Thursday, March 22, 2007
Big Tiny and the lessons he teaches
One of the lessons that I try very hard to teach my two little girls is that man looks at the outside of a person, but God looks at the heart. I cannot tell you how many times a week that phrase comes out of my mouth, regarding other people's behaviour or the behaviour of Em and Jules, good and bad. I want my girls to see others FIRST for how they behave, and secondly for the way they look on the outside. And they have learned this lesson very well. Sometimes that is difficult to do. Our cat, Tiny, is a constant reminder of this lesson. People ask his name and when I say Tiny, they always laugh and say, " Why Tiny?" And I tell them his story. One cold morning a few Thanksgivings ago, I went out to feed our outside kitties. I heard a strange kitty voice, " Meewwwwwww." I said, " Who is that?" We continued this conversation until I located where the voice was coming from. A tiny cat was under Jon's truck. I coaxed him out and it was the saddest sight I have ever seen. There was a brown tabby who was so thin that his bones almost poked through his skin. He was a tiny, bony, striped cat with a huge head and huge yellow eyes. I could get my fingers around his tummy he was so thin. I took him to the vet and said, " How old is this kitten?" (After they weighed him and told me he was five pounds I assumed he must be a few months old.) The vet said, " This is a full grown neutered male cat, Anne. This was obviously someone's pet." I almost cried. I said, " Give him his shots, I am taking him back home." ( I had intended to take him to the no kill shelter.) So we named him Tiny and began giving him huge amounts of food and love. I don't know which he needed more. He would eat and then sit for 30 minutes on your lap, purring and kneading his paws on your legs. He never left the garage and always came when he was called. As time went by, Tiny became HUGE. His body seemed to catch up with his head, but his eyes always seemed too big for him. So when other people see our cats, he is never the first one to catch their eyes. He looks kind of odd, quite frankly. But I have NEVER EVER known such a sweet cat. His heart is nothing but goodness and love. Once when he had gotten attacked by a neigbor's cat, I had to shave his neck to see the wounds and put hot compresses on them 3 times a day. This cat sat on the bathroom floor and PURRED over the sound of the electric razor. He never fought the compresses or ran from me when I came out to give him his pills, as much as he hated both. How much that impressed me!
When I see Tiny, I see one of the most beautiful cats in the world, but other people don't see that. People stop short at his unusual looks and when I see that, I gush, " Oh, that's Tiny- see what he does when you pet him!" They bend down and pet him and soon Tiny is drooling and laying in their lap, the picture of contentment. And then they see what I see and love him too. I use Tiny as a lesson to my kids when they are tempted to judge others based on their looks or how they dress. I remind them that God saves some of the best souls to be embodied in different looking frames and tell them to always remember Tiny and the beauty that he is, inside and out. I remember when I am tempted to complain about my daily physical pain that Tiny was still, quiet, and obedient during his treatments for his wounds. I realize through this cat that many times our children need our love and affection more than they need our meals. And many times, we just want to hurry and "pour the food" and scoot off to do other things. All the animals here all need me to stop and love them in addition to their meals and fresh water. And it reminds me that I need to stop and physically love my children, to hug them and kiss them and tell them how precious they are to me. Unlike Tiny, they won't wind around my legs until I show them some attention. Once again, God, thank you for teaching me these simple but hard to remember lessons through a big Tiny cat.