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Cat Trust

We’ve had a lot of cats while we’ve been living in Ireland.  There are lots of feral cats roaming the countryside looking for some sap to feed them or to adopt their kittens.  At one point we had four under our roof.  They were probably all related because they could tolerate and even enjoy each other’s company.  They would all sit on the kitchen window sill waiting to be let inside, then, when we opened the back door they would all run in to their food bowls like they were on rails:

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They would also cuddle up in one basket at nap time (unfortunately I don’t have a photo with all four together):
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We currently have three cats under our roof, and another who comes for food but won’t let us touch him.  Sadly, they hate each other.  They turn to us for cuddles instead.  Strangely, but conveniently, they have each chosen different people as their special property.  Minnie has always been devoted to my husband:

minniesmall

Next came Tiger who adopted me:
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Then came Marshmallow who chose my daughter, who chose her unusual name:

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And last of all – king of the garden:

Stripessmall

Introductions over, I’d like to share an insight I had whilst watching the cats. As I said, these cats hate each other. It makes living with them quite difficult at times, and it makes them quite jumpy. Anyway, earlier on, I was trying to persuade Tiger that he could go back to sleep while I dealt with the post which had just dropped through the door and startled him. The thing is the cats don’t trust us enough. We want them to know that we have their best interests at heart but there’s no way to communicate that to them. From their point of view we’re quite unsatisfactory hosts. We’re slow to give them what they want, and even when we respond we often get it wrong. “No, I don’t want fish today!” We put them out in all weathers. Occasionally, we even hurt them; trapping a tail or treading on a paw. We’ve let invading cats into their domain, or, in Marshmallow’s case, we’ve introduced them into an environment that already belongs to someone else. If they trusted us we could minimise their contact with the other cats. But because they’d rather travel through the house on their own terms they’re constantly evading us and running up against the other cats. Whoever suggested the term “herding cats” for an impossible task was spot on.

So, it struck me, that this is somewhat analogous to our relationship with God. I’m sure that if we could trust God more it would make our lives a lot easier. He’s tried to communicate His great love and care for us through Revelation and by allowing His Son to be sacrificed for us. But we’d rather try to rely on our own feeble powers than to trust in the care of Our Heavenly Father. And that’s probably because His care can be baffling at times. God doesn’t always give us what we think we need and sometimes He allows bad things to happen to us. We don’t trust Him enough to realise that He sees the bigger picture, that He is helping us to grow and flourish. So from now on I’m going to try to be less like a cat and more like a dog when it comes to trust. How about you?

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Faithful Gelert

I’d like to tell you a story that I heard many times whilst growing up in Wales.  It never fails to move me.  The story is inscribed on a gravestone in Beddgelert, North Wales:

In the 13th century Llewelyn, prince of North Wales, had a palace at Beddgelert. One day he went hunting without Gelert, ‘The Faithful Hound’, who was unaccountably absent.

On Llewelyn’s return the truant, stained and smeared with blood, joyfully sprang to meet his master. The prince alarmed hastened to find his son, and saw the infant’s cot empty, the bedclothes and floor covered with blood.

The frantic father plunged his sword into the hound’s side, thinking it had killed his heir. The dog’s dying yell was answered by a child’s cry.

Llewelyn searched and discovered his boy unharmed, but nearby lay the body of a mighty wolf which Gelert had slain. The prince filled with remorse is said never to have smiled again. He buried Gelert here.

And here is a related quote I found on Wikipedia:

Shaw13

Thou hast not trod with pilgrim foot the ground

Where sleeps the canine martyr of distrust,

Poor Gelert, famed in song, as brave a hound

As ever guarded homestead, hut, or hall,

Or leapt exulting at the hunter’s call;

As ever grateful man consigned to dust.

John Critchley Prince lines 24 to 29 of “North Wales”