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Stray cat strut



The Grand Rapids Press does a regular Sunday feature about 'someone you need to know': a local phenom of some sort. I always read the feature, and I always agree that it is someone I need to know. I got sidetracked today, though.

The woman featured, at one point, stopped the interview to shoo away a stray cat tempting her dog. Then she acknowledged, "I feed the cat. I suppose it's mine." And that's where my thoughts went astray, along with that cat.

There are a lot of things about myself I don't wish to acknowledge. I can be stupid, stubborn, selfish and mean. I would like to think those things don't really 'belong' to me, but like the lady in the interview, I feed them, so they are mine. I shoo them away, but then leave out morsels to tempt them back. Like a scrawny, slim cat, they take up residence, not because I've created a home for them, but simply because I let them. They aren't cuddly, personable or cozy...but they are mine.

How do you get rid of a stray? Simple: stop feeding them. Easier said than done of course. If it were easy, I'd be a saint right now, instead of a struggling sinner. Of course, most of the spiritual life is easy; we muck it up pretty regularly with our own ideas, desires, and whims. We keep opening up the doors to our souls, letting in the strays, leaving out scraps for them to feast on, and then wondering why our lives are now filled with ugly, unwanted beasts.

Time to take a look at the strays in my life, and feed only the things in my life I wish to claim as my own. No more crazy cat-lady for me.

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Crossing Guard

I saw you
today
as you guided
your little man across that busy street.

You were wearing some
big man boots
and
watching cars and lights.

Your little man had on
black sneakers and
a Mickey Mouse hat
that bounced
as he walked.

He wasn't watching nothing but
your big man boots
and
the white stripes of the crosswalk.

Just before
he got to the sidewalk again,
his step bounced a bit
- he hopped over
a spot where the asphalt broke.

You turned to look,
holding out a hand to
your little man.
Not rushed or angry,
just making sure
he got up
on that sidewalk.

Then you walked on,
in your big man boots,
face into a cold Michigan wind,
with the little man behind,
his hat bouncing.