Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Setting Sail

I cannot lie. The first week of our intertwined lives, I was positive that one of us would not make it out alive. Almost 8 months later, Nelson is my friend. We not only survived, but lived, and I am quite certain I do not know what I would do without my little cat.  I was not quite sure how he would respond to be first abandoning him (he was well cared for), and then returning home. Would he be angry? Would I have weird "gifts" (you know what I'm sayin') hidden in strategic locations (between sheets and in walking paths)? The answer no.
The answer is that Nelson is even more of what he has always been; my friend.

I bought him a harness and a leash. Being an indoor cat, and me being paranoid I cannot let him out into the wild. Not on his own. Each day this week I have harnessed him and dragged him outside (literally dragged or carried) and we have begun "leash training."

Total side note: It is HILARIOUS. As soon as the harness is on, for a few minutes he has no idea what to do. He falls to the floor limp. (Not hurt in the least.) Then we make it outside and the hilarity continues. Seriously. Literally one of the funniest things I have seen. Ever.

Moving on.

Nelson has become more used to the leash. A few days ago I took him out for a leisurely stroll in the alley and we ended  up in my front yard. It hadn't been mowed yet, so it was like a wild cat oasis. Long grasses and the like.   The evening was beautiful. The sky was still it's day-blue hue, but the start of the pinks and purples were appearing. The puffy clouds were still deliciously white, not a stormy cloud among them, and the breeze was the perfect blend of cool and warm.

(I was looking particularly fetching in my "house sockish-things", and my new cat comfy pants and blue-shirt to match, and reading my book standing on the sidewalk.) But Nelson, walked over to the grass, and just sank down. He's been on grass before. It was just this moment though, of pure contentedness.  I don't know that he would have ever moved (except that there are probably things out there he'd try to eat, if not at least play with) should they have appeared in the yard.

I saw something in him, yes my cat, in that moment. He was content. His belly full. He has a home. Someone who feeds him tartar control treats, gives him Cat Sip and on fun days, baked chicken (skinless and boneless, mind you). He has everything he needs. Somehow that has transformed itself into contentment and even happiness.

I had just spoken to another friend on this topic of contentedness when the sight of my Nelson caused it to hit me again. Life is not perfect, and it's often really not fair. However, life wasn't made to be perfect, and no one said it would always be fair. I have everything I need. Beyond a place to live and clothes to wear. Beyond food to eat and water to drink. I have a good job. I have a great family- which is really a bunch of weird people who are my friends. I have great friends - which they are really a bunch of weird people are are my family.

Sometimes though. I want more. We want more and more. Contentedness is shaken off by the new shiny and bright.  And after all, Nelson is a cat. He doesn't have to worry about the bills. He does not have to go to the grocery store and find the buggy without the squeaky wheel. He does not have to do anything but show up.

This morning I woke up for work, and had no electricity. Typically you could drive a train through the room when I'm asleep and I'm out. However, last night that was not the case. I was awake and terrified as the storm swirled it's way around the area. As I drove over to my parents' I remembered the story in the Bible about the disciples being with Jesus on the boat. I was safe in my dry albeit dark house (although yes, I did periodically sneak a peek at my tomatoes in the front yard, which are doing quite remarkable still), and I was afraid. There was nothing I could do to stop the storm. I could not put up a barrier. I could not build a fence or a wall. My pleadings with the storm itself to stop were ignored. I cannot imagine being on a boat in that type of weather. I know why the disciples were afraid; they were going to sink. The boat was going to take on water. They would be struck by lightning. I can imagine Jesus rolling his eyes and saying to His disciples (yes I'm paraphrasing), "Seriously guys? Seriously?" Then turning to wind and the waves saying, "Peace. Be still." Suddenly, where there was a storm, there was calm. Where there were waves, there was a body of water with not one ripple. Where there were bolts of lightning, there was nothing but the deep dark blue sky. He silenced that storm.

Perhaps you would say that you are in a storm. Maybe it's a storm worry, bills to pay, a roof to replace. Maybe it's a storm of discontentment, a dishwasher calling your name (that could just be me). Maybe it's a storm of sorrow that envelopes you. Or a storm of bitterness that you cannot scrub away.

This is when Jesus wants to step in and say, "Peace. Be still." You just have to ask. He will not come to you until you do. However, when you do ask, you'll find He's right there at your side.

Sure, the waves may still rock the boat, but when I keep my eyes on Him, my heart knows the calm of a quiet sea.

I Timothy 6:6
Much love,

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