The Gray Cat and Her Space: An Allegory (or maybe a Parable)

The gray cat loved her space. This space under the living room table. The floor length white tablecloth hid her from everyone, giving her a sense of security. This was her happy place. This was where she was most comfortable.

She spent as much time there as she could. Sometimes she would be enticed to go out – when her owner or when nature called – but as soon as she could, she would scamper back under the table. She didn’t like it outside her space. It was too big and cold and things kept changing out there. Not like this small, warm, dark, consistent place she had made her own.

One day she heard a new sound. Not like the sounds made by the people who lived there. This was a very quiet sound. Almost like a whisper. Like whispery soft footsteps moving about the room. Curious, the gray cat peeked out from under the edge of the tablecloth. She couldn’t believe her eyes – there was another cat in the room! A black and white cat who seemed to see everything as he wandered around.

The gray cat ducked back under the tablecloth. Did he see her? Hopefully not. Maybe he wouldn’t think to look under the tablecloth. Maybe he’ll just continue on through the room and out the other door. Who was he anyway? Did her owner get another cat? Heaven forbid! The last thing she wanted to do was share her space.

The tablecloth moved, then the edge lifted and his soft black eyes looked in. She closed IMG_20180518_205030007her eyes and pretended not to be there. Maybe he won’t see her in the dim light. But he did and came all the way in. How dare he? This was her place, made just the way she wanted it. And here he was threatening to change it! No way could she allow this!

She attacked. There was a wild scuffling for a few minutes. She fought with everything she had until he had had enough and ran off. She watched him go, smirking and satisfied with herself. This was her place, and no one, not even him, was going to change it.

 

Have you figured out the meaning behind the story?

If you want to try figuring it out by yourself, stop reading here.

 

Still reading?

Good! Here’s the meaning I had in mind.

the gray cat is us, Christians

the table and tablecloth is our set of beliefs and values that we’ve formed and are comfortable with

the living room is life

the black and white cat is God’s truth

God’s truth will seek us out no matter where we are in life. But we don’t always welcome God’s truth when it arrives. We often chase it away from our comfortable place so we can continue living life the way we want it and so we don’t have to change. We will even fight to keep from changing.

 

So… what do you think?  I would love to hear what you got from the story. Do you have another interpretation?

Make my day by leaving a comment below. 🙂

I’m Not Hurt, Not Really Part 2

She turned around slowly and two men with warm smiles on their faces. The older man was tall, average weight, and thinning gray hair. The other man was younger with dark hair and eyes.

“Umm..” she started to stammer not having any idea how to explain her presence.

“Can we help you?” asked the younger man.

Shaking her head, she looked past them to the door. Seeing her look, the older man chuckled.  “No need to worry, We won’t hurt you.” He walked over to her with his hand outstretched. “Hi. I’m the Pastor here. You can call me Toby. This here is my son, Jude. We’re actually glad you’re here.”

“Um… sorry for intruding. I just needed a place to hide.”

“You won’t find a safer place. Would you like to take a walk with us? We were just heading out to the lake.”

Lake? Here, in the city? Confused, she followed them down the hallway. They passed  several closed doors before Toby opened the one at the end of the hall.

“No way!” she thought as she saw what was on the other side of that door.

It opened into a large garden full of colorful blooming flowers, luscious green grass, and mighty fruit-bearing trees of every kind. A dirt path wound its way through the garden exiting at the far end. And in the distance, she could see the blue glint of water. Where in the world was she?

Toby and Jude chatted as they walked, trying to draw her in by asking her questions. They asked about her job and family as well as her concerns, cares, and dreams. Not wanting to reveal the sadness inside her – being a preacher and preacher’s son, they would be sure to try to “fix” her – she covered her feelings by answering flippantly. They didn’t seem to notice her tone, and were intensely interested in everything she said and even seem to care about everything that concerned her.

They arrived at the lake and climbed out onto a pier that jutted out over the water. IMG_20180504_145142154Sitting down, they were all quiet as they drank in the peaceful beauty of the place. Bella began relaxing as the peace soaked into her wounded soul. She had never experience as much love and acceptance from anyone as she was feeling from Toby and Jude.

