We have a very special Auntie who lives very far away. Her name is Auntie Jody and she lives in Australia. She has many kitties of her own but always has a nice word or a present for us. She wrote the story below and we thought it was very nice. She said it was ok if we shared it with everyone.
It may be a little sad at first, but it made us believe we are all a part of God's plan. We are here to love and teach people (even though most humans think we are here to be served by them). We hope you enjoy it.
Paully looked up at the walls of the alley. They were sheer and wet and there was no escape in that direction. He looked back down the alley, and it was too late to run. The man who had chased him through the filthy streets came walking up the cracked concrete towards him. His heavy boots splashed through greasy puddles and crushed discarded food cartons with equal contempt, and his breathing was harsh and rapid.
The man’s eyes were blank and shallow and his face was twisted in hatred and, curiously, fear. Paully closed his eyes as the hard hands closed around his starved and beaten body.
Paully could never remember later whether it was the sound of birdsong, the warmth of the sunshine or the smell of catnip that woke him. But when he opened his eyes he found himself cradled in God’s arms, being gently rocked.
“Back with us Paully?” God asked gently, “Do you feel alright?”
Paully looked up at God’s face, feeling the nightmare of his short life lift from his heart. He sighed and reached out a paw to touch God’s cheek.
“It was hard, Lord” he said “so very hard.”
God stroked Paully’s cheek, “I know. I was there with you.”
Paully was surprised, “Really? Why would you do that?”
“Oh, Paully. Do you think I could ask you to suffer what I would not? I was with you throughout every second of your life. I would never leave you to stand alone.”
Paully thought about that for a bit, cradled in warm, loving arms. Somehow he felt better about things, knowing his trial had been shared.
“Lord, there’s some things I want to ask you.”
“Certainly, Paully. But first you might want to get something to eat and have a look around. Then come and find me in the orchard and I will answer all your questions.”
God placed Paully gently on the ground, where he stretched experimentally. His coat was lustrous and thick in a way it had never been during his short life. His legs were strong and well muscled, straight and free of pain. Paully jumped straight up in the air and pounced on a dry leaf just because he felt so good. God smiled at his high spirits and tossed him another leaf to pluck from the air.
A burst of birdsong directly overhead made him pause in his play. A sparrow perched on a branch above him…almost in reach…just a few inches…”Paully?” said God, raising one eyebrow, “Do you remember what they say about sparrows?” Paully licked one shoulder and considered his tail tip. “You know when even one falls?” If Paully had been able to blush he would have.
God nodded, “There is plenty of food here Paully. This is their Bridge too.” and strolled away towards the orchard.
“But Lord!” Paully shouted, “If I can’t hunt, what will I eat?”
God laughed, and called back over one shoulder “If I can make an entire universe and populate it with life, don’t you think I could come up with food that is delicious, nourishing and doesn’t need to be killed?”
Paully scampered off down the hill, delighted to find the grass soft and springy, a welcome change to concrete and asphalt. The air seemed to be filled with delightful scents; flowers and animals, warm grass and…yes…food!
That evening as dusk fell softly over the Bridge and stars began to appear overhead, Paully came at last to the orchard. He approached God, who was sitting under an apple tree, a lamb asleep in the celestial lap.
“Good evening, Paully.” God smiled a welcome, “Have you come to talk to me?”
“Yes Lord” said Paully “I want to know why.”
God nodded and gently set the sleeping lamb aside, placing her on a bed of fallen leaves. Paully climbed into the vacated lap and looked up into God’s face expectantly.
“All living things are my children, Paully.” God began “And most, such as cats like yourself, sparrows, and yes, even dogs, live as they are supposed to. Enjoying the bounty I have provided and staying true to their nature. Some of my children, however, do not.” Paully figured he knew which children they were.
“Humanity, Paully, are by and large good beings, capable of tremendous kindness and courage. But some have fallen so far that they enjoy inflicting pain on other living beings. The fault of the others is that they do not realise why they should be angry about this. They feel that since they are not doing bad things, that this will be enough.” God stroked Paully’s thick orange and cream fur.
