A couple of years ago, a feral momma cat showed up at our house. This, in itself, is no rarity as living out in the semi-country, we have strays turn up on our doorstep on a regular basis. This momma kitty was no different and while she would occasionally bring her two babies out of hiding long enough for us to get a glimpse, we were never allowed to get close enough to touch them. One day, however, something changed. We never found out what or found the momma, but she brought the babies up on the back porch and disappeared.
The kittens were old enough to eat on their own at that point and would turn up for breakfast and dinner with the rest of the pack. We were able to socialize them enough that getting them “fixed” was doable. The little female was the adventurous one and she would come close enough to get petted and loved on. We named her Dora (as in the cartoon explorer) after she waltzed in the front door one day like she owned the place. The dogs didn’t phase her and as the inside cats watched in horror at the nerve of the “outside interloper,” she explored every nook, cranny and room.
After the one adventure to the inside world, she seemed content to stay outside with her colony and enjoy her feral freedom. Last fall, as the temperatures started to drop, she apparently decided that the outside cat condos weren’t where she wanted to spend the winter and she started pawing at the sidelites like a puppy wanting in. Dora became a permanent part of the indoor living crew before long! She was content to share space with us humans and the rest of the inside family until a few weeks ago. That’s when she started the pawing at the sidelites as well as the window in our bedroom to get back out. Going from climate controlled living to 103 degrees with the heat index is hard enough by itself. When you’re a long-haired cat, it’s nearly a death wish! So Dora remains trapped inside and we tolerate the incessant pawing.
At this point, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with Christianity or, for that matter, much of anything and I don’t blame you! But the parallel between Dora the cat and many people I know is right on point. You see, Dora wants more. She wants that “greener grass” found on the other side of the fence. When she was outside, she wanted in. Now that she’s inside, she wants back out.
Last week, a very sweet lady that I work with came to me worried that she is getting burned out. While she loves the camaraderie we have on our team and she loves being able to help people with their issues, she is hurt when noxious people start calling her awful names because she can’t fix their problem immediately. Unfortunately, in customer service, that happens way more often than you would think. Perfectly normal people turn into raging lunatics when their delivery is late and let’s just say that if their mothers heard them using some of the foul language that they use, they would be mortified!
Anyway, my coworker told me that she never thought it would be like this and had she known the reality of her days, she isn’t sure she would have walked through the door that God opened.
That statement really got me thinking and wondering if I would eventually be saying the same thing.
I’m not patting myself on the back or tooting my own horn when I say this at all. I don’t believe that God gifted me with the talents and gifts that I have to spend my days going from the extremes of “Oh my gosh, you’re so patient and kind! Thank you so much for helping me!” to “What do you mean I have to send the damaged one back to get a refund? You’re a lazy b**** and a useless f***ing c***!”
I’ll freely admit that when I was a little girl, dreaming of growing up and helping others, getting called horrid names for trying was not part of the picture! I’ll also admit that I have asked God more than once why, after years in law enforcement followed by more years in media and ministry, He planted me here.
But the thing is, even though I don’t have the answer, don’t know how long the season will last and have moments when I want to take off the headset, shut down the chat window, stomp my feet and cry out to Him that there must be more, I try to grow where I’m planted. As much as I detest getting called ugly names, dealing with perverts in chat who want to send wholly inappropriate pictures of their own body parts and being lied to by those who have a long track record of trying to scam the system to get freebies, I still go to work every day with a thankful heart because God saw fit to open a window when the company I spent 13 years with shut down my entire department with an email. I look at each call or chat as an opportunity to make someone’s day a little better and try to improve my “soft skills” (like listening instead of just jumping into action to fix it and empathizing). I’m seeing more of the human race than previously before because retail customers come from all walks of life. When I was in police academy, an instructor told us about the 90/10 rule — “90% of your time will be spent dealing with the 10% of the population that commit crime. Ten percent of your time will be spent with the other 90% – the citizens you are sworn to protect and serve. Don’t ever confuse the two!” That rule was very true and the majority of my time in law enforcement was spent seeing people at their worst. When I was in the media as a Christian music and faith writer and editor, I was surrounded by other believers and let’s be real here: most everybody was super nice to me because the way to get an article, interview or review is NOT to be a jerk with the person you want to do it! (The vast majority of my peers in that industry were nice just because that’s who they were, don’t get me wrong, but even in a “Christian” workplace/space, there are still snakes in the grass.)
As for my co-worker, I didn’t have a simple answer for her. When she asked if I believed this is where God wants her to stay, I couldn’t answer either way. While people on Facebook are constantly posting their test results to “tests” like “Which colors appeal to you? Your answer will tell you what kind of person you are!” God hasn’t published a “test” that lets you look at 10 pictures to see what job title you should have to be in His will.
I told her that if she feels like God wants her to do more, then she should start looking around to see what that “more” may be. And I say the same to you (and to myself). But I caution you (and again, myself) this: Don’t be so busy looking for more that you stop seeing that which is right in front of you.