Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Real Courtney

We knew she was the right one. She was named Courtney. Beautiful green eyes. Long, powdery-gray, silky fur. A two-year old feline, with "Adopt me!" written all over her adorable face. What were we waiting for? Lots of paper work and three days later, we carried our newest family member out of the pet store.

In addition to my husband, daughter and me, our family also included a very handsome Maine Coon, named Nathaniel. His birthday was fast approaching and we thought it would be nice to give him a present. Little did we know that giving him a playmate would not rank very highly on his gift list. We had our first indication of trouble when we set Courtney's carrier on the living room floor, opened it and invited Nathaniel to come over and greet his sister. Courtney exploded out of the box with claws at the ready. Nathaniel's low growls let us know that he disapproved of his 'present,' and we quickly whisked Courtney off to another part of the house.

After a rocky start, our two cats eventually got to the point of tolerating each other, and over the years even seemed to develop a genuine affection for each other, despite different personalities. We had always referred to Nathaniel as our 'lap' cat. Anytime we would sit down, he was right there ready to hop up and join us. He was really more like a dog than a cat. He'd come when you called him, and he thoroughly enjoyed being around people. Courtney, on the other hand, displayed more of the typical feline tendencies. She was much more aloof and tended to hide when people would visit. She decided if and when you were allowed to pet her, and would nip your hand to let you know your attention was no longer appreciated.

This past May, after eighteen and a half wonderful years, our Nathaniel died. Through our sadness, we all wondered how Courtney would respond. We were amazed. Our once aloof Courtney, now leaps up onto the couch to sit on our laps while we watch TV. She loves being petted and even enjoys being brushed. And talk about social! What a transformation! Perhaps she stayed in the background because Nathaniel was the dominant male and had been in our household for many years prior to her arrival. Whatever the reason, although we miss Nathaniel, it's been a treat getting to know the 'real' Courtney.

The same principle is often true with people. How often do I have a preconceived idea about someone, only to get to know him/her, and find out I was entirely wrong? Maybe the girl I labeled a 'nerd' in high school would have become a lifelong friend had I made the effort to get to know her. My perceptions may be far from reality. Even well-established relationships can suffer when I start to second-guess people's intentions. How important it is to refrain from judging others.

In the book of Matthew, Christ couldn't have been clearer, "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again" (7:1-2; KJV). Tough words. But oh, the wisdom when we put them into practice!

We can avoid judging others by acting on Paul's words to the Philippians, "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself," (Phil. 2:3-8a).

Am I willing to humble myself, admit that I may have been wrong in my perception of someone else, and take the necessary steps to esteem that person more highly than myself? If so, I'm following the example of the Lord Jesus Christ, and I'll be able to love others through Him. That's my desire today! Will you follow His example?


  1. Christ did not come to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

    Jesus is the only righteous judge. That's what I have to remind myself everyday.

    God bless you Maria!

  2. Aw, the real Courtney stood up! Warms my heart.

  3. Tamika - Thank you so much for your comments! I love the Bible verses you paraphrased! I'm so glad Jesus is the righteous judge! Hope you're feeling better!! :)

    Stephanie - She sure did!! She's been so affectionate! Probably was all along - but got lost in her 'brother's' shadow!! Have a great weekend!! Bring on the snow, right?!

  4. Wonderful post! And what a sweet cat. I love cats.

    I think we can easily misjudge people without realizing it. I know quite a few people who are downright chatty if it's just the two of us, but who will barely say a word in a crowd.

    Have a wonderful weekend!

  5. Jill - So good to see your thumbnail with those beautiful sunflowers in the background!! Nice to know that we share a love for cats! Thanks for the words of encouragement! It IS so easy to misjudge others! Hope you have a fantastic weekend too!

  6. It goes to show that we can't judge a book by its cover. The pages inside are what truly matter. Courtney's adorable! Have a great weekend Maria and thanks for always sharing your deep insight. xo

  7. People tell me that I'm very different from the first impression they have. It just takes time to peel the layers away. Maybe it was the same for Courtney. She's beautiful, by the way. I'm sorry for the loss of Nathaniel.

    Have a great weekend!

  8. Ellie - Love your statement, "The pages inside are what truly matter." I'll be sure to give Courtney your compliment! Have a fantastic weekend!:)

    Kristen - I think you're right. It just took time for us to truly get to know Courtney. I'll pass along your compliment to her!! It was extremely difficult when Nathaniel died, but we are privileged to remember all of the great times we had with him. He was a great cat! Hope you have an incredible weekend! :)

  9. Good comparison. I try not to judge anyone because I know what it is to be judged,
    I know the Lord is our Judge. Enjoyed your cat story. Have a good week.

  10. Ah, relationships are so complicated. Even with kitties. I also like what Ellie said,
    "the pages inside are what truly matter."

  11. Aliene - Thanks for your input! I'm thankful that our Lord IS the Sovereign Judge. Hope you have an excellent week!

    Carla - Relationships can be complicated! Focusing on the Lord and allowing Him to love others through us, is so helpful! :)