We adopted a cat yesterday. We named her Essie. It seemed fitting; she was a stray at my in-laws’ church, and one of her primary caretakers there was a little girl with the same name. Essie the girl comes from a country in Africa that typically treats cats like vermin. The fact that she showed Essie the cat perhaps the most tender care of anyone at the church is not lost on us.
Essie is already filling a hole in our collective family heart, formed when we were abruptly forced to say goodbye to our oldest cat, Mimi, two months ago. The day she died, I decided that, if we were ever to get another cat, it would have to find us, not the other way around. My husband and two of the three kids spent yesterday morning at a rummage sale at the church while I stayed behind to play chauffeur to the middle child, who had two birthday parties to attend. When my husband texted me the picture of Essie, I asked whose cat she was. He replied: “Ours.” That was it. I knew we had been found.
Essie has only been with us a short time, but already, she has reminded me that the most important things in life are not those we actively seek. They’re the things that catch us off guard, the things that make us halt in our forward-marching steps, the things that force us to re-evaluate where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. Often, they can also be beautiful reminders that second chances are real, and that they are gifts.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. — James 1:17