The rescuers were from a street pretty far from ours. They were relieved that Pancake had a chip. A couple of days before Ethan had found Pancake on that same street and brought him home. It suddenly made sense: the family saw Pancake on their patio, obviously lost. Then he disappeared but returned a couple of days later. They concluded he was a stray in need of help.
And that’s when guilt flooded in. I had hated my neighbor because I assumed she had messed with a member of my family. I said many prayers that day asking for forgiveness and blessings for my neighbor, who I had misjudged.
Since then, we’ve built a catio – a simple cage-like thing around our fenced in backyard that does not allow Pancake to escape but lets him enjoy being outdoors.
Hate is a powerful emotion. God tells us that “vengeance is mine” and not ours (Deut 35:32). God understands all things. Luckily, for me especially, he is faithful, forgiving, and guides us through hate into understanding.