Cat and Mouse

Trying to Figure out Friendship


Several times, when I was a boy, living in my family on the small market garden farm of my father, our cat Rusty left a ‘gift’ at our backdoor. After some time of serious hunting or in a moment of serendipitous discovery he had found this precious thing, well suited for his own amusement and advancement. Yet, after playing with (read ‘torturing’) this small furry creature for some time before he grew bored, and mercifully (?) taking its life, he came and left the wee present at our backdoor. Careful where you step.

Sometimes in my honest or even misguided attempts to befriend, nurture, and enhance the life of another, I too have presented what were to me precious objects (even bits and pieces of myself – opinions, suggestions, contacts, encouragement, resources) which though well-meaning and maybe even helpful to some extent, perhaps began to smell or feel more like smothering control and manipulation, ultimately seen as something less than helpful.

So it is that sometimes those we think we’re helping find our ministrations to be less so than we intend and appreciate them about as much as our family used to, in finding a mangled mouse dead on our doorstep. The problem is in me. Beyond any disappointment, I perceive my own selfish and controlling neediness, my grasping and conniving. It hurts to discover this, for – silly me – this cat really thot they’d like the mouse.

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