Whether you believe in sweet baby Jesus and his story or not, this time of year is a season of rebirth. Great shifts have occurred to bring life from so much death. Through the depths of winter, shades of darkness lurked beneath the shadows of shortened days only a brief period ago on our little piece of the earth. Everything stood still. And almost suddenly, now, we are again embracing life––buds and blooms and blossoms, chirps and peeps and the the laughter of children playing outdoors. Color. Every little thing has revolved to evolve. We've pushed past the shadows seeking light. There is new life. There is change.
The thing about change is it's usually disguised and oftentimes it comes unexpectedly like an unwanted guest. Change rides on the coattails of strangers or, in my current case, on the cat tails of six little kittens who I've now collectively deemed the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee.
Let's preface this story with one fact: I am a dog person. Cats are fine if they're outdoors and not mine. The end.
And then along came Polly––a stray tabby cat who had run through my yard only a handful of times since I moved into my house close to four years ago--just the way I like it.
Those eyes, that's what I saw first as I took my recycling out by the shed in my backyard. There was something about the way they reflected the light of the perfect afternoon sun that made me look twice. Something was different. Something was there. Enclosed in a tomb-like space between my shed and the fence were two tiny blue eyes that would soften me, change me.
For the sake of Easter symbolism, I'll go on to say that I literally had to move a pile of stone that enclosed the kitten in order to better see that this wasn't just a kitten, this was an entire litter--a six pack that would immediately have me craving beer as my mouth began to grin while my teeth began to grind. "How cute!" combatted in my head with "Where is your mom? How did you get here? Why me? I don't even like cats."
As cute as the little things were, I couldn't help but be filled with fear. How am I to care for these tiny living creatures if the mom abandoned them? What's the best thing to do? Feed them knowing they'll stay if I do? Find homes for them? Leave them be? Nature versus nurture.
Later, I'd find the hippie feline who did come back to nurse her six illegitimate flower children. A relief. And even though the kittens were taken care of, I found myself creeping out of my office over and over to be sure they were okay throughout the week. And when I came back in, I'd sit there wondering how in the hell I had become a cat lady. So quickly we change and grow and shift out of the blue.
Our nature is growth. As we grow up, inch taller, we also heighten in our awareness. Our perspective of life changes. Only through the openness to experience something new, someone new can we truly achieve this growth. Staying in our bubble, our own version of the truth only breeds stagnation. Our comfort zones, in actuality, lead to unbearable uncomfortability. Experiencing only what is controlled and being unaccepting of the rest paralyzes us with fear. What lies in the unknown, the things we have absolutely no control of are what enable us to see the world in a new light that is full of life.
The story of Jesus isn't too dissimilar from the story of the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee. A babe unwanted, unplanned for. Out of the blue, new life came down so that others could learn to rise up, so that perspectives could be shifted like the seasons, so that we could learn to rise out of darkness.
The IBKC has reminded me to be patient, to soften, to let go of control, to help, to observe, to recognize beauty in what was once the mundane, to live, to love. This isn't the first time this has happened. The stranger comes in many forms--through death and birth and flowers and accidents and jobs and bad timing and good timing and beings placed at your feet or behind your shed. There are more unwanted guests waiting to knock on each of our doors. I can be sure. But it's important to welcome these things who present themselves as strangers like the possibilities they are so that no stone goes unturned.
The members of the Itty Bitty Kitty Committee are now available for adoption. If you're interested in adopting one of these sweet little nuggets, please shoot me a message via text (if you have my number) or feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.