Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Scaredy Cat and Hosta Kittens

I tawt I taw a putty tat! I did! I did see a putty tat! 

While stacking firewood I was prepared for strange little creatures that often bolted from between the logs. In the past I had bravely battled mice, moles, ground squirrels, chipmunks, woodchucks, and even a skunk or two. But, I hadn't encountered a kitten in the kindling until that fall day last September. 

She peered at me for a moment from between two split tree trunks; a small bundle of gray stripes whitewashed with four milky paws, and a snowy chest and tummy. Before I could coo a soft 'hello baby' she scurried out and took to hiding under the storage shed. 

I knew the poor little thing was dropped off and abandoned like so many others. After a few attempts to coax her into a friendship, I only succeeded in chasing her further away. The winter ahead would be hard on her. All I could offer was water and food if she was hungry enough to chance it.

The feral feline didn't appear again for months. But, I knew she was around based on empty evidence. Then, one day I heard a cat fight in the basement. 

Now, let me pause here to explain. Our house is old. Built in 1880, it stands on the original field stone foundation with hand hewn beams for support. Although we completely gutted the inside and added a small addition for a new stairway, the bottom remains untouched. Somewhere, there is a nook or cranny where this shy little 'putty tat' found her way in. No doubt to escape the gold tabby stalker from next door who thought he would get lucky. 

I rushed out the door, around the corner, and pulled open the Bilco basement door. As I stepped into the cryptic cellar, a gold blur rushed past me and scooted home. But, there on the ledge leered the scuttled kitty all grown up. She studied me for a few moments and then ran into the crepuscular crawlspace and disappeared.

Another few weeks passed, and one May morning she appeared on the front porch looking haggard and hungry. I raided the frig, found some chunk cheese, and watched as she gulped down a piece or two. Then, she snatched one up and disappeared into a hole in the old cement stoop under the younger deck. After a few cheesy, petty thefts she emerged once again and laid out on the top step like a poolside sunbather soaking up the rays.

I wondered what brought on this change of character when what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature kitten and four little peers. There, in the hosta were a host 'a kittens playing a mixed up game of hide and seek tag you're it.

Momma kitty, who  my daughter and I affectionately named Emma hung around for a couple of days. We watched her and her kittens play in the plants, soak in the sun, and enjoy the edibles. Then, as quickly as she appeared, she was gone; kittens and all. She never gave us a wholesome chance to earn her trust and quite possibly placed herself and her kittens in a more dangerous environment. 

As I thought about Emma and her five little kittens, some with mittens; I couldn't help but think  how many times we wander in, hungry, haggard, and alone to the doorstep of the King. We don't say a word. We just wait for Him to notice us. And, He does from the time we show up. 

So much like those six furry felines, we feel uncertain that His love could be real. Like Emma, we may feel abandoned, rejected and tossed aside, resulting in growing suspicion and a false idea of being tamed. We wander through adversity and the gnawing of need brings us to God's porch where we allow Him a temporary trust to feed us. We take just enough to satisfy our hunger but do not realize our haggard condition. And then we run away into a more dangerous situation. 

To be cared for by the King doesn't mean we have to lose our freedom, our spirit, or our identity. In fact, we gain greater freedom and a stronger spirit; a beautiful and lasting identity. To be tamed by the Master of the house is simply submitting to a greater love by One who will never abandon us.

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