Wednesday, July 6, 2011

You've Gotta Love the Bird AND the Cat

Squirt was an awkward, featherless, mess whose mother was MIA, so my mother found him and took him under her wing because that's the kind of thing my mother did. Squirt soon became family, riding on whomever's shoulder or finger was available.

One day we were working in the yard--I can still picture the scene perfectly in my head--Mom turning dirt with a shovel, Squirt perched on the top of the shovel blade, jumping into the freshly turned earth whenever anything juicy surfaced.  The moment was golden.  Until the neighbor's cat came. 

Squirt trusting, and not a seasoned flyer, sputtered across the lawn with the cat in pursuit.  I was closest.  Mom yelled, "Grab the cat, grab the cat!"

But the cat didn't need saving.  The bird did.  So, I tried to rescue the bird but the cat caught him instead, ripping his frail body to shreds.  I hated the cat.

Mom said, "You should have grabbed the cat."

I was a grown woman before I understood why my mother wanted me to catch the cat. 

I served as the YW leader for the *Miller girls whose father was abusive.  And this was the problem: the girls loved their father; and as is typical of youth, believed the best about him.  They didn't know they needed help or that he needed help.  It also didn't help that he was a policeman. 

After much anger, frustration and resentment all focused on the dad, I realized that to help the girls, I had to "catch" the cat.  I asked the girls what their dad liked.  Pie.  Apple pie.  So I bought a pie (because my home-made pie would not be a measure of good will) and was going to take it to him the next day, only he had a heart attack in court and died.

I took the pie to offer condolences. 

You can't change somebody until you change yourself.

You can't save somebody when you are filled with anger. Nothing can be mended with malice and hate-- you have to love the bird and the cat to make a difference.

*Name has been changed.

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