About five years ago I repented of my cat hatred. Where I previously found the cat to be a super unclear part of creation, I have now closed the animal to my heart. This process, not entirely coincidentally, coincides with getting to know Matthijs. He was the proud owner of such a quirky creature and had no intention of leaving him for me.
So we were not immediately close friends, the cat and I. In fact, at first I liked to have the vacuum cleaner within reach in case the gentleman decided to jump on the couch where I was sitting. With a single push of a button, I literally had it on the shelf. We even had a big argument sometimes because he once again realized that he could enjoy a bouquet of flowers more if it was on the ground. But since this fight we have been best friends. We suddenly know what we have in common and no longer find each other so unclear. A true liberation I can tell you.
Since I have become more open to the positive qualities of our cat, I notice that I can actually learn quite a lot from him. Just the total relaxation in his life. When he feels like it (and only then), he walks outside, but he prefers to sleep for hours on the couch or on the windowsill. Especially no stress. When I’m rushing to get away on time or flopping on the couch after a busy day, his presence is enough to make me wonder why I’m so worried again.
Sometimes our cat is stressed. For example, if there are many people in the house or if we purchase another sofa. But it’s still intriguing to see how he handles it. He does not get involved in the crowds, but seeks higher ground and waits until the bad feeling goes away. Man, man, man, how I wish I could be a little more like him. When I’m stressed, I usually don’t look elsewhere. And often I don’t really have the peace to wait until the bad feeling goes away.
Maybe it’s just time for the cat version of rethinking: rethinking . According to Google, the meaning of changing is ‘making it different, giving it a new identity’. From cat hater to cat lover, so to speak. And to immediately translate the word spiritually, you and I are transformed into the image of Jesus. We get a new identity. Not that I’m always aware of that, but you probably recognize it.
It is also a process. I conclude this from the words that Paul writes to the Romans (Rom. 12:2) ‘ Udo not conform yourself to this world, but change by renewing your mind, so as to discover what God wants from you and what is good, perfect and pleasing to Him.’
Through that process of changing, we get to know God more and more. We learn what He loves. What makes Him happy. What is good for ourselves and for the people around us. And while learning through trial and error, it may be that in an exciting situation you are suddenly not the one who takes the blunt ax and wants to be right, but that you look higher up, take some distance and later can respond in wisdom.
Our cat has now become my symbol, my memory of my cat-loving life. I wish you also have such a symbol and/or living being in your environment, which reminds you of this beautiful process that brings you closer to Jesus.