Staying connected on the road is a challenge. Staying connected to God, staying connected to your family, staying connected to your prayer practice while you’re dashing to planes, rental cars, hotels, TV studios, conference rooms. Even staying connected to your pets back home.
I’ve been on the road a lot lately, promoting my book 10 Prayers You Can’t Live Without. I was heading to the airport for another flight when I got a text from my wife: “Fred misses you.”
Fred is our cat. Not a perfect cat. Ornery, vociferous, demanding, aloof and perfectly capable of waking me up at midnight with a request for food, even after he’s just been fed. Still I responded with utter sincerity, “Tell him I miss him.”
I missed our evening ritual when I come home and he trots behind me, jumps on the bed and allows me to rub the tender spot above his nose and on his forehead. I missed having him lick a dab of food from my finger when I feed him. I missed his loud purrs. I even missed him clawing through the papers on my bureau in the middle of the night.
I got out of the cab, went through the long security line, carted my carry-on down the aisle, stuffed it into the overhead bin, sat in my seat. I stood up and sat down again. The plane taxied to the runway and I took a psalm out of my briefcase, one I had copied for this express purpose. Something to get me in some sort of prayerful mood. I glanced at the first verse, “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is gracious, and his mercy endures forever…”
Then I noticed. The piece of paper was missing a corner. Did it get caught on something in my briefcase? I didn’t remember tearing it. Then I looked closer… teeth marks, Fred’s teeth marks… and remembered where the piece of paper had been on the top of my bureau, one of Fred’s favorite spots. I closed my eyes and could imagine purring accompanying my praying. I felt right at home.
When we landed I had to text Carol with something new: “Guess who added to my prayer ritual?” Fred wanted to make sure I took a part of him with me after all. I’ve got the teeth marks to prove it. Right above Psalm 106.