The Public Works shop has a cat. I call her Agnes.

She’s a good cat, from what I can see. One of the guys (or maybe more) feeds her and waters her. She has a litter box. She lives in the insulation in an upper storage area over the extra street signs (who knew we had ’em?) and stop signs.

When I first saw her while getting a tour of the shop, the head mechanic told me, “She doesn’t like anybody.”

Curious, I called to her. She came right out, chirping a little. She let me pet her soft head. She purred and drooled. She pushed her round head into my hand. She doesn’t come down to floor level, at least not that I’ve seen. She hangs out on the heights. She traipses a support bar and spies when she hears people down on the garage floor. She’s like a furry yet wingless barn owl, stealth killer of invading rodents.

Agnes is just one of many surprises I’ve encountered down at the shop. I doubt she’ll ever let me pet her fully, or come down to my level. I call to her and try to lure her closer, but no dice. She’s got a feral edge to her that shines out of her orange eyes. She doesn’t trust us humans to treat her right due to bad past experiences.

She reminds me of some people I’ve met. People tell me, “I believe in God. But church is full of hypocrites.” Or “I’m a spiritual person. God and I are A-Okay.” Truly, often these statements mask a deep fear of rejection and pain. We got hurt before, and it stung. In fact, it stunk! Now we believe we can hold God and His people at arm’s length and He’s fine with it. Right? He’s not. He longs to hold you close and comfort you, and whisper His myriad good thoughts about you into your spirit.

I’d love to hold Agnes and pet her, feel her warm small body tucked into my arms. I would never hurt her.  I want to tell her, people do dumb things sometimes. We’re not all jerks. Keep giving out love and you will get it. People right here in this shop take care of you. Won’t you trust them?

Agnes feels safe up high, out of reach, though. She’d have to let down her guard to get the attention she craves. I see her head turn. Her eyes lock onto mine. She wants to come down. She won’t let herself take the risk of getting hurt again.

Will you?

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed. –  Psalm 34:18



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