After a long while, Toby turned to Bella and said, “Why don’t you tell me all about it. Just start at the beginning.”

Still covering her feelings, she continued to be flippant. “What beginning? When I was born beginning?”

Toby looked at Bella for a long minute, then said quietly, “Start at Disneyworld.”

Bella paled. Trembling, she asked, “How did you know about Disneyworld?”

“It’s my job, my gift.”

“My sisters were molested in Disneyworld. I might have been too because I was there. I can’t remember. All I know is something isn’t right inside me.”

She tried to listen to Toby as he began talking but her feelings were overwhelming her and she couldn’t hear anything but fear and doubt and condemnation. Eventually Toby’s words began to get through to her as he spoke louder and louder. When they were loud enough to drown out all her thoughts, she caught his eye and said, “OK, I can hear you. You’re preaching!”

He smiled and said, “Yes, I tend to do that.”

“I think we should leave now,” she said, wanting to avoid any more discussion.

“Sure, if you want to.” They stood up.

“I’m glad I chose to hide in your church,” she said as they walked back towards the church. “This is a good place.”

“I’m glad you accepted my invitation,” he answered. “You’re welcome to stay as long as you like.”

“Thanks, but I’m fine. I need to go.” As much as she loved being there, she was also uncomfortable. If he knew about Disneyworld, how much more did he know?

“As you will. But just know that you’re welcome back anytime. We’ll always be  here.”

They escorted her through the house and back into the foyer. Reluctantly she waved goodbye and went out the front door. She didn’t know why she was drawn to this place that both refreshed and terrified her. But she knew one day she’d be back.  And when she did, she knew Toby and Jude would be waiting for her with open arms.

 

This story, based on a dream I had years ago, is designed as an allegory. Here are a few analogies you can find in it.

The sidewalk was crowded with people – most going about their business, some feeling lost, and a few trying to connect with other people. Life is crowded with people also. Most are going about their business, not really paying attention to those around them. Some people feel lost in this world. And a few people try to connect with others to share God’s love.

Bella was surrounded by people and ended up getting hurt but chose to be in denial about how serious it was. We live in a world surrounded by people and will eventually get hurt. Many of us also tend to live in denial of the pain we have rather than allow someone else close enough to help us. At least I know I do.

The church was bigger on the inside than it looked on the outside, and contained a beautiful garden and lake. The spiritual world, heaven, is much bigger and more beautiful than it appears to those on the outside.

Bella found refuge in the home of Toby and Jude. We find refuge in God the Father and Jesus the Son.

Toby and Jude were intensely interested in everything Bella said, and cared about all her concerns.  God is intensely interested in us and cares about everything we care about.

Toby knew about the pain Bella felt deep in her soul, regardless of how flippant she tried to sound. God knows the pain deep inside us no matter what we do to try to cover it.

Even though Toby and Jude wanted Bella to stay, she was free to come and go as she pleased. We have the same freedom in God. He desires us to stay with Him all the time, but won’t force us.

 

Now your turn. Does this story relate to your life in any way? What are some other analogies you can see?

I’m Not Hurt, Not Really, Part 1

The sidewalk was crowded as Bella made her way down the street. As she walked, she watched the people. Most of the people were not paying attention to anyone else as they hurried to their destinations, not even slowing down as they bumped into fellow travelers. A few people were looking around, lost in the sea of bodies. Even fewer were the people who were actually smiling and trying to make contact with anyone who looked at them.

Bella felt alone in that crowd of people. Everyone, or at least most of them, seemed to know what they were doing and where they were going. Bella knew neither. Full of sadness that she didn’t understand, she walked through the throng trying to avoid being bumped and jostled.

Bam! Without warning, she was knocked flat to the ground.

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“Hey, are you OK?” Bella looked up to see a lady rushing towards her.

“Yeah, I’m fine.” She said, trying to brush the lady off. She didn’t need anyone’s help. But as she tried to stand, pain burst through her right hip. She looked down and saw that her entire right side was blood red.

