The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


March 15, 2014

Ann Leach: Stray cats teach wise lessons about faith

JOPLIN, Mo. — If we're open to them, life lessons are all around us, aren't they?

Take the three feral cats who have adopted me and my significant other. I almost added the comedic "Please!" after that line, but I wouldn't have meant it. These cats entertain us when we need it most; I'd hate to see them go.

I've been reminded to keep taking risks to have what I say I want, thanks to observing these feline teachers of mine. Today's story revolves around Snowflake, the mother of Martini and Rossi.

She's cautious, suspicious and less than loving. She is thankful for her food, provided by us, but she doesn't trust us and she probably doesn't really like us.

Snowflake's kids are a different story. They frolic in the yard, come in on winter days for warmth and to enjoy leisurely meals and the frequently found catnip mouse.

We have never touched Snowflake (she won't let us even try), but Martini and Rossi demand loving pats from us. At day's end, the three circle around the back door eager for it to open and for us to offer dinner. Rossi wastes no time rushing to his bowl, and Martini follows close at paw.

But Snowflake hesitates and holds back, just at the brink of the threshold.

Her nose twitches as she sees her children enjoying the bounty, yet she resists. She watches us nervously until we step broadly back from the door and allow her to run past us to the waiting delicacy of the day.

After all this time, she still can't trust us and the open door.

She's just like us humans. We want to believe that good is waiting for us: a better job, a more fulfilling relationship, a pain-free life or just the right house. We pray. We journal.

We profess our faith, and we can even see the goal in front of us. Yet still we hesitate at the threshold of possibility, not quite confident enough to truly trust, so we retreat in fear.

What will it take to nudge us forward? I believe that Snowflake ultimately steps out in faith to cross the threshold and run to her food because she's just plain hungry. Risking it all means that she will get her reward, whether short-lived or not. She takes a chance.

So what are you hungry for? What desire of your heart are you standing at the threshold of achieving and receiving? And why, if our faith is so strong, do you hesitate?

If we're not in faith, we're in fear. Hebrews 11:1 says, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

While I appreciate Snowflake and her personality quirks, I don't want us to be like her any more Ñ so hesitant to receive what we say we want.

Instead, be assured that the things you have hoped for are just right over the threshold waiting for you. Your higher power is nudging you to go toward it with confidence and assurance.

Ann Leach is a life coach based in Joplin. Contact her at

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