What Jordan Taught Me

Looking at the animals in the cages, the tiny orange kitten looked me right in the eye.

"Meow" look at me. I squeezed two fingers between the wires and its paw met my hand. "Meow" get me outta here!

"Can we get this one, Mommy?" my daughter Chiara asked.

We were at the animal shelter, so she could pick out a kitten. She had longed for a kitten for years, but I felt that she was too young. It was the day before her ninth birthday; she was finally going to get her kitty.

The animal handler took him out of the cage and showed Chiara how to hold him. We went into the visiting room and spent a little time with this vocal little tabby cat. He quickly found a comfortable spot on my lap.

"Meow" I'm cute..take me with you.

The day before, he had four brothers and sisters in the cage with him, but that day he was alone. This was the kitten that no one seemed to want.

We brought him home and only then did we notice how tiny he really was. On the living room floor, he took up no more room than a shoe, but his meow could be heard. There was something he was trying to tell us.

Watching this curious little kitten find his way around his new home, we were amazed at how this puny little feline could jump. Chiara decided to name him Jordan, because she thought he liked to jump just like Michael.

Jordan was unlike any other kitten I had ever seen. He preferred to sit on Chiara's lap or snuggle on my shoulder than to explore; longing for love that I assumed he lost when he was separated from his siblings. At his first check-up at the vet, Jordan was timid. The vet then informed me that Jordan was severely malnourished. On his cage in the animal shelter was a sign that read "stray." I began to wonder what this little kitty had suffered living on the street.

The government provides Animal Control. Their job is to pick up animals off the street and give them shelter until a loving family can take them in and show them love. Why is it that people on the street aren't given the same opportunity? If a kitten ails and craves affection after eight weeks, what happens to a person that has been on the street for years?

America has approximately 3,800 shelters for animals that need saving, yet only 1,500 women's shelters.

I have seen the homeless in the city, but what had I really done to make a difference? I’ll give what’s in my pocket from time to time and I’ve served a few meals, but is that even enough to scratch the surface?  Even if I spent the entire day distributing items or food, at the end of the day I still get to go home. I began to question how we as American people allow our own to languish on the streets. Do most of us even care?

Contrary to the belief of some, not everyone on the street is a bum or an addict. There are many veterans that have been forgotten by the government, women and children that have fled abusive homes, and people just like us…the ones that may have missed the rent a few times and have nowhere to go.

Jordan was a part of our family for a week, until he could fight to survive no longer. The only words I could think to comfort my daughter was to remind her that at least Jordan had a loving family his last few days; he wasn't on the street or locked up in the pound. That's when I realized what his meows were saying.

No one else adopted him because he was a runt, but we loved Jordan.

What about the homeless man that may come to your place of business looking for a job? Will he get turned away because of his appearance?

Being without his mama made him weak, so he clung to his new human family.

Have you ever thought about helping out a child that needs a hand to hold?

He preferred rest and relaxation because he was sick, not lazy.

How many times have you heard judgment being passed on the unemployed?

Chiara's needy little kitten made me realize that no life, especially a human life deserves suffering and isolation. We will always love and remember Jordan, the kitten that taught us compassion.

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