Thursday, October 20, 2011

Chizzie's Tale

(Note to readers: I wrote this piece several years ago, but decided to post it today in memory of my sweet Chizzie who passed yesterday at the age of 12.)

Chizzy's Tale

Jeremiah 29:11

This has always been one of my favorite Bible verses - a "life" verse. But just because I have a verse memorized and say it’s a “favorite” doesn’t mean I have fully embodied it. A wise person once told me that God’s plan has two parts, His and mine. I can’t do God’s part – and He won’t do my part. This verse is filled with promise - but do I listen? Do I obey? Do I believe?

One morning, while meditating on this passage, I received inspiration from the cat curled on my lap. Yes, God truly speaks in many ways.

Chizzie is unlike any other cat I’ve had. He is absolutely devoted to me. My friends say he is madly in love with me. And, I guess he is, as much as a cat can be.

When I pull in front of the house, he is waiting in the window, even if I am later than usual. Then he bolts to the front door and does a little dance when I come in. If I park in the garage, he’s waiting at the back door.

He follows me everywhere, and when I sit down, he is immediately on my lap, bumping his head against my arm until I pet him. If he has fallen asleep and I need to move, he doesn’t get irritated, just follows me again.

Every time I speak his name, he looks at me.

He sleeps at my side and his day starts when mine does, even when that’s 5:30am.

When he’s hungry, he waits until I go to the kitchen, then he sits at the top of the stairway leading to the lower level and stares at me. When I start to move toward him, he runs down the stairs… and when I reach the bottom he is sitting in front of the empty bowl waiting.

And I think…I need to be more like this cat!

You see, God has a plan for my life and for yours. It’s a GOOD plan.

But when God is an hour later than I expected him to be, do I still dance for joy? When I am waiting at the front door, and He comes in the back, do I run to Him – or do I let it be known that MY plan was different?

Do I follow Him through every room of my life? Are there rooms I won’t go in? Rooms which are dark and unfamiliar, and because I can’t see the plan at that moment I refuse to go in?

Yes, I do rest in His presence. But if I am comfortable, do I grumble when He says “Get up”?

Do I allow Him to be the “alarm clock” in my day or is it inconvenient to have to change my schedule to cooperate with His masterful plan?

Am I in tune with Him to the degree that I turn and look at Him each time He speaks my name?

And when I have a need, do I keep my eyes on Him? Do I wait with calm assurance knowing my bowl will be filled?

Do you?

God has a plan. It’s a GOOD plan. A plan to prosper me, a plan to give me a good future and hope for my final outcome!

And God keeps His promises. He is going to do His part.

My part is to listen for His voice, trust in His provision, follow where He leads, rest in His presence, and dance for joy.

Chizzie has it right...I should pay attention and do likewise.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fleas and other woes I brought on myself

My dog missed getting her flea repellant last month. No big deal, right? One month. How can that hurt?

Let me tell you how...on Monday I shaved and bathed 2 twenty pound cats, stripped my bed to the mattress, then used a flea fogger. Tuesday brought another fogger application, this time in a very large closet where the cats like to sleep. On Wednesday, I bought flea spray which is now being used in addition to flea collars. The dog and I have been sleeping on the couch all week.

So yes, missing one month was a big deal after all. And it was simply negligence on my part. I do remember thinking she needed to be treated, but I wasn't home at the time. And It clearly was not made a priority in my mind.

It happens in your life, doesn't it?

We know something should be done, but it isn't convenient - or even possible - at that moment. "Forgot" is a readily used excuse, but not really valid. I remember most everything I truly want to remember. It's when I don't commit something to memory or take the time to create a reminder that I "forget."

Other times we know but simply ignore. We think other choices are more important...or that no one will know. Maybe we are busy, or it doesn't fit our mood or our needs at the moment. Sometimes we know for certain it is wrong, and we do it anyhow. Because really...what will it hurt?

Sometimes it is maintenance issues on our home, car, body, spirit. Other times it is an ethical or spiritual issue. Always, we ignore the immutable fact that sow = reap. Every time.

There is no reason for me to be irritated by the time-consuming nuisance the fleas have is my own fault. Not the dog's, certainly not the cats'. All mine.

The craziness of my life could be an excuse. Unexpected work issues, unexpected health issues for family members...blah blah blah. Excuses. I knew it needed to be done and I didn't do it.

Conversely, I knew eating whatever I wanted for the past few years was unwise. But in a thousand separate moments, I justified it.

In each of these cases, I choose to do what I FELT LIKE doing. And the result is that now I must do some less than enjoyable tasks to right the situations.

Sow always always always = reap. Don't change the oil, the engine blows. Don't stain the deck, the boards rot. Don't eat well and exercise, the weight comes on. Don't nurture your kids, the relationship is gone. Don't choose love and respect first, the relationship dies.

Certainly, there are situations outside of the norm. But most aren't. We find excuses. We don't feel like trying, don't feel like exerting, don't feel like sacrificing or denying our desires.

One lie, one betrayal, one (more) spouting of hurtful words...we justify it because we have been hurt too, ya know. So that makes it right!

One more day we put off checking the tire pressure, one month we neglect flea repellant...we justify it because we are busy or we don't like to do it.

When we follow our feelings and emotions, when we live the way we want in spite of knowing better, the worm always turns. And we have no one to blame but ourselves. As individuals. As a family. As a society.

Live now by what we want and feel and must have, pay later. Live now by what we know to be right, have more freedom later.

Simple. Not easy.

Gotta's time for another application of flea spray.

See you again soon.

BP :)