“You ARE hurt,” the lady exclaimed, leaning over her. “Stay down. I’m going to call for an ambulance.” The lady touched her cell phone and groaned, “My battery’s dead. I’ll go find a phone. Be right back” and ran off towards a nearby store.

Bella didn’t wait for her to come back. She didn’t want her help. She was sure she was OK. Maybe a bit bruised but nothing to make a fuss over. Not near as bad as the pain inside her. She managed to get on her feet and began limping in the other direction to avoid the lady seeing her. Up ahead was a church. Perfect. she could hide in there. She really didn’t want to deal with that lady’s insistence that she needed help.

As she limped towards the church, she noticed her limp was getting less pronounced. See, she thought with justification, I’m fine.

Opening the front door to the church, she was surprised at how big it was. Much bigger IMG_20180504_145124393on the inside than it looked on the outside. She was in a large foyer. Several tables were scattered around, most with pieces of paper on them. There were signs   directing church goers to the bathrooms and exits. And in the center stood an indoor fountain. As she limped towards the fountain, she noticed several doors along the back wall. Thinking they might provide a better place to hide, she tried them. The first door went into the kitchen. She peered inside. Empty. She could hide here, but no, it was too close to the door and if that lady had seen her enter the church, it would be the first place she’d look. Bella needed to go deeper into the church.

Opening another door, Bella saw a long hallway with many more doors. Even though she wasn’t limping as much as she did at first, her hip still hurt and she didn’t feel up to trying a bunch more doors that may or may not provide a suitable hiding place. So she closed that door and opened the third door. It looked like a living room. The preacher’s private quarters? She didn’t see anyone so she decided to sneak in there to hide. If she was quiet enough, no one would know she was there. And maybe she would be lucky enough to find a back door leading to a different street where that nosy lady wouldn’t think to look.

As she made her way slowly across the living room she noticed there was indeed a doorway in the back. It looked like it led into a hallway. She shifted her course slightly and headed towards it. Just before she got there, she heard a voice.

“Well, hello there!”

She froze in her tracks. Should she make a run for it? But she was already across the room from the door, and there was no telling where the hall would lead.

To be continued.

A Bus Full of Angels

“Is that what I think it is?” she asked the girls next to her, pointing up at the sky. “Is that a … foot?”

They looked up and smiled.

“No, not really. It’s a hand.” they said together.

She looked again. Sure enough, now it looked like a hand. “That’s weird,” she said shaking her head. “I could have sworn it was a foot. Jesus’s foot.”

“No, not at all,” they answered together again.  They waved at the hand which waved back.

She tentatively waved also and watched the hand wave back at her as it descended through the sky.

Lower and lower it came until it reached the ground.

She decided better safe than sorry and ducked inside a nearby doorway. She waited a moment, then peeked around the door frame. She saw two angels and Jesus, all smiling as if proud of something. Or maybe very pleased about something.

Jesus?  Jesus! Feelings of love and want rose up in her. Jesus was there! But how could that be?

A girl pushed past her and ran outside, giving a big hug to the nearest angel.

She wanted to go outside also, but was afraid that all of this was in her head. She thought if she went outside, they would all just disappear like a puff of smoke. So she continued watching from behind the door frame.

The angels and Jesus just stood there, one angel with an arm around that girl. What were they waiting for?

Curiosity overcame her fear, and she emerged from the doorway. One of the angels got so excited seeing her that he gave Jesus a hug. It reminded her of when contestant winners who get so excited they hug anyone within arm distance.

As she slowly walked towards them, her attention was on Jesus. She noticed His medium brown hair and clear brown eyes. He looked young and beautiful. He watched her as she watched Him, and when she got within a few feet of Him, He pointed to something to her left. She turned and saw a huge bus.

Bus? She felt confused. First a hand descending from the sky, then Jesus and some angels standing in front of her, and now a bus? Did they want her to get on it or something? Why? Where would it take her?

Jesus motioned to her to follow Him. Sure enough, He led her to the bus.

OK, so He did want her on that bus. Well, she had trusted Him enough to approach Him. She was also going to trust Him now. And if He wanted her on the bus, she would get on the bus.

