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March 3rd, just over a year ago, I posted about a stray and wandering kitty, Marbles, who found our home and adopted us. I discussed the parallels of being abandoned and trust issues with spiritual abuse.
Just over a year later, Good Friday morning and Thursday night, Marbles brought new life into the world. Easter represents new life, new hope. I just had to share this story.
This has been our first experience with a pregnant and laboring animal. I’ve done the laboring/birthing gig with seven of my own children and also have been doula or labor coach for approximately 20-30 moms. Hanging with and supporting laboring moms is something I enjoy doing. I know what labor looks like. Marbles didn’t go off in seclusion like so many laboring animals. She went to a place of familiarity – to the top bunk where my 10-yr old was going to sleep (aka blog Resident Artist). Going to the top bunk to snuggle with Resident Artist is her typical nightly routine, but this night proved to be far from routine.
Thursday night, I was in “doula” mode and “mom” mode at the same time. I was watching our Resident Artist because he was pretty sensitive when watching his precious Marbles in pain and could sense her anxiety. I stood by the bunk watching him, watching Marbles, explaining to Resident Artist exactly what she was doing, why she was walking around in circles and could not settle down, why her belly was contracting, why she looked tense. Even as I described everything that was going on and reassured him that she was fine, he was still worried for her and I could see tears in his eyes as she made unfamiliar cries, probably in pain and fright. Watching Marbles, I could tell birth was imminent. I was concerned about too much emotional anxiety for Resident Artist. The other concern was I really didn’t want a mess on the bed and she needed to be in a better place for birthing. My husband came upstairs and moved Marbles to the prepared box we had all set up in the homeschool room. As he placed Marbles in the box, we saw a kitty had been born – – somewhere in transit – from the top bunk to the box in the homeschool room- lol.
We quickly awakened two kids who had been sleeping (it was about 10:30 PM) to join the rest of us and we waited and watched more births. She eventually bore six kittens, but two didn’t make it. I wasn’t sure how the 7-yr old would handle death, but he took it in stride and was thankful for the four that were alive. The kids spent the whole next day watching her from afar and near. It was very difficult to get any school work done with those cute distractions. Watching the beauty of life/death close up and personal is the best kind of schooling. I knew that we were doing real school – learning that could not be accomplished from a textbook.
Yesterday, Resident Artist called out for me to come. We were shocked to see Marbles holding one of the kitties by the neck as she walked down the stairs, kitty hanging from her mouth swaying, and placed the kitty in the corner of the family room. Why would she leave the quiet place upstairs? I didn’t know. I posted a status update on my Facebook wall asking any friends who had cat experience for advice. A couple of friends said she might have been having too much attention upstairs. Well, yes, it’s kind of hard to tell a family with 6 kids at home to not look at those adorable creatures. Maybe we were bothering her too much. That was a possibility. I wasn’t sure.
The next morning I found my answer. I went over to her as she was nursing the adorable kittens and talked to her, telling her she was doing a good job. I started scratching her in her favorite places beneath her chin and around her ears. As I scratched, her eyes closed and she rested her head on the blanket. Next thing I knew, her paw was on top of my wrist as I continued scratching her and she fell asleep. I had my answer. That was why she moved her kitties downstairs to the busiest room of the house. Marbles is a family cat. She is used to getting love and attention and being stuck in a box in a corner of a room way upstairs away from the family prevented that. She wanted my words and affection. She wanted love. She and her litter has been in the family room ever since. More often than not, there will be a kid (or this mom) observing the sweet kitties piling on top of each other, feeling and smelling for their mama in search for the nipple (or as my 7-yr old Caboose says “nibble”).
I adore this. I love the interactions of the kids as they watch these adorable kittens. My Caboose was very worried when Marbles walked away from the kittens for a bit. He was afraid that the kitties wouldn’t have enough to eat. And so during these times, we discussed that Marbles needs to take care of herself, feed herself, have a little time alone, too (just like his Mama – lol). We talked about how the kitties seem to fight for one “nibble,” not realizing there are plenty of “nibbles” to go around. We talked about how after fighting, we often find them sleeping together in a dog-pile. Wait, that’s not right – kitten pile.
There are a lot of lessons in life we’ve experienced these past couple of days. For some reason, I haven’t been very excited about Easter this year. Yea, I know Jesus rose from the dead and that is the Good News, but my heart has been sad. I’m realizing that this is a new kind of Easter for me. I’ve never felt this way on Easter before. I think the deal is I’m saddened by what the church at large has been for me and now I see a lot of it as a fraud. I’ve been exposed to so much abuse in churches over the last year. I’ve read so many personal stories. It’s disheartening that many Christian leaders I had respect for no longer hold my respect. How do I deal with this struggle inside?
These little kitties just born have a whole new life ahead of them and I think that is what I need to do with my spiritual life. I need to start fresh. Just as the kitties have such an urgency to find that “nibble”, climbing over each other, often times falling in the process, I need to drink the pure milk, not the milk or interpretation of So-And-So Celebrity Pastor, or this particular Church, no, I think pure milk is where it is at for me.
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Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk,
that by it you may grow up into salvation—
if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
1 Peter 2:2-3
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Those kitties cannot see right now and sometimes the mess of abuse makes me so dizzy that I feel like I can’t see. But I need to ask God to open my eyes to see what He sees, not what others see for me. I also need to learn how to walk just like the kitties. I’m going to walk, fed by the pure milk with open eyes to see what God has in store for me. This Easter is a new Easter. He has saved me by His death and resurrection. He is Risen. Alleluia!
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