Have you ever felt helpless?
Let me explain.
I mean, have you ever felt helpless as a man?
Let me explain further.
How do you feel when something bad happens and you as the strong husband and father can’t make things better?
Looking back at my time as a husband and father, the times that have really humbled me are those times when I couldn’t be the hero in the midst of a problem. In those times, the bad didn’t have a tangible solution that I could work on, there was not a tool in the shed to fix it, or a way to easily make things right.
Recently, we had a situation at our house that may not sound too bad, but was a situation where I did not have an answer to fix it.
Our kids had wanted a pet for as long as they have been able to talk. We had gone through the pet fish cycle several times, but they still had a desire for something they could pet and interact with. Due to bad allergies, we had kept putting off getting a “real” pet because if we were going to get an animal it was going to be a forever home for the animal. During the summer, we stayed on a farm for a few days and they had 2 week old bunnies that they let our kids bring to the farmhouse for a couple of hours a day. Well, when we got home it was evident that their desire for a pet was at a fever pitch. We thought about getting a bunny and did a lot of research only to find out that they didn’t necessarily interact with you much and could be quite messy and problematic.
We started looking at a cat as a possible pet because I had grown up with cats. So, we read all about allergies and cats and decided we needed to do some work to make sure that we wouldn’t have problems. We took my son to a couple of shelters to see how he did holding a few cats and within 10-15 minutes he would start having problems. We thought all was lost with the idea of having a cat as a pet until we read somewhere that there was a breed of cat that was very hypoallergenic. Just for kicks, I typed in the name of the breed and to my surprise I found that the only breeder in our state for this breed lived in our city. I contacted the breeder and she had just had two litters born a month before and had three kittens available. So, I asked the breeder if it was possible to come and visit and see how our son did with the breed. We were able to go and visit the breeder for a couple of hours one Sunday after church and the kids had no problems at all with 14 cats running all over the place.
We decided after another visit with no allergy issues to get the kitten that had become the kids’ favorite. The breeder’s kids had named the kitten Silver, and our kids thought it fit him perfectly. Over the course of a couple of months, Silver had become fully entwined into our family. The kids played with Silver every day after school and loved him probably more than they loved each other. Then, in November, on a day that both my wife and I were off from work while the kids were at school, we were trying to get some things ready for a birthday party and we noticed that Silver was missing. We didn’t see him escape. We looked all through the house with no luck. We looked all around the yard with no luck. Because we didn’t see him get out, we were not sure that he had gotten outside and the thoughts that he wasn’t responding to us did not seem good. Well, we searched the rest of the day and even got some help to try and find Silver with no luck. Our kids stay at my parent’s every Friday night, so we carried them over there after school and didn’t tell them hoping that Silver would show up. We researched everything we could think of for missing cats and tried to look everywhere that was suggested. The next morning we told the kids and they were heartbroken and almost grief-stricken. We decided to pass out flyers in our neighborhood so we ran off a bunch of flyers and placed them on mailboxes throughout the neighborhood. We put out notices on facebook and emailed as many neighbors as we had emails. We went out and called for Silver multiple times a day and hunted in the woods, swampy area near our neighborhood, neighbor’s yards, and stormwater drains. It was as if Silver had vanished. Our world had been turned upside down. We searched during the day and several times during the night for several days. We put out food on the porch on the front and back. But…….No signs. We had calls from neighbors that had seen cats they didn’t remember and we tracked those down. The poor cats in our neighborhood were so used to being looked at that they would almost hold their paws up and wave when we came by. Still……nothing.
I couldn’t do anything to make it better. I couldn’t blame the kids because my wife and I were the only one’s there when he went missing. I could only hold out hope that Silver would come back. I could only hope that someone might find him. I could only trust that whatever God had in store for this situation was going to be for His good.
All we could do was wait. And wait some more. We still would search daily for Silver but the search was just routine after several days. The hope of finding him seemed dimmer each day.
After a week, we had a friend that loaned us a humane animal trap in hopes that Silver might come to a food source if no one was around if he was still alive. So, we set that up in the yard. We checked several times a day only to find an empty trap.
On the 9th day that he was missing, I was at home and a call came in to my cell phone from a number I didn’t recognize. A lady said that they had found Silver and they had brought him into their house and we could come get him. We had had several false alarms during the week he was gone, so I didn’t say anything to the rest of the family and I grabbed the cat carrier, got in the car, and headed up the road a half a mile away to the house. I got there and it was Silver. He had lost several pounds and he was weak and had a hoarse meow, but overall in good condition considering. I put Silver in the carrier and on the way home called my wife to tell her that I had Silver. She wasn’t sure if I was kidding but I told her I would be home in a minute. The family met me by the garage and were all thrilled to have this member of our family home. Silver ate and ate and then slept and slept. He was happy to be home and purred with a huge motor when anyone held him for a few days. We think he slipped out when we were going out the morning that he vanished and then followed the stormwater drain across the street from our house up to where the house where he was found.
Looking back, it was a very trying experience for all of us. Also, though, it was a very rewarding experience for all of us. There were people in the neighborhood, people all over the country that follow the blogs, church members, family members, and many people that we don’t even know that were all very concerned for Silver and prayed for his safe return. It was not like one or two, it was hundreds of people that let us know they were thinking about us, praying for us, and seeing if there was any way that they could help. Two months later, we are still hearing from people that said I prayed that you would find your cat, and I even put cat food out in my yard in case he came to my house and needed to eat. For a few days after he went missing, we saw several neighbors that were going up and down the road slowly through the neighborhood looking to see if they saw Silver. It was amazing to see how people could relate to the feeling of missing a pet and wanting to help. My wife wrote several posts during the first part of November at Peacefulwife.com about the experience if you want to read more about it.
Has there been a situation where you as a man felt helpless to try to fix? We like to feel like we can be Superman in so many ways and thrive in that position. Who doesn’t want to feel like the super hero of their wife? Who doesn’t want to be the guy that can do no wrong in their daughter’s eyes? Occasionally, though, kryptonite will come and we have to be human. How do we react?
I am sure all of us have been touched by some type of kryptonite in our lives. It may be cancer, death, sickness, a divorce, or an automobile accident. It is frightening as a man to face the fact that often we cannot do anything to fix those situations. In reality, we find out that we like to be God in so many situations. We like to be able to control everything just the way that we like. When kryptonite comes, we realize that our only hope is putting our faith in the true God. We can’t fix everything, but we can have trust in the One who can.
Can kryptonite help us grow? It depends. Do we seek Him in the midst of the storm or do we cast stones at Him? Do we get angry that we are reminded how little we are or do we celebrate how BIG He is? What will you choose?