MOTHERING AND OTHER UNBIDDEN URGES OF LIFE

By Lisa Huddleston

 “How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!”  (Matt. 23:37)

As many of you know, we have been blessed with some new additions here at Hudfarm.  A tiny squirrel-colored cat recently appeared on the front porch, and as you would expect around here, it didn’t take long for various members of the family who shall remain nameless to start petting her and loving her and, yes, feeding her.  But one thing puzzled us.  Although this was a tiny, kittenish cat, there was evidence that she wasn’t what she appeared to be—evidence that implied she was nursing, if you get my drift.  I was worried by this discovery but happily and conveniently put it out of my head.  Until the day Chuck walked into the bedroom with a sneaky grin on his face and announced, “I have the answer to your question.  Get your shoes on and follow me.”  Perplexed, I did as I was told and before we hit the stairs to the basement, I guessed it, “Oh no!  Kittens!”  Smiling, he led me to the driveway where two fluffy puffs of fur quickly disappeared under the overturned canoe.

“Great!  Just great!” I muttered as I stomped my way back upstairs.  We already had two cats of our own along with a large, very old and very stinky brown lab.  “There is no way those cats are staying here,” I continued to mutter.  Yet, my urge to nurture was already kicking into overdrive, and I knew it. 

And everyone around me knew it, too.  From friends to family to social networking acquaintances, chuckles and smirks abounded.  My son called me a “Crazy Cat Lady” and my husband just laughed and kept talking baby talk to the furballs in a high,  squeaky falsetto, “What a cute little kitty he is.  Yes, he is.”  (Sorry, Chuck—rescue me or lose a man card!) 

So now what?  The skinny teen-aged mother is thriving.  She already has some softening of flesh over her bony ribs, and she comes running when she thinks we are heading out the door.  And, yes, she has a name.  Kitty Mama appears to have found a home.  She has moved to the back porch along with the two puffballs.  They have made comfy beds in the cushions of my chairs, and there is even a truce in place with the dog who only looks at them from her peripheral vision now that Kitty Mama has taught her what is expected.   Just this morning Kitty Mama looked at me through the slats of the window blinds and winked. 

Man!  I see how it is!  But I am just a sucker for anything that needs me.  I have an often annoying urge to mother that I simply cannot ignore.  And it is amazing to me to recognize that Jesus feels that same urge when he looks at us.  Even when we fight against him and pull away, he longs to gather us close and to tuck us under the protection of his wings.  Oh Lord, I know the feeling, and I’m grateful to see that you understand my heart.  I pray that I will be more receptive to your love than those frightened kittens who still hiss and scamper away when we reach down to pull them close.  I pray that I will be more like their mother and run to you ready to be held tight and purring to rest in your arms.  

Okay then … I’m still looking for someone to give these flea bitten cats a good home.  After all there are only so many animals that any family needs.  But, you’ll have to give me good references, and you’ll have to hurry.  We’re getting pretty used to each other around here, and it’s just a matter of time before those kittens will be calling me “Mama,” too.

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