lori strawnConfession: I'm a cat person. Oh, I like dogs, too, but I've always felt a special affinity for felines. I guess you could call me a cat-whisperer. Over the years, my husband and I have taken in strays in various stages of neediness, from orphaned kittens to feral cats so wild, we felt lucky to have retained all our limbs. All have turned into loving companions. And they've taught me a thing or two about spirituality.

Spiritual? Cats? Yes. Far from the sinister enigmas cat-haters make them out to be, my feline friends instinctively know things we humans are often too caught up to see. Like...

1. Good things are good. If you give a cat a can of tuna fish, he eats it, happily, joyfully. There are no recriminations, no "I don't deserve this," no looking a gift horse (or fish) in the mouth. Humans pick apart their blessings; they have issues with money, love, happiness. Cats simply accept goodness and appreciate it.

2. Give others a chance. Before they found us, our cats were abused, injured, hunted, abandoned. They had no reason to trust humans and every reason to hate them. Yet they opened their small, furry hearts to us, looked past the past and gave us a chance to love them. I don't know many humans that resilient.

3. Trust. When a cat takes a flying leap off a bookcase, she doesn't worry about landing on her feet. She just assumes it will occur. We humans spend an awful lot of time worrying when the answer is so simple: Let go and let God.

I haven't yet learned all the spiritual lessons that cats can teach — far from it. I guess that's why God keeps sending them into my life. Now, if only he would pitch in for cat food....

Small Wonders

I praise You for the tiny glories
I am often too busy to see:
the irregular scallop of a maple leaf,
the impossible yellow of a dandelion,
the perfection of untrammeled snow.

For the scrap of sunlight the cat finds
in the darkened hallway,
I thank You.

For each sudden splendor:
the tickle of grass,
the dizzying dome of sky after rain,
the cozy smell of someone I love,
I exalt You.
Your beauty bursts my heart.

-Lori Strawn


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