Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sparrows Are Falling

One of my employees rescued a kitten today. We had some sudden rain, and it was trapped in a truck well beneath an elevation ramp.
The kitten's eyes were swollen shut, probably from an infection, but my guy got some paper towels and started gently rubbing the kitten's face and eyes.
The cat can now see, but we didn't have any milk for it, and it's probably not old enough for solid food. It turned down hot dogs and Pringles.
I have three cats. If I came home with another cat, it would probably have to go live with the pig.
None of my employees need a cat.
The shots, food, getting it "fixed", etc., will be expensive.
If we take it to the animal shelter, they'll put it to sleep within a few days.
There are probably 5,000 kittens just like that one in Fort Worth. I bet 5% of them die every week.
It seems hopeless.

I volunteer for a charitable program called Family Pathfinders. A group of us try to help struggling families with job training, filling out job applications, financial aid, learning to call in to the workplace when running late, and all the tens of thousands of little skills that many of us take for granted.
We were assigned our first family about 9 months ago, and met with them as often as we could, and helped them as much as we could.
The family consisted of a single mother and her three daughters.
We eventually gave up and had to end the relationship. The mother wouldn't tell us the truth about where their money was going, and she wouldn't show up for meetings or appointments.
But I'm haunted by those three little girls. They're doomed.
What the hell do you do? Adopt them? Do what the State of Texas did at the YFZ Polygamist Ranch, and take the kids away from their mother?

A cyclone has hit the nation of Burma, a nation ruled for decades by its own military. Their government is so paranoid, they won't let aid flow into the country.
The United Nations, truly one of the most useless organizations to ever exist, is doing nothing but rationalizing ways to justify doing nothing.
Our Right Wing isn't willing to intervene, perhaps because there is no oil or any strategic advantage for doing so.
Our Left Wing isn't willing to intervene, because they have a puzzling infatuation with totalitarian governments (see Mao, Castro, etc etc etc.)
The Libertarian types generally oppose intervention because it's none of our business.
The suffering in that miserable nation is almost too great to comprehend.
What can we do?

I know a lot of people who take comfort in Jesus' words in the Gospel of Matthew. Here's Matthew 10:29-31.... "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows."

Taken at face value, Jesus seems to be saying that God is aware when sparrows fall. "Apart from the will of your Father....", that phrase implies that the sparrow doesn't fall unless it's the will of God. And we are worth more than sparrows.

The kitten, who is now in a box in one of my offices at work, probably weighs as much as two sparrows. Do I take it back outside, now that the rain has stopped, and hope that Mom shows up? Do I get it over with, and simply wring its neck? Take it to the pound? Buy milk, teach it to drink from a saucer, raise it to adulthood, and turn it loose in the neighborhood? And what about the other estimated 4,999 stray cats in Fort Worth? They're out their breeding like, like....well, cats.

What do we do for the three little girls? Our Family Pathfinders group will be assigned a new family soon. Do we just give up on this other family and hope for the best? I can promise you, the girls aren't going to turn out OK by mistake. Not in that environment.
As upper income families have fewer and fewer children, the lower income families, right or wrong, perceive more and more economic advantages in having more kids. It is staggering to think of.

In Burma, at least 20 people died from neglect, hunger and exposure in the time it took you to read this far. Their military won't allow anyone from the outside to help. What can be done?

Sparrows are falling everywhere. What are we supposed to do? Just watch, pray about it, and congratulate ourselves for not being among the fallen?

And now that I've put all this in perspective....does anybody want a cat?


disinter said...

I would like to rescue the cat. I live in Fairview (near McKinney).

Please contact me via the contact tab at the top of my blog.

TomG said...

I would agree that the Ayn Randian types wouldn't have a care for helping them or any downtrodden - even to the point of contorting logic and making it seem that any assistance would somehow be doing them harm (presumably compromising their humanly-inherent self-reliance, blah, blah). To the contrary, I think most libertarians don't have an issue with aid if it's voluntarily-given (which via redirected tax revenues, isn't of course).
As far as the will of God goes, even we truly operate based on Free Will - then God isn't deciding when even a sparrow's heart may stop. Rather, He set the world in motion with His defined laws at the dawn of time - and it just goes the way it goes for every possible/probable outcome - with some sparrows dying of weak hearts, most of them living a few years, and a very few with extra years. Same with Man.
Cheers, Tom

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Tom, I agree with you about the Ayn Randians. I've been the beneficiary of too much charitable kindness myself to go as far as they do.
However, it was usually voluntary kindness thrown my direction that was the most beneficial.

I've emailed you.

Everyone else,
It looks like we've gotten the kitten taken care of. Who wants to do something to help the 3 little girls ? We're probably talking about a 15-year commitment.

TomG said...

You may only be referring to the college expenses, right? Otherwise, sounds like you're having a blast with three great kids - my younger one reminds me so much of the older (14 years apart) and I often forget what decade I'm in ... they grow up way too quickly.
Cheers, Tom

8xid_x said...

I took the cat home. My wife gave it a bath. It slept all night until about 2:00am then started crying all night. Got up, held it, fed it, it went back to sleep about 4:00am.

The next morning after a long sleepless night we gave it to my neighbors. They love animals. They will take care of it then find it a home.

1 kitten saved. 1 night of sleep lost. Everyone else can rest easy.

CountingCats said...

I would have helped with the kitty, but getting it to the Gold Coast would have been problematic.

The Whited Sepulchre said...

Counting Cats isn't referencing the Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas, but the city/region in Australia, where he runs the brilliant Counting Cats blog.

Because of his distant location, there will be one less cat to count in Zanzibar. (See the masthead of his site for the Thoreau quote.) www.countingcats.com

However, he is ideally suited to clean up the problem in Burma.
If I can get a cat adopted, he can take care of the Burmese military junta.