About six weeks ago, a hungry, very dirty-looking white cat came to our back porch. I would guess it was about a year old older than a kitten but not a fully mature cat. Big clumps of hair were missing. It was scared and very wary of getting close to us and being touched. But it had beautiful blue eyes.
My son and daughter were the first to gain its trust. They set out food and water. Gradually, they would calmly and gingerly pet the cat. My son named her Isabelle.
Now, not knowing if she ever had a name before, I find his naming the cat somewhat presumptuous and just call her the white cat. "Have you seen the white cat this morning?" I'll ask. Or, "Did anyone feed the white cat tonight?" Unfortunately, she can't speak her name and resolve this uncertainty.
Most mornings, when I get up and let our cats, Tigger and Gracie, into the house, the white cat will be at the back porch waiting. After I get our cats settled, I take care of the white cat, putting out fresh food and water. She now allows me to pet her as well.
I don't know what kind of upbringing this white cat has had. I don't know if she felt loved before. I wonder if she was deliberately abandoned or mistakenly left behind. I don't know what kinds of trials and tribulations she has endured in her young life.
I don't know what led her to our back porch.
But I do know that my family cares for her. We want her to get stronger. We want her to be happy. She's already put on some weight. She doesn't seem quite so sad to me.
I don't know if some of you feel like this white cat. Perhaps you've felt abandoned emotionally or physically. Perhaps you've been hurt. Perhaps you don't like the way you look or the type of clothes you have. I know some of you have already had trials and tribulations to endure.
But I hope you find the chapel a safe, comforting place just like our porch has become a safe, comforting place for the white cat. I hope you receive spiritual nourishment and love. "Everybody wants to be loved," a high school teacher once told me. I believe that to be true.
I'm reminded of President Gordon B. Hinckley's counsel that every new member needs a friend, a calling and to be nourished by the good word of God. I hope you know that you will always have friends in the church. You may need to reach out a little bit to find these friends, but that's how it should be. You can't expect people to always reach out to you if you don't do anything.
I also hope you have a calling or will shortly receive one. It's important that we all serve in and out of the church. To paraphrase the Savior, inasmuch as ye have (fed the white cat), ye have done it unto me.
Sometimes, as I watch the white cat eating her food or drinking her water, I'm reminded that Heavenly Father is watching me and you. He is aware of us. He is concerned for us and he blesses us. He has often brought people and opportunities into my life to bless, strengthen and encourage me.
Kevin Fayles is a first counselor in the Hunter South Stake presidency in West Valley City. The above text was from a talk he gave to the stake's young single adults in May.