Can relationships change? Let’s ask the cat.

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Most of you know that I have a complicated relationship with my daughter’s cat. He’s young, impulsive, underfoot–the usual. And I am a dog person. He lives in my house because I can’t say no to my daughter, not because I wanted him. Lately, however something has changed in our feline/human relationship.

He’s been sweet. Almost charming (for a cat). And I’ve been tolerant. It makes me nervous.

Tyson now runs to the door (regardless of where he is in the house) to greet me when I come home. If he is meowing in the next room and I say, “Tyson. What’s the matter Little Man?” He will run to me and jump up on the couch. Neither one of us knows what to do once he gets there but he obviously wants my attention. And I obviously care why he’s distressed.

What is going on?!

I have never really liked cats and this cat has bitten me and never been a cuddler. But all of a sudden we are finding ourselves in a relationship.

So the question is do I treat this cat in my experience of his (and other cats’) behavior? Or do I walk in an attitude that things can change and try to have a loving relationship with him?

I’m a believer that things rarely “just change.” And I also believe that once we cross bridges in relationships, we rarely can (or want to ) cross back over. This, by the way, is a completely un-Christian attitude.

I struggle with walking in the truth of my experiences and walking in the hope of change (in me and others) that Christ promises. It’s so much easier to “move on” and not walk through the pain of dealing with each other. However, I cling to the fact that Jesus does not do this with me; I trust that He walks through my crap with me. He doesn’t give up on me.

I need to walk out my relationships better. To find the balance between healthy boundaries (the father let the prodigal go) and forgiveness (the father ran to the prodigal as soon as he saw he was on the way home) Luke 15:11-32 

I also need to take seriously the 7 times 70 attitude. When asked by my kindred-spirit Peter, “How many times do I have to forgive my brother?” <enter eye roll here> “Like, 7 times?!” Jesus answered, 7 times 70. His point, don’t keep track and don’t give up on relationships.

That sucks because I’m good at tracking and giving up….

As I continue on with this cat I know he’s going to bite me again, I know he’ll ignore me when I want him and I know that he will want me when I’m not in the mood or place to give him attention. But if a cat and I can come to a better relationship, surely there’s hope for my human relationships.

I must choose to give the people I love (and even those that I don’t) in my life the grace Jesus extends to me. The Father never stops looking out for his son’s return–that’s why he sees him “while he was still far off.” I too must look for opportunities to love and forgive and restore relationship and run toward the opportunity.

Even with the cat.

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