If At First . . .


Cat Smith ArticleWe tried.  Our cat….the one I have dubbed “Cat’…is indispensable and obviously knows it.  Our son found ‘Cat’ outside his apartment a few years back and called to see if we could give her a home.  He named her ‘Sheba’–but I’ve never quite settled into that name, so for me she remains – ‘Cat.’

I’m going to admit right up front that I am not an ‘animal lover,’ but when our children were still home we had our share of pets….several dogs (one at a time, thank you) and cats who mostly lived outside, and we have enjoyed them all.  We even still enjoy watching the cows that belong to our neighbor that occasionally graze in our back field.  They make for a very pastoral setting here.
Since we have said field, we have field mice.  One summer, we took a trip to Chicago for the July 4th holiday for about four days.  Our family cat had met an untimely death just weeks before we left.  Upon our return we trapped 23 mice in our home.  Ergo…cats where we live are a necessity!

Having said this, she is pretty self-sufficient.  When we leave town the neighbors check her food dish but she shows her unhappiness with us by ‘disappearing’ for about 3 days, and then finally returns to us again.  Now, we all know with cats come cat hair.  Said hair was constantly all over our deck furniture, and more than a few times we have had company take a seat in one of those chairs, and when we see them leave they are wearing a whole lot of cat hair…because I once again forgot to ‘check’ for cat hair before they came.

Our solution: we keep our deck chairs tilted up so she can’t sleep in them.  In the above photo, if you look closely, you will see that this is no problem for ‘Cat’….as she curls up on the back side of one of the cushions.  I saw her out there this morning and took the pic through the screen which is pretty much also destroyed by said cat as that screen is where she scratches to let us know it’s dinner time!
Still, I believe she knows we would not want to be without her.

Life has been that way for us lately.  In our business, ministry and just our everyday living, our life has the upper hand.  Work for our business has been a disaster for almost five years now, and my job as the director of a non-profit has gotten more difficult as money has gotten tight for so many who have supported us for years. Everything we try to work around the obstacles finds that even the best laid plans just aren’t working.

Yet, I am convinced that all of this is not outside of God’s plan for our life.  I think he wants to see us ‘settle in’ to life as we are now experiencing it with joy and contentment–not continually wishing it could be different. ‘Cat’ doesn’t spend a second ‘wishing’ those chairs were upright so she could be comfortable–she found comfort just the way they are.  And, to be honest, if there were a screen between our prayers and heaven…there would be more than a few claw marks on it as well!  Admittedly, we have no way of knowing how it will all turn out, and we have each had days of utter exasperation (thankfully, so far, not on the SAME days!).

Mother Theresa once said something to the effect that it is not our job to be successful–it is our job to be faithful. She said this as she and her sisters were trying to rescue babies thrown into a river in India because their parents were starving and they could not provide for their offspring.  There were far too many to be able to save them all…but they were doing their best.

My prayers continue to ask for wisdom; but I’m beginning to look at this a bit like ‘Cat.’  “Okay, Lord, if we can’t have life the way we want it to be….we’ll just be comfortable dealing with the ‘what is’ and take special note of the blessings that come our way.  Just please give us the strength to stay faithful!  Amen.”

About Author

Cradle Catholic. Wife of a Permanent Deacon. Mom to 3....'Nana' to two. We live just outside of St. Louis, MO on 5 acres of beautiful breathing space. Though never 'degree'd' -- I've taught PSR 7 & 8th grade for several years, led women's bible studies, took all formation classes with my husband for credit. Write a blog at http://treacherousbrook.blogspot.com/. I am the Director of a crisis pregnancy center (Birthright) and love the privilege of serving there. Constantly amazed at God's provision.

  • Carol Cates

    Enjoyed reading your article about Cat and blblical comments related to scripture and saints.