I do not have the type of spiritual devotion that I should, the type that I see in many friends who truly live the life that would make a Heavenly father proud.
But I do believe in some type of divine creator.
I am not sure what prayer does. Do our prayers truly reach this Creator, and, if so, what kind of impact do they make? I have trouble with the concept of the Creator intervening, at least in the way most people probably imagine. I am constantly questioning: if God truly intervenes, performs miracles, etc., then why does unimaginable suffering happen to some of the purest, most innocent people on Earth?
And, yet, I pray. Not as frequently as I should, but I pray.
My thoughts about all things spiritual are not constant. It is one of the few areas in life where I don't have firm opinions. But I do believe that God acts on Earth, if only through the hands of mortals -- people who sacrifice for others, people who use their talents and gifts to help and comfort, people who show compassion and empathy because that is who they are.
And, sometimes, I have to wonder, does God place these people in someone's life at just the right time?
Sometimes, does God leave little gifts along our path -- treasures big and small -- in the hope that we will look hard enough and find them? When I look at my life, there are many people who would qualify as gifts from above. My parents are amazing, and they would do ANYthing for me and my children. I have friends who have been thinking of me and praying for me in what has been the most difficult year of my life. What would I do without them? And just today, I met someone who has no direct connection to me and, yet, offered to listen and to help. (She is a good friend of a wonderful person who came into my son's life this past year -- another one of those people who, I can't help but wonder, might have been placed in my son's life by a higher power).
How many times do I miss these treasures because I fail to open my eyes and truly see?
I expect my spiritual life always will be filled with questions.
But, there is one little treasure that came into my life this past summer that truly makes me believe God places things directly in the middle of the roads we travel -- right when we need them most.
This little treasure -- so very small when I found him -- has four legs.
If you are a regular reader, you already know about dear Lovey. Lovey was just a scrawny, flea-covered kitten -- a BABY -- when I found him. I was driving back to my parents' home after dinner with a friend; it was about 9 p.m. And, for the briefest of seconds, I saw the little reflective glow in his eyes when my car's headlights flashed upon the little cat in the middle of the road.
At first, I was not sure what kind of animal was before me. But then I saw a bit of fur, and a tail, and I was pretty sure that I was looking at a kitten. I stopped the car, all the while wondering if someone was going to come along this rural road and be angry about the SUV blocking the way. (Or, even worse, I wondered, "What are you doing, Leah, getting out of the car in the middle of the night with no one around to hear you scream if a madman comes along and sticks a knife in your throat. Your kids need you!").
But, really, what kind of person doesn't stop for a kitten? How could I not stop? And when I picked him up, and heard the soft little mews and the ferocious buzz-saw purrs, how could I not gather him in my arms and put him in my car?
Dear little Lovey is not so little anymore. I guess when you go a while in your youth without food, the hunger pains never really go away, because Lovey hears food hit the bowl from a block away. And he apparently never gets full. (Lovey is a bit tubby, and he still, technically, is just a kitten).
And, yes, Lovey is still leaving presents for me in the garage. Dead presents. I am getting accustomed to disposing of them, although I still think I might call again on the wonderful neighbor for the next big rat.
Disposing of dead reptiles and rodents is a small price to pay for the joy of this cat's company. Because, you see, little Lovey came to us just before the most difficult days of my life. (They aren't over,yet,and things are tought for my kids, as well. So, how nice to have this little rat-killing, always-eating, loving cat in our lives.)
Lovey is the perfect cat for my family. For every single one of us.
He calmly and quietly curls up next to me when the kids are at school and I manage, on the rarest of occasions, to sneak a little nap.
He does not mind the oddities of the little boy who sometimes notices him and gives him an awkward pat.
He absolutely adores my daughter.
Every morning I bring Lovey inside to help me wake up my daughter. He seems to know that this is his "job." He jumps right into the bed and makes his way toward the slumbering four-year-old. He purrs loud enough to wake just about anybody, and he gently paws at her side before settling down and nudging her repeatedly with those big white paws. He waits, patiently, for her to stir.
He knows, this cat. I swear he does. He knows that his mission, his purpose, is to bring her joy.
Oh, Lovey, if you only knew what I would do for you, dear cat.
You may look like just an ordinary house cat to those who do not know your true worth.
You may bring me rodents, bloody and battered, and leave them scattered about my garage.
But you, dear cat, are a gift.
And how, how in the world, did I manage to be driving down that road at the exact time you would look into my headlights and bring me to a halt?
Coincidence? Well, maybe. But I don't think so. I think it was so much more than that.
This sweet little cat brings a great amount of love -- the purest, sweetest kind of love -- to our lives every day.
If that is not a gift from Heaven, then I don't know what is.