The dark season of Lent is ending and Easter is upon us!
Writing an Easter sermon (or an April newsletter) while still in the middle of Lent is a strange place to be in. The cat is still in her Lenten purple collar (yes, the cat is very concerned with wearing the appropriate liturgical color). The cross is still dark. We haven’t started rejoicing yet. We haven’t laid Jesus in the tomb, even though we will discover soon enough on Easter morning that the tomb will be empty.
It’s a strange time to write about joy.
We’re preparing for Easter, but we aren’t there yet, at least as this newsletter is printed and uploaded and sent out.
Almost, but not yet.
In this in-between time, let me tell you a story about an adventure that I had with Gingersnap in January.
It was in January that Gingersnap and I discovered that she was capable of jumping up onto the kitchen counters. She might have been pleased with this discovery, but I was NOT (to put it mildly). As I was cleaning up the mess of a knocked-over sugar bowl that was the result of this discovery, I told the cat in no uncertain terms that it was her own darn fault I was running the vacuum and that if she been a more well-behaved cat, I would be petting her but, because she had to go and make a mess, I was cleaning instead. Seeing that I wasn’t giving her the attention she wanted, she left to sulk in another room.
I finished cleaning, read a magazine, cooked some food, ate it, and realized that I hadn’t seen the cat in a while. So I looked over the whole manse in all her usual favorite spots: the ottoman that has a small entrance and a cushion inside, the spot in front of her favorite heater grate, the cat tree, the pile of packing paper, any of the empty boxes…she was nowhere to be found.
Scratching my head, I popped open a can of wet food and put it down for her, figuring that she’d drawn to the smell of dinner.
Still no cat.
There was snow on the ground, so obviously there were no open windows she could have slipped out of. I hadn’t gone anywhere that day, so there was no way she could have gotten past me through an open door. She HAD to be somewhere inside.
I stayed up late, listening for the jingle of her collar. A few times, I thought I heard something, but couldn’t find the source. Come on, cat! The poodle I grew up with would NEVER have done this to me!
Finally, I went to bed.
I was having no luck.
How was I supposed to find her? How could I have lost an indoor-only cat? How could I possibly explain it to the nice person who had brought her to me in the first place? “Thanks again for that very beautiful cat. I, um, kind of lost her, though”?
I woke up in the morning, put the kettle on for tea, and went down to the basement to check on the can of food I’d opened the night before. It still hadn’t been touched! It had been eighteen hours at this point since I’d last seen this cat and she hadn’t even eaten in all that time!
“Gingersnap, where are you?!” I asked of the empty basement.
“meow?” I heard softly, from…above my head?
Gingersnap’s worried little face was peering out from the ceiling, where a tile had been removed to let a pipe through.
And so I came to discover that my dumb cat had gotten herself stuck in the ceiling of the basement for eighteen hours.
I pulled a stool over so I get high enough up to pull her down, marched her upstairs, closed the gate, and haven’t let her back in the basement since. There’s nothing in the ceiling except for cobwebs and loneliness.
On Easter morning, there will be nothing in the tomb except some spices and a forgotten shroud.
shalom and agape,
Rev Leia Rose Battaglia