Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Guilty Kitty

Some may say that it was unavoidable. That it was just a matter of time, of when not if. Still I am crushed. And confused. I shake my head in disbelief… I didn’t see it coming. Not at all.

Although, looking back now I realize I should have suspected something going awry when our daughter mentioned..... But in the busyness and distraction of the moment, I didn't really hear it, and if I 'heard' it, I sort of dismissed it.

I should have been clued in when I saw her standing on her hind legs, hugging the toilet. I thought she was just stretching, doing her kitty yoga! I even thought maybe we could train her to use washroom instead of the litter box like those smart cats in YouTube videos. I feel so stupid!

Should have... could have...

I don’t know what to make of it…

Despite the fact that she has everything she needs… all the food, water, kitty litter, attention and affection from the family;

Despite the fact that she has free roaming privileges of our (I think) beautiful  (at least by cat standards!)1900 square feet home... I mean she is allowed to go anywhere she wants except the kitchen counter-tops, dining room table and on top of the bed in the master bedroom... 

Despite all of this and more...

… today I caught Palcica drinking from the toilet bowl!

When I walked on her, I was so stunned that I couldn’t even cry out, NO!

I stood there, in the doorway of our bathroom, my eyes bulging out of my sockets in utter horror. The cat turned and looked at me, red-pawed, jumped off the toilet seat and scampered away.

I could tell she felt guilty!

I didn't even know cats have guilty feelings!

Why, oh why would you drink from the toilet bowl, oh silly kitty?? Do you realize how disgusting AND dangerous that can be?? Don’t you have your own bowl of food and your own bowl of clean fresh water from the faucet? What possessed you to do such a thing...???

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Simply Feline

Our cat disagrees with my assessment of human race. Not only does she think that perfect humans are super-easy to come by, she is convinced that we – I mean the whole all of us,  the Mom, the Dad, the Teenage Boy and the Teenage Girl – every single member of our family, is a perfect human specimen.

She doesn’t see pimples, wrinkles, scars and grays. 

She doesn’t care about the D’s and C’s in report card, missed deadlines, mediocre blog posts, burnt dinners or who ate the last piece of key lime pie! 

She doesn’t care how old we are, how tall we are, how much we weigh, if we brushed our teeth and/or hair this morning, if our clothes match or whether they are appropriate for our age or occasion.

It's truly stunning to think of all the things that our cat doesn't notice or give a hairball about. 

All she seems to see is, Human! Let’s play kitty yoga!

Beyond human playmates she also sees that her bowl is full and her bed is comfy.

She doesn’t even care whether her litter box is clean or not.

The other day I was cleaning her litter box while she was standing right next to me.

What? I ask the cat. She tilts her head sideways.

Play with me! 

I can’t play now. See this litter box. It STINKS! It’s a big, stinky MESS. I HAVE TO clean it!

Why? Cat looks puzzled.

Why?!!?? What do you mean ‘why?’ Because we are HUMANS and NOT CATS! We care about stuff like that!

The cat looks even more confused.  I think she wants to ask another ‘why?’ question, but after thinking for a few moments chooses forlorn,

Plaaaaay with meeeee…. instead.

I look at the litter box, the scoop in my hand, then at the cat.

I don’t care about the clean litter box, she says calmly.

Call me sucker, but with that one look I cast what is left of my human dignity under the bus, set the scoop down, and join the cat for some kitty yoga. I know that now I am a perfect human being (at least to the cat!) again, and ultimately, that's all that really matters.

Come to Me... Matthew 11:28

Return to Me... Joel 2:12

Monday, February 19, 2018

Simply Human

Barely have those words formed inside my brain and found their way out through my fingertips … as they begun to slow-roll around the back of my mind like marbles, I realized with stunning clarity that I have no clue what they really mean!

... return to being simply human again...

It sounded good to return to something unaffected, genuine, unpretentious.

Something we don’t have to try to be, we don’t have to strain at being….

Something that comes to us as natural as breathing…

Yet, somewhere along the way we somehow managed to lose, neglect, abandon, perhaps exchange or trade for ‘bigger and better’ things? In that pursuit, we became dehumanized.  Instead of becoming ‘more of’ we became less human. We became reduced to this one aspect of our being ignoring the entire universe of the rest. 

I am the worst example of all! I am scrambling to find a model, a living, real life model of a ‘simply good human’ and I am returning empty-handed.

All around me, there are a lot of ‘superhumans’. Superhuman moms, superhuman husbands, superhuman teachers, pastors, missionaries, youth leaders, athletes, doctors, supermodels…

Or at least that's what it appears looking from the outside.

Of course, there is the other camp of those who exemplify really well how NOT to be human, at least not on their terms…

But a good, old (or young!) human - unpretentious, genuine, solid through-and-through human is really, really hard to find.

