The Queen of My Castle

In spring of 2002, my little sister, Jen, slowly Army-crawled across the deck behind our parents’ house to catch a wild kitten that had been hanging around with its two siblings. When Jen caught this kitten, it made some of most horrible, angry noises I had ever heard come out of an animal, especially of that size.

Over the course of several days (and much to the chagrin of our dad), Jen would keep it locked in a bathroom the few times she didn’t have it in her arms forcing love upon it. It took quite some time, but this little cat finally relented and became one of the family.

Jen named her “Phoebe”, and she lived in the house with us until Jen and Stephen got married to moved to a house in Mansfield in 2005. Phoebe lived with their growing family of children and pets and moved to Lexington with them in 2010. It didn’t take long to become apparent that Phoebe wasn’t happy with the move. She wasn’t eating, and she was marking the kids’ things. Jen and Stephen knew they couldn’t keep her anymore.

I wasn’t interested in any pets. I had a crazy schedule and really didn’t want the responsibility. But, that cat was special to me because of the circumstances surrounding the way we obtained the cat, so I told Jen I would take her. I was fortunate to have purchased their house in Mansfield from them when they moved, so Phoebe was coming back to familiar territory.

Phoebe wasn’t a needy cat. She did her own thing, and she made spots around the house her own. She would follow me from room to room, chilling out on the floor or adjacent furniture. Once in a while, she would come up to get her ears scratched. When she had her fill, she would go back to lounging. When I would go on overnight or weekend visits or be gone for camp, my mom would come make sure she had her food and water. Mom told me on several occasions Phoebe would run to the door when she’d come it only to act annoyed that it wasn’t me coming through the door. I remember many times coming home from those trips and she would be meowing at the door before I could get it unlocked. I’d scoop her up and scratch her ears until she’d had her fill. Then, she would wander off to lounge.

A couple months ago, I came home from an overnight trip to find she hadn’t touched her food, which was very odd. She also had been dropping more fur than usual. I decided I had better take her to the vet. Some medication cleared up the fur issue, but she still had some issues that kept her from eating. A couple more visits helped things along, but this ended up being something she couldn’t bounce back from.

I did my best to keep her comfortable. She slept in my lap while did things on my computer. I made sure she had food in case she wanted it and water in multiple rooms. Phoebe fought hard. My family and I thought she’d go sooner than she did. Jen, Stephen, Mom and I got to say goodbye to her yesterday before we did some family things. And Phoebe peacefully went to sleep for the last time.

It’s going to be weird not having my little roommate of 5 years pawing at my shoulder in the morning when the alarm goes off because she knows that means treats. It’s going to be weird not having her run from the opposite end of the house because she hears me opening a window for her to sit in. It’s going to be weird not having to vacuum the rugs in my room multiple times a week. It’s going to be weird not coming home from a trip and being able to scoop her up to scratch her ears because she missed me when I was gone.

I’ll miss you, Phoebs. I already do. Thanks for being the Queen of my Castle.

This Patch of Pain

These last few months have been agonizing at times. Not just for me, but for people close to me…family and friends alike. There has been death, sickness, endings to relationships, insecurity, lapses in judgement, loss of trust, depression, financial strains, and the list goes on. It feels like every time I turn around, I’m hearing another story about someone going through a really hard time.

I often wondered why this is…why is it that so many that are close to me are dealing with so much. While I pondered these things over the past couple months, I was reminded of some things.

  1. It started at the beginning.

    I’m referring to Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve had one rule to follow: don’t touch the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. (Genesis 2:16-17). Except they couldn’t handle that. In Genesis 3, Eve listened to someone she shouldn’t have listened to and ate some of the fruit. However, before the woman-bashing starts, lets not forget the end of verse 6 which states, “Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too” [emphasis added] (Genesis 3:1-6). Way to stand up, Adam. Sheep.

    So, as a result, we get fun things like pain during childbirth, working hard to live, and death (Genesis 3:16-19). Goodbye, perfect world.

  2. Jesus said this would happen.

    This one got me when I was reminded of it. I was at camp attending morning devotions, and the camper who was leading the discussion asked us why bad things happen to good people? My pastor, Joel, said that Jesus said it himself:

    …everyone will hate you because you are my followers.

    But the good news is the rest of that verse:

    But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Mark 13:13)

Lots of junk is going on. It hurts. I know. I’m experiencing some of it. But there are a couple things I like to remember: a) I serve a God who is bigger than all of it and b) I’m not alone in my struggles or pain. We’re all in this together.

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12)

Read Psalm 91, and be encouraged.

Thanks for reading,
Jon Cole

The Women in My Life

A couple weeks ago, we had a ladies banquet at church to honor the women in our lives. Our pastor, Joel, asked us, as the men of the church, to say something about the woman in our lives. Since I don’t have “that special lady” as of yet, I chose to talk about some other special women in my life…my mom, my sister, and my grandma.

I had in my head that afternoon leading up the event that it would be easy for me to speak at length about what these women mean to me. There’s a couple of problems with that line of thinking. First, if I don’t have something prepared, I panic in front of crowds. I cannot just speak off the top of my head. Just ask the girls that were in Impact Worship Center’s youth group a couple years ago when i was asked to speak. I nearly knocked the stool over that I was to sit on just trying to form words. Second, I get emotional. That is definitely something I got from my dad. It doesn’t take much for me to form tears. Just ask anyone who’s heard me talk at length about my nieces and nephews or my soccer girls.

When it was my turn in front of everybody, I choked out about 3 sentences…hardly the justice and appreciation they deserve.

Mom and I playing Rock Band

Mom and I playing Rock Band

So, without further ado… Continue reading