A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24
I looked around and noticed that the cord had been tied to a stake in our nearby pineapple patch. Following the cord led me to an empty harness. With eyeballs popping out, I quickly surveyed the area … no kitty! As Pat came whipping around the corner on the mower, I wildly flagged him down, yelling, “Where’s the cat?” He pointed to the pineapple patch. I repeated my question. Again, he pointed. By the third time, reality began to register with him. He turned off the mower, marched over to the patch, picked up the cord and followed it, only to come to the same conclusion I had—no kitty!
My next six hours were spent roaming the grassy, tree-covered hills of Paauilo, calling her name while sending arrow prayers heavenward. Reality quickly began to sink in. How would I ever find her? How would she ever find her way home? What about the mongoose, owls and hawks? She is so little! I allowed myself to break into tears just once. My biggest challenge was keeping myself from yelling terrible accusations at Pat. After all, who on earth would tie up a three-month-old kitten in a pineapple patch and then happily mow all around it?
Eventually, I called all my neighbors to put them on red alert. On my third trip around the area, I stopped at Joe and Kelly’s place. After we unsuccessfully inspected their seven-acre property, Joe announced that he would get his three kids in on the search. With that, I offered a ten-dollar reward if they found her. (I know that sounds a little on the cheap side, but heck, these are kids and times are tough!) I will spare you the details and skip to the end of the story. Joe’s thirteen-year-old daughter, Taryn, prowled their property, eventually spotting Little Miss Runaway in their huge pasture. (Let’s not mention the fact that this pasture contained one very large steer named Stew!) Taryn was able to motivate Makai toward the yurt, and with Pat on the constant lookout, she soon popped her orange head out of the Ti Leaf patch that boardered one side of our hog-wire fenced yard. Using the white cord as kitty enticement, I was eventually able to grab the missing family member! “What a relief” is an understatement. Pat immediately dove into his wallet and produced a ten-dollar bill as payment to Taryn, indicating, “I think this is my responsibility.” Rolling my eyes, I didn’t argue the fact.
So now you have the mechanics of what went on during the big search. But what was really going on here? I had actually planned to write on the topic of things that stick. I don’t remember the original intent, but I do believe that God had something else in mind. So what are some things that stick? Honey sticks. Syrup sticks. Toilet paper can stick. Fly paper sticks. Candy can be sticky. On and on it goes. A Bible verse indicates that there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Is the author talking about a true friend or Jesus? I am not absolutely sure, but maybe both. During the emotional ordeal of searching for my tiny tabby, I needed someone to stick this out with me. Pat was dumbfounded when Makai went missing. He knows how much I love her and how special she is to me. (I think he secretly loves her too.) He hated seeing me in pain as I called for her hour after hour. At one point, he simply disappeared. I think he went off to pray. He stuck closer than a brother. Then, he took up his post at the yurt in the event she returned while I was off on the search. Taryn joined the team. Would I say she stuck closer than a brother? She didn’t give up and was even present when Makai was actually found. But I think the lesson here, for me, was to put feet to my faith. I believe it is Jesus who truly sticks closer than a brother! So I prayed and prayed and prayed. I told Him I knew that He knew exactly where she was, that finding her would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack. (And who is in charge of both the needle and the haystack?) I reminded Him that He had given her to me as a special gift, and I asked Him to help me to not come unglued if she didn’t return, as well as help me to forgive Pat. You see, an orange tabby kitten had become stuck to my heart, just like glue to paper. And as Makai was stuck to me, I was stuck to Jesus. He promises me, “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you,” (Hebrews 13:5b. Also see Deuteronomy 31:6 and 31:8, and Joshua 1:5). Wow, that is “stuck,” isn’t it? So as Makai was happily on the lam, I stuck with my Savior while taking the human footsteps toward her return. We all worked together and eventually the prodigal kitty returned! Who are you stuck to?