“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
1 Corinthians 13:13
Recently my husband and I had an experience that showed us we need to “put our money where our mouth is,” so to speak. David and I have studied together about true love and the importance of giving love and serving others for many years. To read and discuss true love is one thing, but to put it into practice in our day-to-day lives is a true challenge. We recently have faced — and continue to face — this challenge.
At our house, one of our new family members is a kitten named Marco Purro. He is not quite 3 months old and unbelievably energetic, as most kittens are. He was wreaking havoc all over our house, doing back flips off the kitchen table, getting his paw caught in the dishwasher; he broke my unbreakable Correlle ware and Correlle. He even impaled himself in our coat closet. I went to look for him and he was hanging down from my coat with his claws stuck. I frightened him and he dropped into his water bowl. He nearly leapt headlong into the toilet, but I cut him off in mid-flight before he would have splashed down.
We were getting exasperated. We were looking at each other, with that, “OMG, what have we done?” We yelled at Marco, NO NO NO NO and locked him in our laundry room all night despite his MEOW–wow-wow-wow cries.
We were getting furious at this little kitten and all the while continuing to read inspirational words about how love is so important and true love can transform relationships and change the world.
I was speaking with one of my friends and she said to me, “He’s a baby. He wants his mommy; he just wants to be close to you.” Such a simple statement, but it hit me hard. So with a bit of chagrin we changed our approach. We calmed down and — guess what? Marco calmed down, too (for the most part). We have been taking time to hold him and play with him and speak to him calmly. That very night I let him in on our bed and he curled up next to me and purred loudly for a long time.
He is still mischievous, but he responds to us and trusts us more. We are building a relationship that we have faith will result in Marco growing to maturity and being a wonderful pet.
We changed our way of giving and relating to him and in doing so, the little kitty responds positively. He still runs around the room as if he is on fire and eats my food if he can make it up to the table while my back is turned. But the consistent application of kindness and love seem to sooth the savage kitty; perhaps the greatest response to all sorts of troubles really is love.
Deanna Cooper is the pastor at Kodiak Family Church (Unification Church).