I am not a big fan of cats. Don’t get me wrong, I will never be one of those people who wishes cats weren’t created, I will never have a bumper sticker on my car that says, “the only good cat is a dead cat.” I don’t wish any harm on them, I am just not a big lover of them. I have some very precious friends who love cats and have several; some of them have “I love my cat” bumper stickers. I will never have one of those either. Actually, I never planned to have a cat, and technically, I still don’t. Until recently, or recent months, or maybe recent years. Let me explain. In our neighborhood lives a yellow calico cat. This cat is well cared for, and lives outside. You can tell it loves its life by the way it prances around and stands proudly staring at anyone who notices him. (I think it’s a him?) For some reason, it really likes our house, like a lot. As a matter of fact, some of the folks who live near us thought it was ours. (If you’re reading this and live on our street, the yellow cat isn’t ours, seriously.) Our niece and nephew have lovingly named it the “Carlson’s cat.” We have come home many times to see it perched on top of the trash can or the hood of one of the cars in the driveway. More than once we’ve had to stop short of parking in the driveway because the cat is in the middle of it, staring at us, almost daring us to come any closer. He hides under the cars, waits by the front door, plays in the back yard, and I won’t even go into how much it loves to frustrate our dog. At first, this was so annoying to me, I could not understand why this cat picked us?? There are a lot of other houses on the street, why was he here so much?! But, as the days, months and years have rolled by, I have gotten used to him. Now it is no big deal to see the cat, I’m even tempted to name it. He’s become a part of the scenery of our home. I even find myself looking for him if I haven’t seen him in a few days, worried that something might have happened to him. (What in the world, I’m not a fan of cats.) But, this one has grown on me. Because of his consistency and constancy, we have developed a mutual respect for each other; almost protective. A comfortable, working relationship. There have been people that come into my life from time to time that remind me of this cat. People that show up unexpectedly and I think, where do you live? Can you go there please? But, they persist and continue to come around. Annoying me, and making me see a side of myself that I try my best to hide, even from me. They show up at unexpected times, like when I feel my worst and don’t want to see a soul or when I’ve tried my best and they notice everything wrong with me. They perch themselves in places where I can’t miss them, making me feel frustrated and not good enough. I know, I know, they say I shouldn’t let people bother me, I’m still working on that… Recently, as I was thinking about some of these people, I realized that, just like that old cat, I find myself slowly growing to care about them and others who have been so difficult for me, even praying for them. I don’t know if it’s time, or familiarity, but I do know the Lord is doing a work in my heart; to love those who are tough on me. It’s still annoying at times, well, many times, but I’m praying to see things differently. Change is good. (And I’ve had a lot of it lately.) I really do want to love those around me as Jesus says to and to appreciate all living things, including cats, especially the “Carlson’s cat.” As a matter of fact, when I see that old cat I’m going to use him as a reminder to pray for those who frustrate me, for their heart and my own. I’m going to pray to see things as they really are, trusting that they are in my life for a reason. So, maybe I do like cats, or at least this one.
Moral of the story: Just because a person’s first introduction in your life feels negative, doesn’t mean it has to remain that way. What starts out negative, can turn to positive if given time, prayer and plenty of chances!