Finding Grace, By Lorie Sheffer Guest Blogger

house cats
Gracie Feb 4, 2012 (photo: Lorie Sheffer)

I’m writing this on Saturday morning, at 1:49 AM. I have only slept about 4 hours since Wednesday night, when my cat, Gracie, got out of the house. We brought her in as a stray almost exactly a year ago. Wednesday was unseasonably warm, and I asked my husband to open a window for some fresh air while I was restoring some antique furniture. He forgot that in the fall I had put the screens up. Cats are curious, and about an hour later we were trying to coax Gracie from under the deck. She bolted, as frightened cats will do, and vanished into thin air.

We stayed up all night, calling out into the night and printing out flyers. We canvassed the neighborhood and set food out for her. Nothing. I am rather severely claustrophobic, but I crawled under decks on my stomach, hitting my head on the supports. I have the bruised, swollen knees and cuts to prove it.

My life hasn’t been so easy over the past years. I know that we all have our losses and challenges, but it seems that I was dealt so much, and all at once. My cats are my comfort. I always say that I am only a pair of smelly terry cloth scruffs and a flower printed housedress away from being The Crazy Cat Lady. Little by little, my faith has eroded. I just spoke to Jeff about how I feel that praying is like having a conversation with myself.

Tonight we were taking cat-watching shifts. Gary was sleeping on the sofa and I was texting my daughter. She asked if I was still calling for Gracie. I said, “This is like praying- you keep calling but you never get even the slightest response. Which leads you to the conclusion you’re just talking to yourself.” She replied, “But what if she DOES hear you?” I shot back, “I have lost faith. If she comes home that will be an unexpected surprise. But I don’t think she ever will.”

With that, I went to the patio door and called into the night for what seemed like the thousandth time. The neighbors must love me! This time I thought I heard a faint meow. I called again. Nothing. I called yet again, thinking I had probably heard our other cat meowing from the dining room. This time I heard a louder sound from the back yard. I woke Gary and told him to come listen. After several more calls back and forth, I saw her walking toward me. She circled the pool cover a few times and then ran into my arms.

I am happy to report, I have found Grace.

By jeff noel

Retired Disney Institute Keynote Speaker and Prolific Blogger. Five daily, differently-themed personal blogs (about life's 5 big choices) on five interconnected sites.