Tuesday, November 18, 2008

enough

For those of you who don't know, I run a home for delinquent cats. This is not some benevolent gesture and mission statement on my part, it is merely the state of things. My cats have problems. Jazz came from a farm and is part Maine Coone and part wild hyena (that's hyperbole in case you can't tell) and occasionally attacks people without provocation. Oh, and with provocation all the time. She feels the need to dominate everyone and everything. Nevertheless, when she is not feeling threatened, she does have her loving moments, but hardly anyone gets to see them.

Tea was rescued from a park and is one of the neediest balls of fur I have ever encountered. She follows me around. She sleeps pressed up to me all night long. She likes to sit right beside me and stare at me while I work. She sits on my lap while I eat popcorn on the couch (and nips pieces out of the bowl). She continually whines for food and water. She is obsessed with drinking from the kitchen tap and meows loudly for anyone to turn on the water. She is fat. The vet put her on a diet a few years ago: reducing food, two feedings a day, small portions. The whining just increased and she would wake me in the middle of the night and bother me until I would get up to feed her. So I increased her portions to get her to let me sleep through the night, but still only fed her twice a day. The food was immediately gobbled up once it hit the bowl.

In the past few weeks, things have changed. We went away for a weekend in September and as is our habit when we do so, we just fill up the dishes with food and let the cats take a mini-vacation themselves, with all the food and water at their disposal. When we came back, Tea seemed so content that I decided to continue free feeding her, just to see what would happen. There was always plenty of food in the dish instead of a measured amount twice a day. Dean came home from Florida with a water fountain for pets. There is now continual filtered water pouring from a spout into a small bowl for their drinking enjoyment. After a few weeks of this "never-ending supply" method of feeding, I noticed that things were different. There was no more whining. Tea still sits near the kitchen sink and looks at it, but she can't seem to quite remember why. I can top up the food dishes and no one rushes over, entangling themselves in my legs and meowing. They stop by for a bite at various times during the day, no panic, no hunger, no whining, no begging. Tea has lost 2 pounds. She finally seems to realise that there will always be enough. We will always provide for her.

Dean spoke on Sunday night at church and encouraged us not to live from a basis of need, but from intention. How true. When I just try to fill my needs, most of my time is taken up with whining and grasping at things and selfishness. This is really a pathetic addict's life in some way. But when I set out to fulfill an intention (like following God), my whole perspective changes. I am now working towards some goal that is bigger than me and my immediate needs. I have become part of a larger purpose.

Sometimes I still find myself being a Tea. I feel such a lack in certain areas of my life. I feel unloved and undervalued and lonely. I may not admit it, but I think that God is not enough and that he is a stingy provider. Why else would I always be hungry and thirsty? So I sit at the kitchen sink and outside the shower and wait and whine, never realising that these are not appropriate places to get my thirst slaked. I follow any set of legs that looks like it might be headed for a food dish, only to be disappointed with the results.

I act like there is never enough when in fact, there are unlimited supplies of the basic staples of life: I need love and light and direction and truth and life. God is love. God is light. God is the direction. God is truth. God is life. And he is unlimited. There has always been enough and there always will be, but until I see that, I will not change my needy attitude and my whining ways, no matter how much is put before me. Let me drink from the never-ending fountain and the grand feast set before me.

This is a photo of Tea hiding in the laundry basket, looking slightly like a feline felon.

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