Posted by: Jim E | November 17, 2010

A Cat’s Cradle Of Conflicts And Difficulties?…Surrounded By A Feeling of Malaise?…No Way…

Quite a foreboding title, Huh???…Well, it happens to everyone once in a while…I personally have fought that feeling in my life every time that “Cat’s Cradle” stuck it’s ugly head up in my circumstances…as I have said in another post, I believe “God Is In Control”…even though at times I may not agree…you know, He may not meet MY standards of a loving God or I may not understand the direction things are going, nor agree with them…but other than those normal human responses, I still, with all my being, believe God is in control…because without some control beyond the people who think they “run” things…as all of us can attest, this world would be far worse than it is…or as my mom always said, “It would fly apart at the seams”…

Before I go further…how about “tightening the circle” of the topic I am into this morning…”Cat’s Cradle” is a term that most of you know…it’s a string game played, mostly by children, for probably centuries…the game is played in many cultures…all around the world…I will attach a video of the Japanese version of the Cat’s Cradle or string game…that’s it folks…Cat’s Cradle…and how about the term Cat’s Cradle in my title today???…well, it has something to do with how complex the Cat’s Cradle game is and can be…and how our lives are so complex, sometime beyond us…strings here and there…strings wrapped around this part of us and the other…well, it’s a Cat’s Cradle of conflicts and difficulties…hence, the title…

I was reading “Work Song” by Ivan Doig…he is so good…I’ve read many of his books about the American West…Montana in particular…on page 2, this quote jumped out and bit me…“The most precipitous chapter of life always begins before we quite know it is underway.”…(in fact the idea of the title, Cat’s Cradle came from his book…he writes well, and why should we not share it???)…back to the topic…so many times in life, we are just going along, minding our own business and a chapter of our life has begun and we don’t know it…in fact as we learn later, it had begun before we quite knew it is underway…I have experienced it in my work when I didn’t get the job I wanted…when Judie discovered she had breast cancer…when we discovered Jeremy had brain cancer…and it goes on and on…the original quote suggests “one event”…but that is not what Doig meant…the book’s narrator is talking about his arrival in Butte, Montana…and “all” that will mean…and the rest of the book, from page 2 on, tells how his life is about to change in many ways…through many experiences in Butte…

So it is with our lives…it’s a Cat’s Cradle of conflicts and difficulties…but we need to make sure it is not surrounded by a feeling of malaise…angst, anxiety, discomfort…and worse end up with a debility…that is a feeling of being weak and unable to continue or strike out in new or different directions…“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”…it is the feeling I mentioned in the beginning paragraph…the feeling I fought every time it raised it ugly head…and it came directly out a Cat’s Cradle of conflicts and difficulties…

In May of 1975, I found out that the job I applied for and wanted so bad…I didn’t get…I was hurt and a little angry…and that night I heard someone, who didn’t even know I was looking at another job, say, “When circumstances occur to us that we don’t understand, we must realize that God is in our lives working out His purposes.”…well, I settled down in a hurry…I then looked at it as part of a plan that I didn’t know or yet understand…I do now…it didn’t take long to find out why what I had in mind wasn’t the best for me or my family…I look back over the 35 years since then and can see how it worked out for the better…life is full of so many things we don’t understand or expect…but our attitude toward those “things”, is the most important factor in a life that is healthy, happy and expectant…that is expecting to see God’s hand in our lives…as we journey on…

One of my favorite singers is Allison Krauss…she has such a beautiful voice and her group Union Station is so talented…one of the members, Ron Block, who plays the guitar in this video, also wrote the song Allison sings and they play…Block also has a story, like all of us…he “hit the wall” so to speak in his life…feeling lost and alone until he found the real meaning of his life…(you can find his testimony of that time on YouTube under his name)…the song, “A Living Prayer”…the words:

In this world I walk alone/ With no place to call my home,/ But there’s one who holds my hand/ Through rugged roads, through barren lands./ The way is dark, the road is steep,/ But He’s become my eyes to see, / The strength to climb, my griefs to bear./ the Savior lives inside me there.//  Chorus: In Your love I find relief,/ A haven from my unbelief./ Take my life and let me be/ A living prayer, my God, to Thee.//   In these trials of life I find/ Another voice inside my mind./ He comforts me and bids me live/ Inside the love the Father gives.//  Chorus: In Your love I find relief,/ A haven from my unbelief./ Take my life and let me be/ A living prayer, my God, to Thee./ Take may life and let me be/ A living prayer, my God , to Thee.

Cat’s Cradle, a kids game???…not in this post…but one that all of us can play…with the help of a God who loves and leads those who trust and follow Him…no feelings here of malaise…only hope and expectancy…


  1. Thank you for the great reminder that God is in Control. The hymn “God is still on the throne” has been going through my mind a lot this week. That song by Allison Krauss is one of Harold’s favorite songs by her.


  2. This is an absolutely beautiful post and one I really needed to read today. Perfect God timing. And I love the picture with the message of letting go of the life we planned. That is so true. Great post! Thanks Jim!

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