Friday, June 13, 2014

Twenty Pound Cats and Post Vet Stress Disorder--Are You Moving to Stay Alive?

The cat is on my lap. Again. At first, I attributed it to post traumatic stress disorder because of the veterinarian visit. But it's been a couple weeks, and he's here, every day, all day if possible. I love the guy, but really. Enough. Get a cat life.

A while ago, in an effort to keep our twentyish pound cat (NOT the one on my lap) on this planet a bit longer than his current weight will sustain, my husband bought “food balls.” They are little plastic things that look like blue wiffle balls. (I prefer to call them remembralls or palantirs. But that's just me.) You put food inside, twist to choose a hole size for food to come out, and the idea is that the cats will chase the thing around until it chooses to dispense their food, one bit at a time.

The cats were not pleased. The first day, Pippin (twenty-pounder) rolled his under some lumber, and I could not find it all day. I think this was planned sabotage.

Fact—these animals have enjoyed their cushy deal of getting a bowl filled first thing in the morning. (Ever had a cat jump on your face the moment the alarm clicks on? They don't even wait for the music. One click and it's “Feed me! Or I will eat your face.”) 

Anyway---they like their gig. It's easy. No worries. No working to get their food. Laying on laps or in sunbeams or on any clothing left around (preferably black) all day after devouring their morning rations. It's a pretty sweet deal, actually.

But not a life.

Mike Breen, in Building a Discipling Culture, says, “How much easier it seems to stand still in what we know, regardless of how unfulfilling, than to move into the unknown! The alive disciple is a disciple on the move. God uses many different methods to stimulate movement—his Word, his Spirit, and sometimes persecution—because his desire is to see his followers reaching out to our dying world. Movement is an indication of life [tweet this]..”

I think we are like cats. Albeit less fuzzy. Like the children of Israel at the Red Sea, like the disciples in the upper room, like Theodin at Helm's Deep (with me, there's always a Tolkien reference), we prefer to sit on the shore and outwait whatever is out there. If staying put is scary, movement is scarier. We are way too prone to sit safely on a lap rather than take a step forward into the unknown. Even if that is the only way to sustain life. 

We are content to live partial lives [tweet this]..

God has forced me into some frightening forward momentum. I would never have chosen some of the places I've been moved to. They were terrifying, desolate places. But in those places I found a life-sustaining grace I would never, ever have found staying put. And once you've tasted more than a partial life? There is no fooling yourself. You will never want to be a lap-sitter again.

We are forcing our cats to move in order to live. We know that's the natural order of things. We also know it's not the natural inclination of man nor beast. So sometimes, we have to make ourselves move.

Is there a call on your life to, as Breen says, “reach out to our dying world”? Where will it ask you to go? It's sent me to prisoners and heroin addicts and well-dressed suburban mothers, all equally desperate. Where will its send you? It depends on how much you crave movement toward full life.

Today, find out where you're being prodded to move. Get off the lap. Movement is a sign that you're alive. Staying put is . . . not. Please share your stories of movement here, if you wish. They help all of us remember that the frightening, dark places are often the most beautiful.

One of Jill's stories of movement is recorded in her book, Don't Forget to Pack the Kids: Short-Term Missions for Your Whole Family.


  1. I happen to live in maybe the most ideal climate on Earth. Pretty much 60 - 75 every day. No humidity. Okay, no rain either, but you can't have everything. Yes, 5 miles from Venice Beach on a windy plateau. It is soooo easy to just curl up next to my two feline friends and sleep life away. Especially at my advanced age. And I certainly am not praying for God to call me to a less happy clime.

    However, I am awake to His call, and excited to go wherever he wants to send me. The cats know that when Poppy Kirk is around it is better to get up and get out of the way. (The exception to this is the coal black one at the top of the stairs at night. You can be certain that this is how I will eventually be called home.)

    1. Oh, black cats at the top of the stairs. How well I know that one. I am waiting to retire to the perfect climate. But then again, if I never intend to stop moving, I never intend to retire.

  2. This reminds me I need to get back to working out again. We have seven rescued cats, and I can relate to your comments about cats. You really can't appreciate this magnificent animal until you own one. Great insights!