One year (plus a little) ago, Anna gifted me with the sweetest gift anyone has ever given me, the little cat, Ember. The spontaneity is part of what made the gift so sweet. But Ember was a creature Anna knew I would love. And she was so right.
When she first became mine, she was a flighty, timid little thing that I doubted would ever be a house pet. She was scared of everything, scared of the dogs, scared of the ordeal of getting past the dogs to come into the house, scared of any sudden movement, etc., etc., etc. So I also doubted that she would ever be my cat, in the sense that she would respond particularly to me. Now, cats aren’t exactly lauded for their human bonds and really have kind of a reputation in the other direction, but over the months, Ember has become very specifically my cat. Enough so that she went on a hunger strike while I was in Alaska over the summer, and the tiny cat became the emaciated cat. She’s better now.
What a transformation little Ember has undergone! She went from being a stand-off-ish, aloof creature, to being a lively member of our small household. I love waking up to find her curled up in a little ball in the crook of my knees, or sleeping right on my chest. Frequently she is awake before I am, but as soon as she hears me moving around, she comes up the ladder into the loft, talking and chattering, and begs for attention. She has become a study buddy for some online classes I’ve been taking, and a movie-watching buddy on sister night. She keeps me company when I’m folding laundry, or cooking, or reading, and has her favorite places she likes to hide. She comes to her name, loves to talk, and if she happens to be inside when I get home, she greets me eagerly. What a darling.
People who don’t like cats just haven’t met the right one.
My cat is always one of the highlights of my day. Her little pointy face, her little purr, her little talking sounds – Cats are one animal that seem to be this close to being able to speak. I look into her wide eyes, and she seems to really have something to say. Ember and I talk back and forth, and she follows me around like a little puppy, or watches me while I’m doing this and that. Precious. After Luna’s sad ending (kidney stones and complications, as far as we know), and Ember urinating blood the week after Luna died, I’ve been more inclined to err on the side of caution (i.e., spoiling the cats) and give the cats a small amount of canned cat food most days, watered, to make sure they’re not dehydrated, since apparently that is one way to try to prevent kidney stones from occurring in the first place. Anyway, the cats aren’t complaining. I sure love their happy eating noises.
These cats may be a little spoiled. But they’re happy. And they love me.
On one hand, God gives us majestic miracles, like startling celestial events. On the other hand, He gives us the tiniest of the animal kingdom, creatures so tiny they seem to be in a world apart, even though I can touch them and see them. I watch them and marvel at them, but they seem almost unrelated to my reality, so tiny and delicate and other they are. What a wonderful LORD and Creator, who gave us these little glimpses of a creative power so far beyond anything we can comprehend. The beauty and even comedy of these little flying creatures really is Divine. Who else could think up, create, and sustain such tiny wonders, if not our Creator God?
I hear the heart-string-tugging trill of my cat, Ember, and feel her little paws as she walks all over me begging for attention, and I really am drawn in amazement to how great and loving God is. He has power so magnificent that He created this world with a word, the sun and moon and galaxies and stars and gravity and cellular structures and DNA and elephants and humpback whales and the water cycle and the seasons. But He has a love and creativity so gentle that He created the silky fur and warming purr of a cat.Tiny wonders. Tiny gifts. A great God.
Gift giving isn’t much a part of our American culture. I’m not really sure why, but generally speaking we don’t give gifts unless it is reciprocal – For instance, at Christmastime, or for a specific reason, such as birthdays. But Anna surprised me the other night by gifting me little Ember, one of her precious cats! It has been probably close to 10 years since I had my own pet, and this cat just tickles me. Part of Anna’s rationale was that the two boy cats, the more gregarious of the fleet, get a lot of attention while little Ember, who is shy and rather flighty, doesn’t get nearly enough. She is afraid of the dogs, so she won’t volunteer to come into our house unless the coast is completely clear, and her mom has disowned her. Ember’s two best friends are her brother and Ginger, the yellow stray we’ve semi-adopted. Anna figured rightly that I would love on little Ember. The mark of a good friend (or sister) is knowing how to give good gifts, and this was possibly the sweetest gift she could have given me. I’ve always had a soft spot for this particular kitten – She was the smallest of the litter of two, and her big brother would often push her off the teat and leave her meowing pitifully. She was very funny looking as a baby, with strange coloring and huge bat-like ears and an oddly-proportioned face, but she has turned into quite the distinctive little tortoiseshell cat. Ironically, she is also the kitten I named!