Home for the Holidays, by Thomas Kincaid

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Parable of the Cat and The Glass Door

As some of you know, I have two cats, Timmy and Sunny. For a number of years, they were only indoor cats. It always seemed the best option to keep them in since our house faces a relatively busy street. But for a long time I felt really bad that they were cooped up in the house, always looking out the windows. Every living thing of intelligence longs to be out of doors. It is only natural. My heart was filled with compassion towards my little animals, so this Summer I began to let them out in our backyard.

Much of the time they would lay out on our porch, or in the green grass that they love so much...

or under our tree...
I was so happy, because they were obviously so at peace and happy.

For a long time, they remained in our yard, but then they began to jump the fence and go over into our neighbor's yard. There, they would lounge under their bushes on hot afternoons. This was okay. But their longing for adventure, drew them to other neighbors' yards and, before we knew it, they were wandering the neighborhood.

Then, this passed week, we caught them going across the busy road in front of our house. They had expanded their territory to include a road that has already taken the life of an earlier cat. So, with much regret, we closed the door to our cats' outside adventures and they are once again only indoors.

Now, they stare through the glass door that use to allow them entrance into the green world they adore. They stare and they meow and they put their paws on the glass, but the door doesn't open, not for them anymore.

The other day I was watching my cat mourn for the things he cannot have - green grass, the warm sunshine, breezes that blow through his fur, yummy mice and the occasional bird (!). These are all good things for a cat and he wonders why he can't have them. And suddenly I saw myself at different times in my life, staring out of the window of my life, longing for things, intangibles, that could not be mine. They were all reasonable even good things that I desired, and why they never worked out seemed incomprehensible to me. Why would God stay His hand when my desires were neither selfish or worldly?

Then, I saw the answer. Just like how my cat is totally unaware that the reason for the closed door is that along with the green grass, gentle breezes, sunshine and animal life outside, there are also unseen dangers. I am protecting the animals that I love by keeping them safe inside. They cannot know that, but this is exactly what I'm doing. Likewise, I believe that after all we have done, the praying, the fasting, the working towards something good that we desire to be ours, whatever it is, if the door remains closed, it is because the Lord sees things that we cannot see. There are dangers lurking or temptations we couldn't turn down, or even, lessons He may have promised to teach us that we can only learn denial and the withholding of some of our longings.

A day or so ago, when Sunny was staring out that door, longing to go outside, I sought to comfort him with a pat and he hissed at me! I pulled back, laughing.

"I know what you are feeling, little friend."

How many times, have I pulled back from God and would not be comforted because His ways were not mine? We "bite that hand that feeds us."

"Well, little friend, you can hiss at me, but you are still NOT going outside and...I love you so very dearly."

Is that how it is for our Heavenly Father? He watches our anger at Him when our lives don't go the way we desperately desire, with love and understanding and maybe even at times, a little humor?

So, the door is still shut, but I am trying to remind the pussycats what it is about inside that they use to like and little by little they are remembering - curling up beside "Mama" for a nap, finding a patch of sunlight on the floor in which to bask, playing with their toys.

And I am learning from them that it is only normal for us to look out the window and long for things. If we never longed for more, nothing more would be achieved. But when in Life a door is shut, and it remains shut, I hope to remember this lesson:

Our Heavenly Father sees more than we see; He knows more than we know and doors are NEVER shut without a really good reason. We need to trust in His reasons.
Then, we need to remember all the other good things we have and go on with our days, trusting.

That's what I recently learned from my cat...(and the Holy Ghost who will use anything to teach a lesson).

For more Cats on Tuesday, please visit Gattina HERE.

Have a great one!


The Chair Speaks said...

Cats reminds us how to live life! All my cats are not allowed to leave home.

Boo-Bah said...

what a wonderful post. You write beautifully.
Although your cats long to be outside, you have done the right thing. My veterinarian told me an outside cat lives an average of 2 to 4 years. An inside cat can live many times up to 17 years. I once had a cat that lived for 21 years.
Again I must tell you I really enjoyed your post.Thank you for your visit to my blog.

Gattina said...

I can't agree to that. I think it's very egoistic. A cat is meant to discover the neighborhood and go outside, it's just like keeping a tiger in a cage. Some cats get deep depressions because they are not inside cats, like Kim. When my son moved from a house into an appartment, she refused to eat and didn't want to live anymore. He gave her to us where she could go outside and she is the happiest and healthiest cat ever.
His other cat is an inisde cat although she can go outside, there is the cat flap, but she choose to stay inside. She doesn't like outside. But that's her choice. Rosie only goes out when I am in the garden, and Arthur he goes everywhere and sleeps in neighbor's beds, lol !
I think that God has created cats not to keep them inside that's just against nature.
Since I have cats they all became 19 and 21 years old. The once I have now are 3, 9, 11, and 12.
I don't want to offend you, it's just my opinion as a cat lover !

Cindy said...

Wonderful post! How nice that you really saw the hand of God in this. Nice to meet you.

Sybil said...

Elizabeth you write such wise words. I have always felt so sorry for house cats as it did not seem natural to have them locked up (even if it was for their own good !! could it also have been for our good as we could not bare the pain of loosing them) However your words today have shown me another way of looking at things and I thank you for that so much.
Love Sybil x

Alexandra said...

Great parable!

Hey, have you thought about an outdoor cage? You can make them out of chicken wire and the kitties can take in some fresh air and sunshine. I've seen them made very large and moveable with no bottom. You can move it around the lawn, but it's heavy at the bottom(framed with lumber) so they can't push the wire up and out. You just build a box frame with no bottom out of two by fours, and cover it with chicken wire(stapled to frame).

Alexandra said...

I found a story which reminded me of this post. It's about a dog who runs away. It's not very cheerful but has a cute cut-out. i am posting it today.