What Rowan Taught Me

When we first got Rowan, it was clear that she was a different kind of cat.  I even invented a new taxonomy for her–“Upper Arlington Streaked Coat Toy Panther.”  She continued being a kitten past her official kitten-hood, digging in people’s purses and taking bites out of unguarded sandwiches.  Rowan was also the most affectionate cat we ever had and our favorite pet ever, counting childhood.  That made it all the harder to find her dead early one morning, stretched out on the grass where a motorist had laid her.  She had only lived a few years.

Rowan had a habit of living free and breaking the rules.  That meant not being very afraid of the vacuum cleaner or the lawn mower.  Yes, it also meant taking chances with cars.  Sometimes she would run in front of them,  relying on her little cat speed to cheat death, if only by a few inches.  It was just a matter of time before her luck ran out. 

As I thought about the incident, I was reminded that breaking the rules are fun, exhilarating.  However, the odds of tragedy finally have to come down hard on it.  Consequences will not continue looking the other way.  I can’t say that this is the only thing that crossed my mind as I put Rowan’s smallish form in the cardboard box.  There was sorrow.  Then there was a bit of anger at her because of her impulsiveness.  How many times had I tried to keep her from bolting out, wild, and uncooperative?  Ultimately I guess I couldn’t blame her, though.  She was just a cat.

From some higher vantage point, I remembered that I have a keeper who constantly warns and tirelessly restrains.  As Moses warned the people, “for sure your sin will find you out” (Num. 32:23).   And my heart response to this verse is, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”


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