She climbed up the steps and sat down next to the girl that had run past her in the doorway.

“Hi, I’m Susan!” the girl said. “Isn’t this amazing? We’ve been invited to ride with Jesus! This is going to be so good!”

Well, amazing, yes. But good? She wasn’t so sure yet. IF this was real, and IF this was really Jesus, then yes, it had to be good. But what if it wasn’t? What if this was just a figment of her imagination and she was going insane? That wouldn’t be so good.

Not knowing what else to do, she grabbed Susan’s hand for security and waited for the bus to move.

Jesus climbed on and sat in the driver’s seat. The angels climbed on behind Him and sat in the only empty sea, which happened to be next to her. The rest of the seats held other angels. She was on a bus filled with angels! And Jesus was driving! She must be going crazy.

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“Everybody ready?” Jesus calls out. “We’re heading to the High Places.”

“What are the High Places?” she asked Susan. But Susan was not paying attention to her and didn’t respond.

Turning back to Jesus, she saw that He was looking into the rear view mirror towards the back of the bus. “I’m sorry,” He said to whoever He was talking to. “I must take these ladies to the High Places before I take you to your destination.” She turned to see who He was talking to. There were skeletons back there! She hadn’t noticed them when she got on the bus, but she sure did now.

Then Jesus looked at her and Susan. “This is going to be fun!”

“It already is!” Susan responded.

“Good,” he said with a smile. “But I have to warn you. Once there, you will be given a mission to accomplish that might not always be fun.”

She looked from Jesus to Susan and back to Jesus. A mission to accomplish? Not always fun? What did that mean? Did she really want to go there? Was it too late to change her mind?

He smiled reassuringly at her. “Yes, you want to be here. Because that is where I am. And what better place can you be than where I am?”

She had to agree with that. So she settled back in her seat and waited for the adventure to begin. As she waited, she got drowsy and began drifting into a pleasant sleep.

Suddenly a loud jarring noise startled her. She sat up and noticed two things. One, she was no longer on the bus. And two, her alarm clock was buzzing itself right off the side table. Had all that been a dream?

Disappointed, she got up. She wished she was still on that bus no matter where it was going because Jesus had been on it. Her heart hurt with longing to be in His presence again.

“You ARE in My presence, Little One.” She knew that voice. The still small voice.

“It’s not the same,” she told Jesus. “I can’t see You with my eyes. I can’t touch You with my hands.”

“You will one day,”

“What was that I experienced?” she asked. “Was it a spiritual experience or just a dream.” It had to be just a dream, right?  Jesus driving a bus full of angels and skeletons?

“It was neither,” He answered gently. “It was an allegory. A dream with meaning.”

“What did it mean?”

“Can’t you figure it out? Think about it.

So she did. And slowly it dawned on her. It was another way to look at her salvation. Perhaps a bit bizarre but a pretty accurate allegory all in all.

She saw Jesus from a distance and was afraid He wasn’t real. That was before she was saved.

She overcame her fear and approached Him. That would be her seeking salvation.

The angel celebrated when she met Jesus.  Don’t angels celebrate as sinners repent?

Jesus drove the bus He led her on. He was the driver – leader – in her real life, only not with a bus.

Her fear that it was all her imagination. Yes, after her salvation, there had been times she thought all of it was just an imaginary game she and others were playing.

The bus was full of angels. God has placed angels all around His people, which included her.

He was taking her to the High Places. That was most likely representative of when she would be made whole and strong and able to do the things He calls her to do, which would be the mission the dream spoke of. As in the dream, she had not reached the High Places yet so she wasn’t too sure.

And the skeletons? She had no idea. Maybe she would figure that out later. Or maybe, since they had a different destination, she wasn’t meant to figure it out. Maybe the whole point of them was to show there are things in the spirit world she knew nothing about and didn’t concern her.

“OK, Jesus,” she said. “I have to admit. That was a pretty amazing dream. There’s no end to Your creativity, is there?”

“Nope,” He said with a smile. “Ready to have some fun?”

“Ready,” she answered, also with a smile. “Start that motor and let the ride begin!”