I have a soft spot for anyone or anything without a mother, it seems. As I was walking down the busy main road in Jinja a few weeks ago, I found a scrawny little black kitten wandering the sidewalk. Without even thinking, I grabbed a box out of a garbage pile and stuck him into it. The looks I got around town with a meowing box under my arm should have prepared me for the one I got from Rachel when I showed it to her. It was somewhere in between “oh so cute” and “please tell me you’re not bringing it home”. I told her what I always told my mom about stray animals from baby birds to lost hunting dogs, “Please just let me keep it until it can take care of itself.” He was tiny and dirty and hungry and all I know is that you have to take things like that home when they don’t have a mother.
What I didn’t think about is the fact that we have an 8 year old living in our home who is recovering from a life of being left, so I wondered after getting home if the process of getting rid of a tiny and vulnerable kitten with such a child present was going to be rough. N has a deep empathy for anyone or anything that is suffering and even talked Christina out of home school one morning because, “the cat looks lonely and I need to play with him.” Fortunately, this particular cat pooped in the wrong places and meowed at the wrong times just enough to make me eager for him to move on. Also, Rachel and Christina have a good point. You don’t bring stray cats into a house with four babies in Africa for crying out loud. And so, I told N that cats like adventure and we set him free.
She didn’t ask about him for the first few hours. But, when she and I set off for town later that day, the little kitten was sitting on the side of our busy road and she asked me if he was going to be OK. I just told her that God takes care of orphans and since we weren’t this kitty’s family, we would trust him to take care of it. Besides, cats like adventure and they are very good at staying safe. On the inside, however, I prayed that this little girl who is so sensitive to pain in others would not end up seeing a squished little kitten on the side of the road on one of our walks. We made it down the road with the cat still sitting intact by our driveway and I forgot about him until the next night when we went out for our evening walk.
There he sat, smack dab in the middle of our road, where cars speed by at 40 miles per hour and motorcycles swerve by us without looking ahead so that they can stare at our white legs. Rachel, Christina, and I all exchanged looks and said together, “That cat better not get hit with N here watching.” At that moment, a small SUV sped by and screeched to a halt next to the kitten. Without thinking, I said, “N LOOK! God sent someone to adopt our cat since he doesn’t have a mom!” A chubby, grey-haired, British woman stepped one Keds-clad foot out of her passenger door and scooped the tiny kitten into her arms. He disappeared immediately into her shirt and off they went. Rachel and Christina and I just kept saying, “We can’t believe that just happened right in front of us. We can’t believe God cared about that tiny kitten and the impact this ‘adoption’ could have on N’s heart.”
To think that a God who holds the universe together would stoop down and send a “mom” for the cat that we had sent merrily on his tiny way. To think that he cares about the fact that maybe N needs to know that God will take care of cats (but more importantly, people) when we can’t. For a few days I was in awe of how amazing it was that Nora got to see that nothing is too small for God’s attention. The more I think about it, though, I think maybe the whole situation was as much for me as for her. I am the one who struggles daily with the fact that we’re only feeding, clothing, and loving 6 of the 147 million orphans. I was the one who was shocked that God could care about our kitten. I am the one who never feels like she can do enough, the one who feels guilty for merely offering a meal to a homeless child and not inviting him to come and stay with us. N seems to have an incredible grace for trusting God with the most difficult of circumstances. She passes by a homeless man on the street and feels perfectly content giving him one of her bananas, knowing that Jesus can take care of his next need. She prays that God will send families for the children who are still waiting, but she is not overly burdened by their waiting. She just trusts. Maybe it is because she has experienced so little control in her life…it is somehow easier for her to leave that control in a loving God’s hands. Me, I’m still learning. I’m grateful to now have such a tangible reminder now that when I can’t, he can….and even when I can, he can better.
My awe of this event continues, but when I asked N how she felt about getting to see our cat get adopted and she said matter-of-factly,
“Well of course, God made cats and he loves cats.”