Just Jasper & Me

Originally posted on Miss P’s Pondering on June 19, 2012

     I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted to write about today. Do I write about the four books I’m reading right now? Do I write about my experience at VBS last week? Do I reflect on cancer after last weekend’s Relay for Life? Well, I decided to save all of those for another date. Today, my feline, Jasper is the inspiration of all my analogical thoughts that I will share. Hmmm,  I’ve never used “analogical” before, but I’ll use it anyway.

     Hmmm… Let’s see, I took my nephew, Connor, to basketball conditioning this afternoon. It’s two hours in the middle of the day, and if you’re an 8th grader that means you must be dropped off and picked up…no driving of your own vehicle when you’re only 13. So, I found myself spending an hour or so at the Hanover Library. I watched a webinar on Twitter and its benefits to educators, I finished a “just for fun” Christian fiction book, and I picked out four additional books. You see…my goals for summer are resting, reading, and whatever else comes my way.

     One of the books I checked out was entitled “The Secret Life of Your Cat”. I read/skimmed the entire book during the hours since checking it out. I learned some things I didn’t know. For instance, I knew cats had a strong sense of smell. However, I didn’t realize they had 200 MILLION cells in their nose which makes their sense of smell 14X as acute as ours. Wow! I think of how “stinky” their food is and imagine what it would be like to multiply that by 14! Yuck! However, if you realize they can’t see much that’s 8 inches or closer to them and their sense of taste isn’t too hot, then it all makes sense. You see, I read the book to understand Jasper better. I had hoped to learn what his behaviors mean…why he does the bizaree things he does…but instead I learned about his senses, stress concerns, and needs. I realized that when he is totally unfriendly towards my dad when I’m gone for an extended amount of time, it’s not because my cat’s unfriendly…but stressed by my absence. Then, I thought….when is the last time I spent hours, literally, reading through Scripture to better understand the character and will of my Father. Granted, God doesn’t bite me, attack my legs, or trip me while I walk….but I should have a greater desire to know Him. Reading His word should be so enthralling to me that I eagerly share things with those around me, as I did with Connor when reading about cats. Yes, analogy number one…understood.

     So, after that analogy hit me over the head today, I started seeing analogies everywhere I looked in regard to Jasper. Who would think a pesky pet could be my professor today?

     Throughout the day, I’ve wandered from the kitchen, to the living room, office, restroom, and outside. Never failing, Jasper followed me everywhere. Whether he laid on the bathroom rug, the kitchen floor, the coffee table, the office’s sunny carpet spot, or the scratchy porch, he was there. Not wanting anything from me…simply desiring to be in my presence. Do I have that longing? Do I dwell in the Lord’s presence throughout my day through my thoughts, my words, and my actions? Sadly, the answer is no, but it is something to strive for as I walk with Him daily. Yes, analogy two taught…and hopefully learned.

     Then, I recalled yesterday evening when I looked into Jasper’s water bowl. It had a bit of water left, but it also had some of his shed hair floating in the liquid. Yuck! It was quickly dumped, rinsed, and refilled. He soon was beside it welcoming the refreshing drink. My thoughts went to how God is so faithful to provide for me. He doesn’t “forget” to supply my needs, as I did Jasper’s water. I realized through the simple act of giving Jasper fresh water that God is my Perfect Provider while I’m just a mediocre master to my cat. Analogy three brought a thankful heart.

     This afternoon, as my sister left with me nephew, I realized I hadn’t gotten my mail yet today. Since Jasper was already in my arms, to avoid his escape, I figured I’d just take him out to the mailbox with me. All was well until a car raced (Yes, correct verb though by our speed limit it shouldn’t be.), and Jasper let out a pitiful cry. Although he was safely tucked under my arm, he didn’t trust me as much as he should have. He was agitated all the way back to the house in spite of his being in my arms and having my voice assuring him. The same way, I must confess, there are times when I allow my fears to overcome me even though I know He has His arms wrapped around me. Just like Jasper, I let out pitiful cries even though His calming Voice reminds me that He will work all things together for my good and His glory. It seems both Jasper and I need to be more trusting when fears approach. If you’re counting, that’s number four.

     “Meow. Meow. Meow” If you have a cat, you know there are times when Jasper just likes to make noise. After our years together, I can tell the difference between his hungry meow and his “open the door” meow. There’s the pitiful cry on the way to Pawsibiities or the vet when he just wants to be rescued. I know him well. God knows me way better than I could ever know my cat. I mean, let’s face it, I picked Jasper out of a couple kittens who needed a home and made him mine. God created me. He knit me together in my mother’s womb. He gave me the personality, talents, and abilities He wanted me to have to make me the woman of God He created me to be. He doesn’t merely hear my voice, but He hears my heart. I may say I’m fine to other people, but He knows if I’m heartbroken or worried. I may not say a thing to my family or my friends, but He hears me without a word being said. Yes, God knows me…He doesn’t just know my name, but He knows my very soul. Wow! Analogy five just gave me a big hug.

     Analogy six follows number five hand in hand. You see, I do know his meows. I know what he’d like. However, I can’t make his life perfect in his eyes. You see, as much as he doesn’t enjoy going to Pawsibilities once a year for his shower, I know it helps him fight against fleas, lessens his thicker winter coat, and cuts down on future “hair logs” (Whoever named them hairballs didn’t have a cat!). When something’s a miss with his health, I take him to the vet, although he cries the whole time.  The agony lasts for a few hours, but the benefit lasts longer. He doesn’t see it when he’s going through it, but I know it’s the best choice. Jasper would be thrilled if I added food to his bowl each time I passed it, but even though he’s a big cat…no cat needs that much food. Jasper is a big fan of playing with used Q-tips. It doesn’t matter where I throw them away, if he sees it…he’ll knock the trashcan over in order to find the object of his desire. I know this. But still, if I can throw it away where he doesn’t see it, I know it’s best. I know he’s not smart enough not to try and eat them, so I must be cautious to protect him. When I reflect on my life’s journey, I see many times when what I wanted for my life wasn’t what God allowed. Most times, when I look backwards I see His purpose and thank Him. However, there are certain aspects of my life which still aren’t what I would’ve preferred, yet I must have faith in the One who guides my journey. I know He loves me and has plans for me to prosper and not be harmed. I must trust that, even when I don’t see it with my eyes.

     I think I’ll end with a seventh analogy since it’s a “good number” to end on it seems. Soon, Jasper will prance over to the recliner and jump up on my lap. He will stretch out and not want anything but to be shown affection. A scratch behind the ear or a stroke down his back will set his purr machine into overdrive. Then, when my eyes won’t stay awake and I head to the bedroom, he will follow me without a word being said. Most likely, I’ll awake in the middle of the night and find him stretched out beside me. You see, he will just want to be near me. There won’t be any biting or scratching, just simply affection. In the same way, I long to sit by my Father, to rest in His care, and trust that He loves me and that won’t change.

     So, I hope you learned a few lessons from Professor Jasper. Night, my friends…feline lovers or not.

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