Sunday, July 27, 2014

Those Strays

It feels wonderful to be chosen. When we were little, to be picked first for a pick-up sports game or in gym class to not have to feel the head hanging shame of being one of the last ones chosen.

I think this is why I'm so up in arms about a tiny stray kitten that suddenly appeared near my son's home this summer. Someone took God's tiny creature and not caring what might happen to it, they "chose" to drop this precious sweetheart off on a busy road without a second glance as they drove off to their busy lives.

Mewling, scrawny, eyes too big for its little face, I spotted the tortoise-shell kitten between my son's house and the neighbor's home. At least there was a dish on their porch, and I could see the neighbors had a soft spot for this little stray. I, of course, ran into my son's house grabbing handfuls of cat kibble and a cup of water. The grateful stray rubbed against me, purring gratitude, looking up at me with those huge, starving eyes.

My son has a heart like his mama. Recently he asked what he could do for this cat. He couldn't take it in with his own two, we were unsure if it may have caught some sort of disease or infection in all its time outdoors. But he wondered if perhaps PetSmart would take it.

I had an idea. A compassionate veterinarian works down the block from me. It was she who found me my own two fluffy, gray, long hair ragamuffin cats. I prayed, "Dear Lord, please. Please let this little cat find some love and care in this world." I phoned the vet the next day and she agreed to take her.

My son and I brought "her", as I began referring to this cat as a girl, to the vets office where she was greeted with smiles, loving, caring hands and sweet voices talking to her. She may have never heard anything but, "Shoo. Get out of here!" in her short life.

God's creatures are special. And sometimes if we are lucky enough, we are the ones "chosen" to take care of them. Other times, a little kitten or puppy are chosen by a new, family and brought into warm, loving homes.

Let's not choose to do harm though. Let's never consider an animal something we can easily get rid of by "dropping it off" in a neighborhood to fend for itself. I think God smiles when we offer a little help, a little of His goodness and heart for the unloved strays of this world.

On a truly happy note: I visited the little cat several times while she was at the vets office. They took amazing care of her, and got her ready for adoption. They had a name tag of "Jenny" on her cage out in their waiting room which warmed my heart. Weeks went by, and I prayed that the right family would find her and love her as she was truly meant to be loved.

Two weeks ago, one of the girls that work at the veterinarians called me to tell me little Jenny had been adopted by a woman. She said that the woman phoned their office once she'd gotten the cat home to tell her that Jenny was doing great, getting along with her dogs and ruling the house. She re-named her "Sheba" because she is queen of their castle.

I write this ending with tears in my eyes. You see, we have the opportunity to do such good in this world. A little animal, carelessly thrown away now has  the chance of a great, new life.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Because He Saved My Life

A young girl thinks of harming herself. Just this once, she thinks. Yeah, I did it before, but I can control it. I can stop anytime I want.

She picks up the jagged piece of glass, the one she found at the bus stop when nobody was looking. The one she slipped into her purse, tucking it deep down inside, the way she's tucked her feelings.

 It's a long road that's taken her to this point. She feels lost, unloved, afraid, alone. Children in school taunt her, call her names, push her, spit on her.

She sits alone in her room. Her computer whirs to life, and she clicks on a link. The jagged glass lays atop her desk, the overhead light reflects in it. She looks at it, then at the screen. She's typed in something silly, something that meant so much to her as a child. Two words: Claw machines. They used to make her happy when Mom and Dad brought her to the mall. The way pushing the joystick made you feel in control, if only for a short time. The way you were rewarded with a little toy prize if you did well.

The girl picks up the shard of glass. Maybe just a little cut on her leg this time. It would release so much tension. It would make her feel alive again, if only for a moment.

Something catches her eye. She sees a smiling face staring back at her from the computer screen, a YouTube video. She clicks on the link and a young man plays a claw machine, nonsense words come from his mouth, but they make her laugh. His zany antics hold her captive for the moment, and she laughs again, a welcome sound in the stillness of her room.

Over and over she watches one video after another. This boy who jumps around, making funny faces, winning prizes in that most beloved of games. She puts the glass down. It does not captivate her as it once did. For she's found another outlet now. A positive one. A role model who knows what it's like to feel alone. A role model who's been through shyness, insecurity, and pain.

She writes a fan letter to this boy. And when she hears back from him, her life has changed. She's not a nameless face in the crowd. For someone has acknowledged her. Someone who has journeyed a long way himself, and found light at the end of the tunnel.

The girl holds her head up. She vows to make a change. The broken shard of glass goes into the trashcan, falling to the bottom never to be seen again. I can do this, she thinks. I can do anything I put my mind to. I'm not the same person. . . because he saved my life.