"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." -Lao Tzu
Oh, this journey we have been on- have you been following? It has been a doozy for sure, not one we have ever expected. When we first moved here to work with the kids, we thought they were going to be our kids. However, we learned most orphanages here in Haiti (and many around the world) are full of children who have parents. These children are usually victims of poverty and a system that tells their parents an institution will provide for their needs far better than the parent ever could... you probably already know this about us and actually that is not the focus of this blog. Our journey began when we moved here and met the kiddos. However there was a small part of our journey that came in the form of a tiny cat- and this is where this blog begins.
When we moved to Haiti there was a cat that we kept while her kittens were too young to rehome, and in the weeks where they were getting big enough to walk around, one little one kept finding her way to us while the others stayed close to mom.
This little kitten earned herself the name Journey. I would say we chose her for ourselves but really, she chose us.
Journey was always fearless as a kitten. She was curious like any cat but had no issues taking on our bigger cat Maysi, mice, or even tarantulas. She even loved our giant new puppy Raj and really loved our crazy chihuahua Riley. She snuggled him the most, even though it was not a mutual love.
Journey was fiercely loving and would follow us wherever we went in the house- even as a full grown cat. She LOVED to follow us in the shower. She would wait between the curtains for us to get out, sometimes she did not wait and would walk right in suddenly realizing there was water then rushing out. After waiting for you to finish showering she would watch as you grabbed your towel and then promptly jump up into it as you dried off and she would purr, snuggle, and love on you. It was seriously the cutest thing.
Journey got hurt somehow while we were gone this last trip home and it appeared she had somehow broken her back. She was only two years old and had to be put down.
It felt extremely silly to feel sad over just a cat. In a country where poverty takes it toll on the people we are living to serve, it is hard to justify feelings over animals.
However, I am a deeply loving and mercy-filled person so this little Haitian cat taught me much! Someone helped me to see clearly why I had these sad feelings and I wanted to share with you just what Journey the cat taught me about life.
1. Love fiercely- love whenever possible. Love without condition. Love anyway, even when they do not love you back. She showed this on the daily in her pursuit to make Riley the chihuahua love her.
2. Live your best life- when someone is having a rough day, be present. Maybe that looks ridiculous like attacking them with love and forcing snuggles on them, but you can really impact someone by being there for them. Living your best life often isn't about you at all but by how you choose to impact others.
3. Leave your fear behind- do not let fear keep you from living your life. Life is a gift and wasting any time on fear is not worth the part of the journey you might miss. Journey weighed less than a pound when she adventured around the house to find us. She was not too much bigger than her first tarantula catch either, she lived fearlessly.
4. Loyalty goes a long way- Journey would attempt to follow me into the shower just because she loved being with me, and I will never forget it. She would jump in fearlessly and then get right back out once she got wet but she then would wait for you until you were done. I want to be a loyal friend to others and meet them where they are at (well, maybe not in the shower LOL ;)
5. Locked doors mean nothing- for Journey she learned to knock, climb, jiggle door handles, push, and scratch the door until someone would come and open it. She was relentless and I have learned this same principal applies to our prayer lives. Ask and the door will be opened to you.
I know God uses all things for our good. I am a firm believer that GOD DOES NOT WASTE.
These little lessons from a tiny cat are something that apply to everyone. Our journey in life is small compared to eternity. Our journeys are all but a vapor in the wind but I know when we live for God our journey matters.
What is the one step you could be taking today for your journey? What is holding you back?
So I hope you laughed a little with me about some silly things my silly cat used to do, but more than that- I hope you too, always find God in the small things and joy in your journey.
In Memory of Journey the cat- teaching us lessons about taking the first step since 2017.
Kristen & Alex Bradshaw