We walked through the large parking lot and onto the little road behind the hotel. After a small debate on the route to take, my husband and I started a stroll around Lough Eske, a lake near Donegal, Ireland. We had the whole afternoon to explore the surrounding area. Our hope was to circumnavigate, get some exercise, and snap some more photos for our vacation album. Although we failed to get much of a lake view, we enjoyed the cooler temperatures so different from the Arizona heat we had left behind.
We chatted about our adventures and paused to take way too many photos of yet another field of sheep. Then somewhere about an hour into our walk he appeared. I almost tripped over the striped kitten that yelped as it rushed between my feet.
You should know that I’m not really an animal person. I unfollow Pinterest boards taken over by pictures of animals. But in my defense, I’m allergic to the point that even cuteness doesn’t have a hold on me… usually. If push comes to shove I would probably list “baby” animals as my favorite animal.
Because I had a kitten following me rather than a cat I was less than annoyed. I didn’t really mind it. D and I smiled at each other and the silly creature that followed us for miles. We didn’t give it too much thought until the first car drove past us on the tiny road. The kitten freaked out. It ran straight for the car and just stopped. The driver looked at us as if to say, “MOVE YOUR KITTEN, IDIOTS.” So I did it. I walked over and picked up the kitten… and I felt it’s little heart beating rapidly and then my own heart began to grow bigger and bigger… just like the Grinch. I was a goner from that point. I did wash my fingers in some wet grass as my eyes had already started to water from our encounter, but I made sure to keep checking on the kitten as it followed. Any annoyance with our traveler quickly turned to concern. The kitten had no collar or tag. It had no mother nearby.
My mind began racing with alternatives. Why did the cat have to find ME rather than my veterinarian sister-in-law who was running somewhere nearby, or my mother-in-law who has never met a creature she didn’t love? WHY ME?
I turned and looked at my husband, “Well… what should we call it?” He shook his head at me and said, “That heartbeat did you in.”
I proudly proclaimed, “His name shall be Killybegs.” I’d been fond of the little town’s name since discovering it on my map of Donegal county. I smiled and walked contentedly as Killybegs followed us.
And then another car came around the turn in the road.
We tried to care for Killybegs. We made a protective wall with our boots so Killybegs could feel safe, but what did Killybegs do? Killybegs ran straight toward the car and then into the woods. There was no sign of him, so we resigned ourselves to the fact that we’d lost our companion and began walking.
I had a long discussion in my head about why it might be ok for us to leave a kitten in the woods and had just about convinced myself of that very fact when we heard a soft meow about 20 yards down the road. We started calling the cat. We made noises and kisses and acted like the animal people we claim not to be. And finally Killybegs joined us again and we proceeded on our journey. We were a happy little family.
And then the same scene repeated itself over and over again.
We try to protect Killybegs.
Killybegs runs away.
We eventually start walking, only to have a soft meow beckon us back.
We knew we couldn’t keep Killybegs, but we certainly cared for that little creature. The plan was to lead him to our hotel and hope that someone on the staff would care for him. We had seen other domesticated animals on the premises and thought this might be his best chance for survival.
But the dang cat just wouldn’t see to reason. He couldn’t seem to realize that we had a plan that was so much better than living in the woods. We wanted to take him to a CASTLE. Rather than trusting us, he chose to fear the noises and sounds coming down the road.
So we began to hurry in hopes that he would just try to keep up. And it worked. As soon as we came near the front drive to the hotel he made a bolt past the doorman and we made a dash around to the garden. I prayed feeling a little silly, “God – I know Killybegs is always yours, but now he’s really in your keeping. Keep your eye on him like you do the sparrow, please.”
On the flight home I kept replaying the scenario in my mind. The God who sees to the sparrows and kittens is the God who cares for each of us. But I am SO like Killybegs. I let fear dictate my life rather than trusting the One who has the plan to bring me safely to His castle. Instead, my hope this week is that I would follow the Lion of Judah rather than running to the woods like a scaredy cat.
Instead of living like Killybegs, let’s try claiming this promise from Philippians 4:6-7 in the Message:
“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”