“But it’s not enough. By standing aside they fail in the most intrinsic of human gifts, the gift of compassion. And they must come to understand that they each are to a degree responsible for the fate of any living being they come in contact with.”
“All children, including my children, must learn in their own way. And for humans the way is that wrongs must build up to a certain level for them to open their eyes and stand forward to be heard. Each little evil brings with it a corresponding portion of anger on behalf of another human with compassion, until eventually all the humans who are good will stand up and say that they will no longer tolerate the evil.”
“But the price for such a method of learning is high, Paully. Many must suffer before the eyes of the multitudes are opened. Because it was I who made humans what they are, I will suffer with every one of those many. I grieve for every instant of sadness or pain that is caused, so that sadness and pain will one day be ended.”
“But Lord,” wondered Paully, “couldn’t you just make humans incapable of evil?”
“A good question, Paully, and a solution that tempts me. But a parent cannot simply make rules without the children ever coming to understand why the rules are made, and why they are just. If humans are to take their rightful place as beings that are aware of their own faults and gifts, as my other children are, then they must win this struggle on their own. For me to simply take the decision away from them will make them less than they could be. It would deny them the chance to reach out of themselves and become the gentle, compassionate beings they should be.”
Paully squirmed rebelliously “But Lord, it isn’t fair that we should suffer just so they can grow up!”
“Of course not, Paully. And because it would be unfair to make any of my children suffer, only volunteers are given the tasks that will add to the weight of righteous anger. You won’t remember, as you are now forgetting your experiences on Earth, but you were a volunteer. One of the bravest and brightest.”
Paully could indeed barely remember the events of his life. That was, he felt, quite a blessing, considering. “But Lord, if we are volunteers, why would the humans feel bad when we suffer? After all, we stepped into the mess.”
“Oh, Paully. You underestimate the human capacity for honour. When, with time, they realise that you have chosen to suffer for them, they will also understand that your courage does not excuse another’s evil. That the ones who wrong you take advantage not just of their strength and power, but of your love. Indeed, they will one-day reach out to you with such gratitude that your gift will be returned tenfold. “
Paully looked sceptical. ”Tenfold? How do you know that?”
God raised Paully so their eyes were level. “Because I know everything.” Paully had to laugh. “And,” God continued, “because some humans are already reaching out to repay their debt.”
“This gives me a lot to think about, Lord”, Paully said thoughtfully. “I might find somewhere to curl up and sleep on it. Do you know of somewhere warm and dry?”
“Anywhere you choose will be warm and dry here, this is the Bridge after all. But you might find the hayloft over the barn a pleasant place. The barn,” God explained, “is for those farm beasts who enjoy the feeling of deep, soft hay and the comfort of the manger. Each to their own.”
Paully leapt from God’s lap in excited anticipation; a warm, dry, place filled with contentment and comfort!
“Oh, and Paully,” God called after the rapidly departing ginger striped tail, “You can sleep late here, the daytime holds no dangers.”
The next morning Paully went looking for God, who was in the flower garden picking rose hips for a pair of dappled fawns.
“What happens now, Lord? I am enjoying the Bridge, but I have this ache for something greater and sweeter. And I don’t want to go on any more missions…”
“You have a choice, Paully. You can stay here at the Bridge for as long as you like, or you can be born as a kitten again. To be chosen and loved by a human who has made the journey to compassion and honour. When, at the end of a long and joyful life, you come to the Bridge again; you will wait for your human and cross together. And you will be together in the way that all my children were meant to be.”
Paully considered this seriously.
“Lord, I think I will stay here for a little while. But after that, I would like to be a kitten again. I would like to experience the best of what humanity has to offer.” He said looking earnestly up into his Lord’s gentle face. He took the answering smile for assent and, turned to go about his explorations.
“Just come to me when you are ready.” God turned to pick some more rose hips, “Oh, and Paully?”
Paully paused in his leap towards the lower branches of a mulberry tree “Yes, Lord?”
“Leave those sparrows alone.”
This image and story Copyright 1999 Jody Burgess No reprints or copies without permission. To e mail Jody directly click on her graphic.