Cat’s in the Cradle

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WARNING – TEARS AHEAD

Have you ever heard the song “Cat’s In The Cradle?”  It was originally written and sung by Harry Chapin in the 70’s and then it was re-made in the 90’s by a band called Ugly Kid Joe.

It is truly a heart wrenching song about a dysfunctional relationship between a Dad and a son.  The son longed for his Dad’s attention his whole life, but his Dad was always just a little too busy to play at the moment, but sure enough “some day” he would get around to it.  Well, as time gets away from all of us, it got away from the Dad and one day he turned around and his son was married and had kids and a job.  Just when the Dad was finally ready to be a Dad, the son had moved on.

Here are the lyrics to the song (Copyright Harry Chapin).  Please read them carefully, even if you know this song by heart:

______________________________________________________

My child arrived just the other day
He came to the world in the usual way
But there were planes to catch and bills to pay
He learned to walk while I was away
And he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grew
He’d say “I’m gonna be like you, Dad
You know I’m gonna be like you”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

My son turned ten just the other day
He said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s play
Can you teach me to throw”, I said “Not today
I got a lot to do”, he said, “That’s ok”
And he walked away but his smile never dimmed
And said, “I’m gonna be like him, yeah
You know I’m gonna be like him”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home, Dad
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then
You know we’ll have a good time then

Well, he came from college just the other day
So much like a man I just had to say
“Son, I’m proud of you, can you sit for a while”
He shook his head and said with a smile
“What I’d really like, Dad, is to borrow the car keys
See you later, can I have them please”

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man on the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
You know we’ll have a good time then

I’ve long since retired, my son’s moved away
I called him up just the other day
I said, “I’d like to see you if you don’t mind”
He said, “I’d love to, Dad, if I can find the time
You see my new job’s a hassle and the kids have the flu
But it’s sure nice talking to you, Dad
It’s been sure nice talking to you”

And as I hung up the phone it occurred to me
He’d grown up just like me
My boy was just like me

And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon
Little boy blue and the man in the moon
When you comin’ home son
I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then, Dad
We’re gonna have a good time then

______________________________________________________

These lyrics are enough to make you want to cry.  Can’t you just see the sadness in the little boys face?  All he longs for in his heart is to just play with his Dad.  He just wants his Dad to accept him and encourage him and be there for him when he gets scared or hurt.  But Dad “can never find the time.”

Then as always happens, one day Dad will finally get to the point where time forces him to slow down.  Unfortunately by then, everyone has gotten used to Dad not being there so they move on with their lives.

I believe this is also a perfect picture of what happens in our lives with God.  God says to us, “Hey can you talk with me?  Can you let me know what is going on with you?” and we say, “Oh everything is great, and I’m just a little too busy right now to talk, but I’m sure I can find the time later.”

Then a few weeks later God says, “Hey remember that you said you would talk with Me later?  Is now a good time?”  And again we say, “Wow I would love too – and you know I slip by church quite a bit, but right now I am just swamped.  But you can rest assured that I will talk with you as soon as I free up.”

After a certain amount of time goes by, God, like the Dad in the song, moves along to other people who will open their lives, hearts, and time to Him.  Then one day, we get a horrible diagnosis from the doctor, or something tragic happens in our lives, and who is the first person we turn to?  It isn’t work is it?  It isn’t money is it?  It isn’t fame and fortune is it?  No, its the very same God we have been ignoring our entire lives and now we expect Him to drop everything and be there for us?

What if our conversation with God went something like this:

“When you comin’ home God?  I don’t know when, but we’ll get together then child,
we’re gonna have a good time then.”

Remember Pharaoh?  The Bible says that God “hardened Pharaoh’s heart.” doesn’t it?  Was that because God wanted Pharaoh to spend eternity in Hell?  No.  God knew Pharaoh’s heart, just like He knows our hearts, and God knew that no matter what happened in the future, Pharaoh was never going to change, so God left him to himself.  God did not change Pharaoh’s heart, in fact He simply just left Pharaoh alone.

Friend, believe me when I tell you this – you do NOT want God to just leave you alone.  If you think you are too busy for God, then I beg you to change your mind and attitude immediately.  You are not promised another second on this Earth.  Do it now!  Whatever you are doing right now, stop and just bow your head and thank God for your life and remind God that you will never be too busy to ever talk with Him or invite Him into your life ever again.

As well, if this song hits a little too close to your heart and you have children, would you do me a personal favor?  Would you also stop reading this right now and please go hug them and give them a big kiss and tell them how much you love them and how much they mean to you?  You will change their lives (and yours) with those simple gestures.  From someone who never had that, I can tell you that it makes all the difference in the world.

I’ve put the Ugly Kid Joe Video link below for you.  Would you please take the time to watch it?  The video may be a more heavy metal take on the song, but if you watch the video, it is haunting.  It will show you just what will happen to your relationship with God (and your children or spouse) if you refuse to make time for them.  Please don’t let this happen to you!  If you have had this happen to you in your life, won’t you take a minute to share your story in the comments?  It will helps others to know that they are not alone, and it will show those who are doing this how it truly affects others.

With Love,

Pastor Brad Komgenick


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