The Miraculous Opening of a Heart

An excerpt from God's Messengers

When we took Jasper into our family, he was an eight-year-old, pure white, overweight cat with beautiful gold eyes, a severe shedding problem and a very distrustful nature. Jasper had good reason for his belief that humans couldn't be counted on. The man from whom we adopted Jasper told us some of the cat's history. He said that Jasper had lived in a series of homes where he'd been neglected, isolated in a cellar, made to stay outside even in severe winters, not allowed to sit on laps or furniture, left alone for long periods of time and rarely touched. By the time he came to live with us, it was clear that Jasper desperately wanted love but in his difficult life had never learned how to trust or accept it.

Jasper was nothing like the other cats my husband, Lawrence, and I had raised from kittens. The cats in our home are like children. We shower them with love, and they become flexible and patient. Rarely is there an empty lap in sight.

At first, Jasper wanted no part of this love stuff. He remained distressed and often nasty. He'd bite any hand that came near him, hiss at us and growl at our other pets. Yet the look in his eyes drew us to him. It was as if he wanted us to know that there was so much more to him than he was showing us. We saw Jasper's deep inner beauty and sweetness. So we decided to just give him as much love as he could take. We committed ourselves to his welfare and started patiently teaching him the loving ways of our family.

Lawrence and I did many things to help Jasper feel loved. We gave him nicknames. We developed a special language just for him that we called "jabber babble." We often told him how beautiful he was, with his wonderful long white hair. We let him sit on the sofa.

Jasper needed to become part of our family and learn to communicate with us, and we needed to learn Jasper's language. So initially we had Jasper ask for food. When he did, we gave him everything he asked for in abundance. This helped him know that in this new home, asking and receiving go together. As Jasper adjusted to being in a loving home, we no longer had to have Jasper ask for food. Gradually he learned not to gorge himself or eat when he wasn't hungry, because there would always be plenty for him. Jasper seemed to equate food with love; we wanted him to know that love is abundant in the world and that he would always receive it from us.

 


From the book God's Messengers Copyright © 2003 by Allen and Linda Anderson. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.




One morning, Lawrence was doing his daily contemplation exercise. He was singing "HU," an ancient name for God that is pronounced like the word "hue" and sung like a chant on the exhaled breath. Singing HU is said to focus the soul on God's love. It is followed by some quiet time for reflection.

As Lawrence sang HU, he felt something jump up on him. Thinking it was one of our other kittens, he reached to stroke the cat's head. That's when he discovered Jasper sitting on his lap, listening to him sing this sacred prayer. Fearing that Jasper would run away, Lawrence sat very still and continued to sing. Then he felt the soft touch of Jasper's face on his lips. It was as if the cat was bathing in Divine love. Next, in a truly moving moment, for the first time Jasper allowed Lawrence to pet him.

After that morning, we both began to sing HU to Jasper. Each day, he allowed himself to be loved a little more. Soon, Jasper was even playing - a big step for a cat who had never had reason for expressing joy. Before long, he was letting himself be groomed by our youngest cats with a look of pure bliss on his face.

Love blossomed so fully in Jasper that today he purrs when I pick him up, rub his belly and kiss him. He follows us around the house and is content to sit with us wherever we are. He's the first to greet us when we arrive home. He talks constantly. Now that he doesn't feel desperate for food, even his extra pounds have fallen away to reveal a sleek body.

I often thank Jasper for being such a treasure. He exemplifies the transformation that can happen when someone accepts love. I have learned much from all the four-legged members of my family, but I have a special place in my heart for Jasper. He allowed me to experience the opening of a heart, and there is no greater joy.

-more inspiring stories-

From the book God's Messengers Copyright © 2003 by Allen and Linda Anderson. Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.


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