Her Name is Spike

Blog by Sr. Pat Thomas, OP
Blog by Sr. Pat Thomas, OP

Shortly after moving into the Peace Center, we found a feral cat wandering around the outside of the building. It took some time, of course, but eventually it responded to the food we left for it and then, even let us begin to pet it a little each day. There were lots of cats around so we gave them each names just to tell them apart. Sometimes we did not know their gender, so our adopted cat became “Spike” before we knew she was a girl. The name has stayed with her.

Spike is afraid of everything. She jumps at the least noise and, trust me, we have lots of that with car doors slamming, cement trucks driving by, people coming in and out of the Center. She tries very hard to avoid it all, and we have to adapt to her chosen feeding spots to keep her away from the turmoil. Why is she so afraid? Who knows? She just is, and she will not be moved.

We always try to figure out why someone is afraid of something, don’t we? In this case, was the cat abused and put in scary situations as she grew up? There is no way to really know, but how to create less scary times for her is a real learning for us.

So how are we with people who have fears? I don’t mean phobias – those are tough to deal with in everyday life. I mean fears based on ignorance and lack of information, fears based on stereotypes about people who are different. Those kinds of fears can be “unlearned,” maybe slowly but it is not impossible. Fear of the dark is one thing; fear of the dark skinned is another. Fear of losing one’s home is one thing; fear of the homeless and disabled is another. Fear of being poor is one thing; fear of those who are poor is another. So ultimately, it is the person who matters, not their fears. How can we be less fearful?

Posted in Weekly Word

4 responses to “Her Name is Spike

  1. Trust is the first one learns.Trust in word and action. Keep
    Your word when you promise to do something.In the case someone, is fearful of darkness,go to the room that is dark
    And stand by them till their eyes adjust to the darkness
    then walk with them into the room. Something else that
    helps one has confidence in another, the person listens to
    them with full attention and take the person curiously.

  2. Pat, I really enjoyed this blog…it made me ask what, who do I fear? Thanks for providing a great Lenten reflection.

  3. We can be less fearful by getting to know the people you describe. If possible we can volunteer at places where others are already fearless of them,i.e., homeless shelters, food banks, etc. For about 15 years I volunteered at the Hope Rescue Mission in South Bend. Once a month a group of friends prepared and served supper, and I led the required prayer service. Each time
    I was preparing the preaching, I’d pray, “Dear God, help me to say something that would help at least ONE person.” Inevitably, ONE person would say how much what I said really touched him or her.

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