Mr. Henry’s Wild Ride: Or… what happens when the chaplain is sleep-deprived

Last week was one of those weeks where sleep deprivation did a number on me. I had to take my car in to our mechanic for servicing, which required that I ride the bus home. I am normally a functioning adult and have no trouble picking the right bus. However, due to the creeper factor (creepy mid-day bus riders who are not professionals coming home from work), I left the bus shelter too quickly and boarded the wrong bus. I realized this, of course, well into the bus route that was quickly winding far away from my neighborhood.

I felt a little sheepish. I had reacted out of instinct – Get away from the creeper. Board a bus. ANY bus.

Exactly what I counsel my daughters not to do… Sigh.

I claim sleep deprivation as my excuse, since Wednesday was a short-night of sleep and Thursday morning’s commute home took twice as long. I did get a short nap before driving my car to the mechanic. But it was not enough to be quick on my feet.

When I found common sense returning, I pulled out my phone to verify where the bus route would terminate (at a Metro station), rode back to the original Metro station where I first started my crazy journey, and boarded a bus (the correct one, this time!) to Bearded Brewer’s office. It was a happy coincidence that he was ready to go home anyway.

IMG_3281When we got home, we realized we were minus a cat. When and how it happened we don’t know, but Henry managed to slip out some time between Wednesday afternoon (when I was working in the back yard before I went to work) and Thursday morning (when the back door was open and the screen ajar). I worked Wednesday night, and other than noting his absence that morning, we were both clueless.

We went through every crevice and hidey-hole in the house. No Henry. The other cats paced. We worried. No sign of him all night. We searched the yard and the neighborhood. No sassy boy cat. We sent out prayer SOS bulletins. We went to sleep, worried. Somewhere around 4 am, Henry was mewing at the back door.

We petted him, thanked God, and fell dead asleep. Henry roamed the house, nervous and ill at ease. His caterwauling was music to our ears! He got a visit to the vet for his troubles the next day. (And while we were at it, we took Tiria along for company and her shots.) So ended another tale of Mr. Henry’s Wild Ride.

While it took me a few days to process all this (remember I was sleep-deprived) I finally did reach some conclusions. Here’s what I’ve decided…

There are times we all get going in the wrong direction. And most of the time, we come to our senses and get a do-over. It took a while for me to connect-the-dots on my errant bus ride and Henry’s little adventure. I’m guessing that by the time Henry realized he was on the wrong side of the door, that he wished mightily for things to change. It took a while to sort things out, but eventually, he was inside again.

There are also times we take off on our own, determined to strike out on a new adventure, only to realize it was a terrible mistake. And like the Prodigal in the Bible, the door is always open and we are welcomed home. More times than I want to remember, God’s love and acceptance welcomes my rebellious, stubborn heart home where it belongs.

There are times when the best thing we can do is sleep on it. And then, with a few more REM cycles in our pockets, reconsider what we need to do to make things right. That goes for politics, people, and pussycats.

Thanks be to God.

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