The nearly 30-minute walk through tree-lined Midwood neighborhoods (from our Brooklyn ministry location to one of my favorite places for street outreach) provides a good time for prayer and reflection.
On this particular morning something caught my eye mid-block. Two or three large squares of sidewalk concrete had been replaced in the last year. They were marked with a trail of nearly a dozen paw prints from a cat that must have learned a lasting lesson.
As I looked at the trail of prints, a story unfolded. A large cat had obviously stepped on the still-wet cement. But the feline simply did not understand the consequences and lasting effect of its choice.
On the surface, the drying cement must have looked as good as any path to the cat. But it was too late when the consequences were discovered. “Kitty” could hardly be blamed. After all, he or she was a cat.
I thought of my previous two weeks of conversations during outreaches near subways, in a park, and on the streets. The questions, rejection, and sometimes opposition I’d received often had been given with a lack of true understanding.
The faces and voices with whom I had interacted the previous week similarly felt their path looked okay. They saw no dangers in continuing.
Yet, their decision to continue their path – “the broad one” – has eternal consequences, in contrast to the trail of pawprints that would be seen for a few decades at most.
The prints also saddened me because they were in the heart of one of Brooklyn’s large Jewish communities. In a few minutes I will be sharing the message of true peace, eternal joy, and atonement for sins . . . and yet likely I will be ignored or rejected once again, I thought.
A few hours later on my return, I again passed the prints on the sidewalk. I noticed they had tracked in a short straight line across the cement, but then veered off where this mystery cat had found a better path. He/she had likely journeyed on through the cool green grass shaded by the large London Planetrees.
My thoughts now turned to hopeful prayers for this community and that many would also find their way to that “narrow gate” – Messiah Jesus.
Each time I pass by, these pawprints will serve as a reminder and encouragement to continue with the biblical mandate to go to God’s special people as a privileged priority.
“You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.” I pray that will be true in your life and mine today.