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On February 26, I caught a cat that had been living in my attic. For a couple of weeks before that, we heard noises that sounded either like mice scurrying around in the attic or squirrels scampering on the roof. We intended to place some live traps into our tiny attic, but before we had a chance to do anything, we started hearing larger noises at night before we went to sleep. And then, on February 25, I woke up to my husband telling me he had heard what sounded like meowing for 20-30 minutes in the middle of the night.

On the advice of a neighbor, we put a security camera and a dish of cat food in the attic to see what kind of animal was up there. Within an hour, we caught the cat on camera. We were able to trap the cat in a live trap, where we realized he was a beautiful black cat, and definitely not full grown. It just so happened that I also had a terrible cold and felt miserable when we caught our attic-dweller.

I stood out by the live trap next to this terrified cat. I tried to speak softly to him, but my voice was hoarse from sickness. I had a box of tissues in my hand. I felt overwhelmed.

Just one day earlier Russia began its invasion of Ukraine.

Our family had spent most of the month of February with someone sick.

The world felt like a giant, neverending dumpster fire.

I had no idea how to take care of a cat, let alone an unsocialized cat who climbed his way into my attic.

I crouched down to look into the live trap. There was Atticus our attic cat with pure black fur and golden green eyes. He was just as terrified by the whole thing as I was (and arguably more). I whispered to him through my hoarse voice that we were going to be ok, and then I felt a laugh bubble up inside. Into the midst of a heavy and hurting world, this little cat was a beacon of light and a reminder that this world still contains beautiful things. So many terrible things, but also so many delightful things. They just aren’t always as forthright as the tough things sometimes. They even hide away in our attics and wait for us to find them.

Reader 1: After God made the world and everything in it, God created human beings in his image.
Reader 2: “So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27).

Reader 1: It wasn’t long before pain entered the picture. Conflict and struggle in relationships. Loss and violence. Greed, oppression, and death.
Reader 2: When the world was formless and void, God created light. God walked with the people and loved them, but they “loved darkness rather than light” (John 3:19).

Reader 1: God has not given up on us. Even when the world feels unbearably heavy, even when the difficulties feel like more than we can bear, God still shows up and shines light. God still lavishes us with grace and kindness. God still pours out hope.
Reader 2: In Psalm 139, the psalm writer talks about how ever-present God is. The psalmist can’t escape by sprouting wings and flying away, or by running to the farthest shoreline. God is everywhere. God’s light is everywhere. O, how we need it.

Reader 1: The psalmist realized the nearness of God and wrote this: “If I say, ‘Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,’ even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:11-12). We light a candle today because we know how much we need the light of Christ in our world and in our lives. <light candle at this time>
Reader 2: May God meet us in the tough stuff and lighten our load with glimpses of delight and surprise. Let us pray:

Ever-present God, the world can feel too heavy at times. We struggle under its weight, and we wonder where your light can be found. We strain our eyes to see it, and we cling to the promise that you will never leave us nor forsake us. Help us to realize along with the psalmist that even in the darkest of nights, you are still present with us. Shine your light for us, and help us to reflect that light to others so that we may guide each other on the way home. Amen.

Other posts in the Lengthening the Light series

Light out of Formlessness

When You Can’t Take Another Step

St. Therese’s Little Way

What We Need Is a Celebration

In Praise of Growth