I found this article online weeks ago, when I was looking for a home for Leo, the orange tabby stray I took in. It’s a story about a minister who takes in a stray cat (Katie), and I really, really like one of the points it makes. Perhaps it won’t make so much sense to ‘dog people,’ because dogs are in general more obedient/trainable, but for cat people, or even people who know cats, it makes perfect sense. I know it’s long, but I promise it’s worth reading:
“Katie never seeks self-improvement. She never petitions us to help her become a better cat. It probably never enters her cat-mind that she needs improvement.
And that is not because she is a perfectly obedient cat. She does not always do our will. She gives us our dawn-licking even though we command her to stop. She often refuses to come when called. She sometimes jumps on the dinner table even though we have clearly instructed her not to. She disobeys our commandments and ignores our will.
She even has a Pharisaic streak in her. She over-obeys one of our commandments. She obeys so well our dictum, “Thou shalt urinate and defecate only in the cat-box” that, if she is outside and needs to relieve herself, she scratches at the screen-door to come indoors to use her facilities!
She is not, by religious standards, a righteous cat. Yet, despite her breaking of our rules, we love her.
No, more than that: because she breaks our rules we love her. Her very disobedience is a part of the perfection of her felinity. She is perfectly cat-like and being cat-like includes indifference to our desires. We find her independence delightful (most of the time).
Might not God feel the same way about me? I have been told that the Lord accepts me the way I am. Might there not be more than mere acceptance? What if God enjoys me the way I am? Maybe the Holy One takes a certain wry pleasure in my indifference to the divine will, a certain amusement in my attempts to get away with something….”
(Read the whole article here.)
It’s true. I don’t love Svara because she does everything I say, or because she never jumps on the counter (she does) or never throws up on the floor (she does) or never sneaks into an ‘off limits’ room (she does). I love her because she’s her. She does her own thing – she might be ‘mine’ but I certainly don’t control her. And I have no desire to control her. In her independence I find pleasure. Is it so hard to believe that God feels the same way about us? Perhaps we don’t always follow the rules, perhaps we don’t always do the right thing. I didn’t get my cat just so I could indefinitely keep her off tables, stop her throwing up on the carpet, and barricade my off-limits rooms. And I really doubt God created us just to follow his rules.
For those of you who don’t know, I’m not a religious person. I created my own religion, with one member (me) (you can find details of it in previous blog-posts). I’ve always had a very peaceful, abstract idea of God and life, and it works really well for me. However, I do feel the need to talk about it from time to time just because it bugs me how vengeful, angry, controlling, selfish, and petty everyone else’s God seems to be. My God is to me as I am to Svara: no matter how many times I throw up on his carpet, there will always be a place for me in his heart and his arms.