Extraordinary. This is my life.
You know how Jim Gaffigan says that bedtime with children is a hostage situation – in reverse? On one of those nights, when my eldest daughter called me back into her room multiple times, she confided to me that she had some bad dreams. Nightmares, actually, in one of which an airplane crashed into the ocean and the people on board drowned and died. I helped her understand that she can use her imagination to create an alternate ending to the story, in which everyone is saved. With a smile, she observed, “That’s better!”
At that point, I could have left the room, and she would have been content. But I decided to go deeper. I prayed out loud that God would give Chaya good dreams. Then I said goodnight and let her fall asleep.
The next day, Chaya informed me that she remembered no dreams from that night. But the day after that, walking from her school bus to our house, she mentioned, “Mom, I had a dream last night.” I said, “Really. What was it about?” “We got a cat that had a broken leg. We brought it home and took care of it so that it could heal.” “Interesting,” I mused. Chaya added, “It was the best dream of my life. I hope it comes true.”
Chaya had been begging for an animal for over almost a year. I insisted on waiting until she showed enough responsibility to take care of a pet on her own, and my husband told her that we would talk about it after our summer trip to the States. Upon re-entry into China, Chaya reasserted, “When are you going to talk about getting a pet for me?” Josh and I discussed it and decided that a cat would be the easiest introduction into animal care for an elementary student who lives in a major city.
We did a quick internet search and found that our city has a couple of organizations which take in stray and injured animals. They give the rescued animals their vaccinations and find foster homes for them. We contacted one of these organizations and filled out a cat adoption application. The lady in charge of the feline adoptions replied and said that we could wait for a couple of weeks, and she would send recommendations to us of the cats that would fit best with our family.
We surprised Chaya with the news that we were getting a cat, and then we waited.
Chaya’s dream of the broken-legged cat came during that waiting time. After about a week, I asked, “What did the cat in your dream look like?” She didn’t know quite how to describe it. She said, “Black with… white spots. Well, not really spots… white stripes.”
After another week or so, Josh prodded me to send a follow-up email. So I asked my contact if she had any recommendations for us. I mentioned that my daughter was also very excited and had a dream about caring for a cat with a broken leg.
When my contact wrote back, she said that she had two recommended cats for us, which lived in the same foster house. And she said, “One of them has a broken leg! But it is completely healed. The bones calcified and scar tissue made it stable. You can’t even tell watching her that she has a broken femur.”
Josh and the kids went to visit the two cats, and shortly after their visit, the lady from the organization wrote again and said that it seemed the consensus that the cat with the broken leg was our ideal kitty. After all, she was the one that didn’t run away when the kids tried to play with her!
And so, less than a week later, our 6-month-old kitten with the broken femur arrived at our house.
What amazes me, aside from the laughter and playfulness that a kitten can bring to a home, is that God cares enough about a 6-year-old girl to give her a dream of the joy that was to come. A late-summer night’s dream about a cat seems trivial, but we asked God for a good dream, and He answered big.
Sometimes we don’t expect a living God to speak. On the other hand, our children are often open to hearing when God talks with them without demanding that He say something. It reminds me of the Lord’s call to Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1-10), in which Samuel responded, “Speak, for your servant is listening.” No wonder Jesus said we must be like little children to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:2-3)!
A cat may not be able to change the world… but a cat, or a dream about a cat, can change my daughter, who can change the world. Welcome to our home, Lily!