It wasn’t too long ago when tragic events hit our humble, normally tragic-free home. My son and I were getting ready to leave for his baseball practice and decided to go to the street and get the mail first. One of our three cats named Tiger (the oldest) thinks he is a dog, so he walks with us almost everywhere. On this trip to the mailbox, the cats (we have three: Tiger, Rocky, and Beau) were ensconced in some predator-of-the-Amazon adventure where they darted around from bush to bush avoiding the prying eyes of other imaginary predators. The youngest of the cats, named Beau, came streaking down the driveway I assume to pounce on Tiger like a revengeful Rambo. As my son and I watched the mayhem, we noticed a car coming up the hill. It was one of those moments that you just knew what was about to happen: As Beau came barreling down the driveway, Tiger dodged left and at the same time the car was hauling butt towards us and spooked Beau. My son and I watched in horror as Beau ran right at the car; we were no more than 8-10 feet away. Beau was run over by the front tire right down the middle of his body…I mean square. As the front tire raced over him, it flipped him over just in time for Beau to be run over a second time by the back tire…you guessed it, right over his abdomen again, except this time he was on his back! The car raced on by, seemingly unaware of the carnage it had left in its wake. I have unfortunately seen many animals meet their demise at the impact of an automobile.
This was bad.
Beau, after the second impact, shot like a dart into the neighbors back woods. I have seen this before: I’m not sure of the medical or scientific explanation, but I guess there is a shot of adrenaline in the shocked system or something that gives animals that last burst of energy. Anyway, I looked at my son and we both had the expression of “holy crap…did we just see that?” I expressed to my son that Beau was basically toast…that he would just have to be mush with no less than a broken back. We decided to look for him anyway; we scanned the woods and under the neighbor’s house but there was no sign of him or sound of him more importantly. After a while, we gave up the search and had to make baseball practice. On the way to practice, I called my wife to give her the unfortunate news. She took my call as she was headed to pick up our daughter from her after-school program. She expressed sadness from her own heart; but I could tell (and she said as much) that breaking the news to our daughter would be the most heart-breaking of the ordeal. As with most young girls, animals and especially pets rank very high on the list of holy and loved. But as we hung up, my wife stated that she planned to find Beau one way or another before it got dark.
They searched and called and “here kitty, kitty, kitty”-ed for over an hour…no luck. My daughter wept and began to lose her grip on the reality of the situation. She was trying to make sense of a senseless situation. My wife told me later that after the search, our daughter withdrew in her sorrow and prayed to God to bring Beau back home. When I arrived home with my son, there she was kneeled at the corner of the couch with tears streaming down her face. It was like a scene in a movie: she looked up from her hard work of praying to be only slightly distracted by the two of us coming through the door…teary eyes that reflected sorrow and resolve.
Of course, it broke my heart.
I knelt down and put my arm around her and told her I was sorry for her pain. She looked me right in the eye and said that Beau could still be alive. Time-out here: remember my son and I saw the incident and would never describe to her the severity of the impact, but I didn’t want her to misplace her hope either. I began to give The Speech: something like, “sweetheart, sometimes things happen in life that we don’t understand…in the long run, we will understand God’s plan…I’m sure that Jesus will take good care of Beau” to my daughter’s ears, I’m sure it sounded more like, “blah, bla-bla-bablah, blah, blah” because she stood her ground and insisted that I had no proof of Beau’s proposed death: there was no body, there was no blood, the only witnesses were not sharing much detail of the crime and anyway, it was our word against her prayer to God. I could not fight against such logic…she wins…again! I simply gave her a kiss on the forehead with no reply; she smiled.
The next morning, I awoke to my wife whispering to me that Beau was in the bathroom. I was sure I was dreaming or that she was messing with me. I shook the haze of sleep and asked her to repeat. “BEAU IS IN THE BATHROOM”, she whisper-yelled. I shot up out of bed and looked at her in amazement and skepticism. There he was, shivering and contorted into a strange ball-shape…pitiful and cold and ALIVE! Let’s put this into perspective: our house is up a small hill from the street and the neighbor’s house, our bedroom is upstairs, so…Beau would have had to climb out of the woods, across the street, up the driveway, through the pet-doors, across the house, up the freaking stairs, and end up in the first place my wife would see him. This is not fiction and I am not stretching the truth in the least. My wife and daughter rushed him to the vet on the way to school, and I headed to work still reeling from the “Pet Cemetary” morning. Are you kidding me? How…It’s impossible, unless…no…the car could have…no…I saw it with my own eyes, so how…
I got the call around 10:30 a.m. from my wife: her first words were, “Beau’s fine”. There was a long silence; and I finally replied with a well-thought-out response of, “Wha?”…kind of like Scooby-Doo’s interrogatory, “Rhuuuuu?” According to my wife’s report from the vet, Beau was fine except for a broken hind leg. His leg is in a cast, and we can come pick him up at the end of the day. They wanted to keep an eye on him for the rest of the day, but they were fairly confident that we would be receiving Lazarus…I mean Beau…and taking him home tonight. After the conversation with my wife, I sat in my vehicle on the job-site I was working at and reflected on what I had just witnessed. Every Christian and probably everyone else on the planet has had that moment in their life where God speaks to us in a real way. Your heart begins to swell like it would explode, tears of joy and something indescribable begin to flow, and you get this electric-jolt of bright tunnel-vision in your eyes and mind…it is a supernatural presence that touches you to the core. All of a sudden, the Truth hits you square…just like the tires running over our beloved cat. I saw in an instant the profoundness of the moment…How dare I doubt the power of prayer!
One of the absolute joys in life and having children is learning from them. Sometimes we are so busy being in charge and running the show that we can miss the nuggets of wisdom that children leave sitting around our busy lives. Jesus was very clear when He stated that we must approach Him with the heart of a child. But we don’t really understand what this means in its essence until we can see it in a child and be reminded of what that heart feels like. So many stories I want to share in the future about learning from children, but now is not the time. Now is the time to understand the lesson: my daughter is a believer in Jesus and she understands that prayers are heard, she prayed with all her heart (there were no half-measures here), she believed her prayers were heard with all her heart, she did not waver in her belief…even when her old-man told her that it was basically hopeless. The lesson is the heart. The heart that feels, the heart that believes, the heart that is strong, the heart that is confident, the heart that knows it’s Maker, is the most powerful thing on this planet we call earth. Period.
The miracle was not so much that Beau amazingly limped away from certain death, but that our Lord and Savior shows His divine and sweet nature by hearing a child’s prayer and teaching that child’s father a monumental lesson in faith and love. The God of the universe, the Creator of all things, the One who placed each of us on this planet, has an open and sensitive heart to those who call on His name and call Him their God!
By the way, Beau is a perfectly wonderful cat with no side effects from death’s door. Against Beau’s wishes, I have included a photo of him in this post. May God bless you and remind you that He hears your every prayer with a fervent, longing, and loving heart. Dear Lord, help us to all have the heart of a child!