Today was the second day of a two-day Diocesan (read 'statewide') conference of Episcopalians in Hawaii. My home church was the host parish, chosen because we have the largest physical plant on Oahu and can accommodate a group of 250 attendees. Whatever the reason, only 55 registered. There were 16 children, 8 presenters, and 3 Diocesan staff -- plus three of us who volunteered to do the hands-on stuff involved with making an event like this happen in your own facility.
It was Chuck Robertson, Canon to the Presiding Bishop, who first heard the tiny sounds. He was sitting outside the church during a workshop session, working on his laptop computer. But the little squeeks and mews were persistent, and he is a curious man. He and Lani Kaaihue, of the St. Andrew's Cathedral staff, searched until they found the source: a tiny kitten hiding in the potted plants at the base of the Columbarium adjacent to the church, wailing piteously. About that time Linda and I (host parish volunteers) arrived from the kitchen. Linda went in search of milk and a small bowl. I talked to the kitten, trying to at least see what I was talking to. Eventually Kitten backed into a corner, watching me cautiously. Then came The Grab. It took a bit to unhook all those kitten claws from the leaves of the plants behind which he was hiding, but out he came. Yes, lots of claws, but not the frantic scratching and biting I was expecting. This little guy was clearly afraid, but cuddled up against my chest, eventually relaxing enough to peep out and view the world. He's been raised around people.
We took him to the Thrift Shop, hoping to find an animal carrier and a blanket. Success on both counts. A customer provided a baggie of cat food which she happened to have in her purse.
Safe in the carrier and left in a quiet corner of an empty meeting room, Kitten settled in. He walked in the milk bowl, but ate every single crumb of the kitty kibbles. He hid in a back corner of the carrier, positioned so he could see what was going on around him.
We told everyone who would listen that Kitten needed a home. Many are allergic. Others faced long airline trips home. Still other have dogs. Or just plain don't like cats. Eventually, we approached the high school boys attending a basketball workshop in the gym adjacent to the kitchen. Several came to check out Kitten. One brought his dad.
"We already have three cats." said Dad.
"Will it bite?" asked Dad. I acknowledged that Kitten had hissed and spit at Kristy, but didn't bite me when I picked him up.
Dad talked quietly to Kitten, then gently opened the carrier door and slowly reached inside. Kitten practically crawled into his had without any additional prompting.
"I guess we have four cats." said Dad.
Give thanks for compassionate souls who lovingly adopt the lost and strays of the world. Give more thanks that I didn't have to bring Kitten home.
Don't forget to pray.