I think I want to be a cat!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love and Ashes

I can’t help but register the strange coincidence of today. The peculiar quirk of the year 2018 calendar, when  …

The day that so extravagantly celebrates love in all its delightful forms…


The day that publicly acknowledges our utter inability to love as we ought – 

inability to love God as he so vastly deserves...

inability to love our neighbors as ourselves (being we can't even properly love ourselves as we need to be loved!)

But, today these two strange companions come together in one glorious heartbreaking embrace.

Valentine’s Day.

Ash Wednesday.

Side by side. In each other’s arms. Supreme power and absolute weakness.

Love and grief. Love and loss. Love and heartbreak.

It’s hard to wrap my mind around it.  I want to draw a line and say,

Love, you belong in THIS camp.

Loss, you go over THERE.

I want clean-cut divide that keeps love pure and simple, safely tucked away from the heartbreak, betrayal, hypocrisy and pain that ashes so powerfully symbolize.

I want to separate these unnatural conjoined twins.

But life doesn’t permit.

Of course, I can choose to ignore the facts. I can ‘focus on the positive’. I can even talk myself into believing it's all true. I can put my imaginary VR headset and live in the VR world, believing it’s real…

Some of us do it more than we are willing to admit...

But sooner or later the RL catches up. One way or another, we find ourselves surrounded by ashes… 

It's only then that the RL - the real love and the real loss hand in hand - can finally begin their quiet journey…back to being simply human again.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Illegitimate Child of Lent

Today is Mardi Gras, which is fancy French word for Fat Tuesday.

Never before have I thought of this day as integral, even essential to the Lenten season.  I always assumed that most ‘good’ Christians frown upon the excess, the revelry associated with the celebration of greasy food, spiked drinks, loud parties and the rest.  

I treated it more like an illegitimate child of Lent. A bastard well loved and celebrated by those outside the church while God’s holy people begrudgingly have to put up with him.

But, today something clicked for me, and this wild introduction to Lent suddenly made more sense.

Because, that’s who we are, us humans. Without even trying, we gravitate towards excess.

We continually wobble from one extreme to another.

Eating too much.

Drinking too much.

Partying too much.

Sleeping too much.

If I start feeling a bit smug about this list...

...if I feel I am doing pretty good in the 'Self Control Department', I need to remember that  the list goes beyond that…  way beyond that, and it's pretty obnoxious, perhaps even more than the above! 

Because, we also 

Work too much.

Worry too much.

Nag and gripe too much.

Judge and criticize and spiritualize too much.

We opinionate, speculate, pontificate way, way, waaaaaay too much.

And in all this too-much-ness we lose ourselves.  We throw our beautiful, simple, unaffected humanity under the bus and reach out, keep reaching out for more. Far MORE.

Because, More, of course is better, right?

More, bigger, better…?

Our FOMO kicks into overdrive and we don’t know how to stop… until we pass out. 

Or fall apart. 

Or get sick.

Or die!

Sometimes I wonder if I would even recognize Enough if I met him in the street.  I would probably blast right by him, without even blinking an eye. 


... just...

... don't know...

... when...

... enough...

... is...

... enough.

And Fat Tuesday, in its over-the-top celebration of excess, is a gentle, loving reminder to all of us how far into the left field we’ve gone… the whole lot of us

Monday, February 12, 2018

Like a Red Tesla in Outer Space

In the midst of our messy, disorderly lives where perpetual battle rages between chaos and order (chaos's currently winning by a mile), it hit me like a red Tesla speeding through outer space, 

Lent starts this week! 

It was the strangest, the most ‘out of place’ thought imaginable. 

Immersed in the firestorms of Larry Nassars and the Harvey Weinsteins of the world,  the Winter Olympics and the MeToo movement, the bathroom renovation and the concert preparations, trips to Y and doctors’ offices...

Squeezed between dishes, and loads of laundry, self-imposed and others-generated stress, Lent sneaked up on me like a cat from under the living room armoir. 

It wagged its slender tail and cocked its cute little head as if to say,

I am here again. What are you going to do with me?

It's funny because I already view it as 'tradition' although it's only been few years in the making. I mean my tradition, something I started observing, watching, paying attention to as of super-recently, unlike the rest of the world that is serious about stuff like this and has done it for centuries! 

Regardless of what the rest of the world who is serious about God is or isn’t doing, I must say that my Lenten adventures have been the best, the funnest– if I dare use made-up word – the most refreshing and rejuvenating season of the year…. and this has happened year after year. 

It’s as if God chooses to use this time to rip out the boring, dutiful, demanding, serious, frowning, irrelevant, disengaged mask I put in front of His face, and shines through the dusty windows of my shriveled up soul, does His magic and makes Life worth Living (capital L) again.

I don't know about you but, right now my life feels like it could use some ‘refreshing’…

Right now, my soul feels like it could use some ‘rejuvenating’…

Right now, I could use some fun, some good news, if there is any good news at all to be found, because it’s been a lot of heartbreaking, disappointing, devastating news… and with such influx, I tend to forget that God is still good and He cares about me and the hurting people I love…