A Personal Journal Entry: Reflections On Riley

I’ve been thinking about Riley and how much I tell him he’s loved. Riley is our cat. He may have a small inkling about what being loved means but as a cat and therefore on a different plain of thinking, feeling, etc., he is limited in truly knowing he’s loved.

But no matter how little he’s able to grasp that, I continue telling him that he is loved — he’s a good boy — over and over every day. I think on some level that has shaped him and his personality as a cat: he’s social, loves people, is relaxed, asks for treats/food/water, without any fear of rejection. He trusts us to provide for him and care for him.

Yes, he sheds hair ALL OVER THE PLACE! Sometimes he makes a mess. Sometimes he takes things too far in his playing. Sometimes he is a bully with our other cat or complains when his nails need trimming. Often times he tries to take my spot when I momentarily vacate a seat to get up to get something. Yet he’s still loved.

I think I’m like Riley…except Riley has a greater understanding of what it means to be loved and to live confidently, freely and joyfully in that reality.

I struggle to know and accept that I am loved. Often, I think all God sees is the mess that I make, is disappointed when I don’t act in a way that pleases Him, is sad when I try to take His place (that He never vacates). Most of all though…He just loves me and tells me over and over again even though I think and feel on a different plain than Him…He is constantly affirming it. To Him, I am a good boy…and I am loved…unconditionally. Even though I don’t get how much He loves me He is faithful to provide for me in numerous ways. In those moments I do manage a small, small glimpse into what God’s amazing love looks like my mind and heart get overwhelmed.

Thank you for continuing to say it, God. Thank you for continually telling and affirming to me that I am loved. Thank you for seeing me amid my mess and letting me know I matter to You — You see me and know me and treasure me.