“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” So begins the tale of two kitties.
I just had to borrow that famous first line from Charles Dickens’ masterpiece, A Tale of Two Cities, for today’s post. I humbly concede that I’m no great author. I certainly haven’t written any classic works of literature. I write a little bit on a personal blog and somehow manage to keep a few readers and subscribers entertained or interested enough to keep me on their cyber rotations.
But I digress from my tale. Up until last weekend, there were two cats living at my house. And I believed while it was the best of times, it was also going to become the worst.
To explain my rationale for it being the best of times, last month our oldest daughter moved back to our home state [yay!] after a few years living down South. Her plan was to move in with our middle daughter and her roommate in their apartment in the city, but until oldest daughter could arrange to visit the property management company, complete her application, get her name on the lease, and pick up a key, she bunked here with Mom and Dad temporarily.
She literally started her new job the day after she moved here, so between getting acclimated at her place of employment, unpacking a few clothes and necessary items, and driving back and forth to the city, she was swamped. But for Daddio and me, it was great having her here, so that explains the best of times.
When daughter moved in with us for those couple of weeks, her cat was a part of the package deal. That’s where I feared the worst of times would kick in and the tale (or should it be tail?) of two kitties ensued.
Kitty #1 is the domestic dominator of our domain, her domicile. She’s the queen bee, her royal highness. Her name is Callie, the calico cat, and she belongs to hubby and me – or maybe it’s the other way around, we belong to her.
Anyway, I was certain she would view Kitty #2 as the unabashed usurper of her utopia. Kitty #2 is oldest daughter’s huge black male cat who, as king of the hill, naturally ruled the roost at her apartment.
We expected this underling upstart named Jack would upset the reigning royalty, Queen Callie. So we kept them apart to avoid a catty confrontation complete with claws. See, Callie still possesses all of hers and Jack only has back claws. But he is male and huge and quite strong. And I convinced myself and everyone else that the two kitties probably should not meet.
Jack took up residence in our basement and was only allowed upstairs when Callie was outside or in the garage. Every time we let Callie in, we had to make sure Jack wasn’t around. It wasn’t too much of a problem at first, because Jack was skittish being in a new place, so he seemed happy to stay downstairs.
But as he adjusted to us and his temporary home, he wanted to come upstairs more often and was quite verbal about that.
The problem was that three adult people couldn’t seem to keep track of where Callie was at any given moment. Suffice it to say there was a lot of time wasted tracking down cats.
One night, Callie lounged on the kitchen floor. Oldest daughter had been checking on Jack’s food and water downstairs, playing with him a bit, and decided to bring him upstairs.
Uh-oh….prepare for the worst of times. At least that’s what I thought.
Callie looked at Jack as if to say nonchalantly, “Huh. Who are you?” She seemed totally unconcerned that this foreigner was in her territory. And she promptly continued lounging on the kitchen floor totally non-flustered by this new visitor.
Jack, however, was another story. Big, brawny Jack took one look at Callie, hissed, scrambled out of daughter’s arms, and turned into the epitome of a scaredy cat. He hightailed it down the basement stairs. Yep, he ran away. While Callie yawned and went back to sleep.
All my fears about having a cat fight in the middle of my house were unfounded. So all my worries about the tale of two kitties was just much ado about nothing. Jack is king of his own hill again exploring his new abode at that city apartment. And as I write about this in Page 6, in Chapter 10 of my Opportunity book, Callie is curled up at my feet sound asleep on a fleecy Steelers blanket.
Seems like it was just the best of times after all for us here at the empty nest, for Callie and even for Jack, for everyone… except for those Steelers. But that is another story.
Sometimes I envy my calico cat.
Often when I glance at her while she sleeps, I think she epitomizes the picture of contentment.
She may be curled up in a ball or stretched out all over the place, but she sleeps soundly and peacefully with no stress or worries in her itty bitty kitty brain.
Her daily needs and requirements are met:
- Crunchy fishy food? Check
- Bowl of fresh water? Check
- Warm spot to sleep? Check
- People to love? Check
- Toys to play with? Check
- Occasional jaunt to the outside world? Check
- Place for doing business? Check
If there’s something missing in her estimation, be it food or attention, she’ll definitely let us know. But really, kitty doesn’t ask for much.
She’s content as can be in her little world. She doesn’t want the newest kitty toy on the market or a cute little bed in which to sleep. She doesn’t care if she gets Fancy Feast cat food or good old reliable Meow Mix.
How vastly different we humans are. We may have enough food and drink, a warm place to call home and people to love us, but we never seem to be content. We’re gluttonous to satisfy ourselves in all things.
We never seem to have enough food (Supersize it!); we never think we have a nice enough house (Move to a better neighborhood!); and we never think we have enough money. (Get a better paying job!)
We never think we have enough stuff (Charge it!); we’re never satisfied with our cars (Buy a new one with all the bells and whistles!), or electronics, vacations, clothes, hairstyles…. (And the list goes on!) We’re not even content with our bodies. (Have plastic surgery!)
When is enough enough? Why do we always want more?
If you look up the definition of content in the dictionary, you’ll discover it means “satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else.” Contentment is the state of being content, being satisfied, having ease of mind. It really does not describe our society today, does it?
In our fallen world, we’ve bought into the lie that we never have enough. We accumulate stuff, we spend money we don’t really have, and still the desire for more, more, more possesses us. I think it’s as hideously ugly as cancer cells rapidly spreading their way through a human body consuming it.
We will always struggle with being satisfied until we fill up that cavernous hole inside of us with something that will fulfill us to the point of not wanting anything else. I truly believe the only thing that can quench our insatiable thirst for more is a personal relationship with Jesus.
When we come to know Him, really know Him as Lord and Savior, He fills us up. The Apostle Paul explained this in Philippians 4:11-13 when he wrote: “…I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”
He also gave us wise advice on this subject in 1 Timothy 6:6-7: “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.”
Likewise, scripture tells us in Hebrews 13:5-6: “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’ So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?’ ”
At the end of this life, it won’t matter what we have, what will matter is how we allowed Jesus to fill our empty cups to overflowing. When we make Him Lord of our lives, we literally exude Him to others.
What have we done to further God’s Kingdom? Do we reach out to those in need (financial, physical, emotional or spiritual) or think only of ourselves?
Do we share our Source (Jesus Christ) of contentment with those who don’t know Him or not want to step out of our comfort zones? Do we use what earthly gain we may have been granted to help others or use it to satisfy ourselves?
Do we follow the two greatest commandments Jesus gave us in Matthew 22:37: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.”
That’s what I desire in my book of Opportunity, Chapter 3, Page 26 – to follow Jesus’ commandments until my cup overflows. I want to be as content as a calico calmly cat-napping on a couch. How about you?