Our smallest cat, Athena (AKA “Boopie”) is a plant muncher. For one so little, it’s amazing the total destruction she can wreck on our green pals. Her particular favorite is my large ivy plant; the one (with the able assistance of my mother), I’ve kept alive for many, many years now. Boopie, however, is doing her best job to thwart our efforts. It goes like this. Every winter, mom and dad come down to Florida from North Carolina. Soon after their arrival, I hand over “Ivy” to mom so she can tend her back to health. Over the four months they are here, Ivy thrives, basking in the sun and light from her perch on the dashboard of my parents’ R.V. When mom and dad head back to North Carolina, mom brings Ivy back to me; full, lush and stunning in her greenness. Ivy goes back up onto her space on top of our pie safe and I set about placing things around her to keep Boopie away.
Over the years, I’ve tried everything. I’ve sprayed Ivy with “Bitter Yuck” to detour Boopie from chewing on her tender tendrils. That didn’t work, because Boopie is really more interested in getting to the guts of the matter, the shoots near the base of the dirt. Ok, I thought, once I realized what was going on, I’ll take care of this. I put all sorts of decorative items and knick knacks around Ivy, effectively blocking the pot itself. There! I Boopie-trapped it! Yeah, right. That little shrinky-dink still managed to get into the dirt. By the time mom arrived this past December, poor Ivy was looking as scraggly as I’ve ever seen her, so, off she went to spend the winter at Sun N Fun.
While Ivy’s been away, Boopie has turned her attention to whatever she can find outside on the lanai. Which isn’t much, because, with the exception of a Thai Sister plant we have in a bed near our pool, we have no greenery out there. Yes, this is by design, since the one time we attempted to put pretty plants and flowers out there, they were decimated (in all fairness to Boopie, she had ample assistance from her brothers and sister). Still and again, both Mr. B and I have been surprised at how she seems to manage to find “something” to chew on out there. This we know, because within five minutes of being outside, she’ll come back inside and throw up whatever she’s eaten all over one of our rugs (or the tile floor, if we’re lucky). When we bend down to investigate and clean up her “present”, it looks like masticated twigs.
So, we’ve tried to pay more attention to what may be out there. We routinely go out and pick up any of the leaves that may fall from the Thai Sister. We search for any sort of anything that she may elect to chomp on, including picking up any small bits of mulch from OUTSIDE the lanai that someone manages to get INSIDE the lanai. Doesn’t seem to matter, she still brings us little gifts.
I’ve resorted to keeping my eye on her when she’s outside. As I sit at the kitchen table working, I monitor her activity. The other day, before I let the cats out onto the lanai, I went over to where the Thai Sister plant is and picked up the few leaves that were lying on the ground. Later, I looked out the window and saw the wee fiend up on her back legs with her little paws wrapped around the plant’s slender trunk, happily chewing away on a low lying leaf. I stood up and thumped on the window while yelling “BOOPIE!” She immediately dropped four to the floor and looked around, trying to figure out where I was. She knew she’d heard me, what she didn’t know was where I was. She couldn’t see me, but she heard my loud, booming voice letting her know she was in trouble. While she stood there undecidedly, I gave the window one more thump and said, “KNOCK IT OFF!” At this, she ran off and made a mad scramble for the safety of the house.
I sat back down chuckling to myself about how funny she looked darting off. As I prepared to return to the task at hand, I found myself thinking that, if there was a loud, booming voice that came out of (seemingly) nowhere to keep me from doing something wrong, life sure would be a lot easier; I’d not engage in no-no behavior, only to go somewhere and “throw it back up” for either me or someone else to step in and clean up later.
Athena AKA Boopie AKA The Wee Fiend
Like a lot of folks who have returned to God, I was hoping life would get easier. But, in fact, the opposite has been the case more often than not. I know. Probably not the best job in witnessing, but, it’s true. At least for me. Although probably the more accurate statement would be my life is harder now because I am trying to change, not that my life itself has become more grueling. Everyone knows it’s pretty simple to sit around doing nothing different, there’s little if anything taxing about that. But, when you make the choice to behave counter to what you’re used to, man, it’s a tough road at times. Add to it the fact that the majority of the “stuff” I’m working on is internal (thoughts, attitudes, feelings), well, it’s me against me.
Not that I want to give up, I don’t; especially now when I am starting to catch glimpses of The Kingdom; moments when everything seems perfectly clear and I’m full of a peace that I surely wish I could hold onto forever. That, obviously, is what I’m striving for; aiming to obtain.
Is there no wonder that so much of scripture has references to peace? One of the most familiar blessings noted in the Old Testament is found in Numbers 6:24-26:
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.”
My study Bible notes that, “The goal of God’s blessing is summed up by the final word, shalom or peace, encompassing God’s good gifts of health, prosperity, well-being, friendship, justice, and salvation”.
Yeah. I want that! I just wish that booming voice would give me some instruction how to go about getting it AND holding on to it.
Of course, I do have instruction, “a lamp unto my feet”; all I have to do is read my Bible. The more I read it (and study it), the more I “get it”. And, honestly, the voice I hear isn’t a loud booming one at all, it’s that “still small voice” you’ve heard tell about which sometimes gets quite noisy indeed if I stop paying attention to it.
As for shalom, for peace; I’ve got that too; I just need to remember to draw upon it, because it came at a high price.
“Peace I leave you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not let them be afraid.” John 14:27