We live in a house with four doors to the outside: one to the south, one to the northeast, one to the north and one to the west. We have six cats. Okay so you already know this is going to be one of those strange articles that attempts to compare cat characteristics to those of humans. Well strange or not, I write what God shows me and this is it for today. A cat is a fickle creature: persnickety from head to tail, and very demanding. They like things perrrfect…pun intended. And although they have a brain, selfishness and self-centered desires seem to override it quite often.
Now we are not dog people. We are cat people. I don’t know why…it just started that way. Maybe it has something to do with us; meaning we are exactly like them…or exactly opposite of them. Or, maybe it has something simply to do with cats. If you get a dog first there is still room in the house for a cat. But, if you get a cat first, most likely, all the rooms have been taken. We started with a cat. We think our cats are wonderful…thus, so many. And, we are tickled and entertained daily by their self-indulgent ways. Considering this description, I am truly hoping that we are in no way like our cats.
Oh…but we most certainly are. And when I say “we” I am talking about those who are in pursuit of Christ. Let me give you an example. We live in Kansas. Now I could have been secretive and not disclosed that, but I did because I know what a great place it truly is to live. You “coasters” might not think we are as up on things as you are, but we are…we’re just different. That is obviously why I am writing a parallel of cats and Christians. We have great schools, community people who really support each other, good laws, good churches, reasonable football and a mix of foods from all corners. We also have a mix of weather. One of the top-lining quotes about us right now is “If you don’t like the weather in Kansas, just wait 20 minutes, it will change.” Yesterday is was 67 degrees and clear with no wind. Last week the kids were out of school for 2 days with 10 inches of snow on the ground. Today it is sleeting and the wind is blowing 48 mph. My heavy lawn furniture is now piled in a huddle at the corner of my deck. I’m not sure if it blew there or if they are trying to adapt after yesterday’s teasing warmth.
However, no one is more confused than the cats. We have two kittens that are now seven months old. Every day is a new experience. They bounded out in the white fluffy snow with excitement and speed. Only to stop abruptly lifting one paw and then the other in an effort to remove the freezing dust with each step. Six leaps out, twelve painful steps back in…and with a look that articulated how disappointed they were in our decision to let them out that door. Then with the warming temperatures, yesterday they couldn’t get enough of the great outdoors. They laid on the lawn furniture and the tables and stretched and sunned themselves. All day they were in and out…asking for more of those perfect conditions. And each time they ventured out, they were met with a pleasing climate as if their requests were being granted. It was a wonderful cat day. They were agreeable and not feisty to each other…or to me.
But today is a different story. While the day was still dark, and I barely had my eyes open, three of them met me in the hall outside my bedroom. They wanted out. My husband hadn’t even gotten the coffee on before five of the six of them were driving us crazy with meowing and circling at the door. As we sat down for devotions and tried to concentrate over the noise, we realized their demand would eventually win out, so we gave in. You see, our hesitation was based on the fact that we had watched the weather forecast and knew that they should not be as excited as they were about going outside today. Today was not yesterday. So, I opened the door and as soon as the cold wind met up with their little whiskers, they turned tail and reversed their decision. They backed up and crouched down and tried to peer into the darkness for some sort of understanding. Then, while bumping into each other upon retreat, they began to hiss and swat at each other. They had assumed that there would be a perfect environment behind that door and retaliated against me and each other when reality disappointed them.
Then, one of the cats ran to the front door. He stood and meowed and carried on so loudly that half of the others ran after him…anticipating with excitement that he had found the “right” door. We laughed aloud asking them if they thought it was going to be spring on that side of the house. They looked at us scolding…with persistent demands…as if to say, “How dare you keep us from what we want?” And because of the deep covered entry way porch on that side, they ran straight out…and then stood still…frozen in their situation. We were almost beside ourselves with laughter as one by one they came back inside, displeased with what they found outside the door of their choice. Strangely enough a couple of them headed straight back to the first door. Now, I’m not trying to make a particular point yet…but it was the kittens and not the older cats.
So laughing aside, what is the point? Well for one, I can tell you for sure that nothing warms you up like the feeling of out-and-out laughter early in the morning. The rest you may have to sort out for yourselves. But these cats and their selfish behavior this morning have brought me to a moment where I have an overwhelming inclination to apologize to my Lord.
Am I always this demanding without consideration for what He might be wanting for me?
Do I stomp and prance about and open my mouth loudly enough to be a real annoyance?
When He tries to explain the situation, and give me the reasons that He doesn’t want to open that door, do I fuss even louder?
And, when He gives into my choice of desires, do I turn and blame Him for the problems?
When He lets me back in, do I thank Him and stay by Him, or do I run to the next door excited that it will give me what I think I want?
And, how many times do I run to the same doors?
I guess the part that hit me the hardest today while watching my ridiculous cats act in ridiculous ways is…when the reality of the conditions outside the door, that has been opened for me, are not what I expected them to be…do I act selfishly and hiss and swat at others?
We live in a world with doors everywhere. We can either selfishly waste our lives and energies running from one choice to the other, or…we can wait on the Master, ask His permission, follow His will, and live in peace.
Rhonda Loucks is a wife, mother, Sunday School teacher and member of Wichita First Church of the Nazarene. She contributes regularly to the church’s Women’s Ministry newsletters. More of her writings can be found at www.uncutobedience.com.