Myles of Lessons

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Myles 

A lesson in knowing your lane. 

Last summer we got a cat. A kitten, to be exact. I grew up with lots of animals and had a cat of my own, named Katy, who startled us with 111 kittens in her lifetime, all born in my mom’s suitcase, begrudgingly handed down to Katy after her first litter. I like cats, but this time I wasn’t looking for another pet. I was looking for a predator.

Our new cat, Myles, was brought on board with a mandate and a mission: kill the snakes. We have a greenbelt behind our house with a small pond. Although it is lovely to look at, it brings with its peaceful view the occasional slithering product of hell itself. Que Myles. He was supposed to be an outside cat with barn-cat qualities. A killer cat who knew the lady inside would reward him for his services with the occasional bowl of food and lodging in the garage.

I grew up in Southwest Kansas the daughter of a farmer. I know the difference between a pet cat and a barn cat. My husband, David, grew up in Abilene, Texas, and does not. (In this men-are-from-Mars-women-are-from-Venus experience, I made another notation for my friends who do pre-marital counseling.) MY plan was to feed Myles a few times a week, just enough to keep him around, yet hungry enough he would be the predator he is instinctively wired to be. DAVID’S plan was to compassionately feed the cat behind my back, thereby saving Myles life and causing me to lose mine. I realized I had been sabotaged about 10 days after Myles was hired when I found him on our patio, having a cozy, sunset-watching rendezvous with his new friend, Satan the Snake. I’m fairly certain it was a King Cobra. Or a garter snake, but whatever. They are all the same.

I needed a new house, preferably a high-rise apartment. Instead, Myles got one. Now he is declawed, fixed and given unhindered access to every window seal in our home where he can monitor nature, but do absolutely nothing about it.

I wonder if, like Myles, I can become so content that I lose sight of what I’m here for. I get so full of things – even good things – that my senses become dull to the things that are actually MY things. I make friends with {projects, ideas, plans} that are really designed to distract me, and a slow build of apathy against the things I once passionately pursued causes the inspired places of my heart to numb. In those seasons do I just bring myself in out of the elements for a hazy view of the action outside? Do I dumb down my environment to fit my level of give-a-care? The short answer is yes. The long answer is not for long.

Maybe Myles isn’t necessarily the poster cat for my point, but the observation, pointed out by my friend Tracy, does ring with notes of truth. In all of the great, exciting ways God equips and anoints us for the roles and jobs He has designed us for, there are also the enticing side roads and the detours (sometimes fun ones!) designed to slowly disorient our senses to our most innate purposes. This isn’t about living with balance (gag) or simply prioritizing our roles (necessary). This is about understanding that Satan’s plan is rarely to take us out with one hard blow; it is to make us chase enough rabbits that we eventually give up out of weariness and disillusionment. His methods are way more sneaky, making him harder to pinpoint and difficult to blame.

Myles the pet loves his life inside. His greatest threat is being picked up without his permission. Killing snakes just wasn’t his gig. Myles is teaching me there is an abundance of freedom, energy and fun that comes from not only knowing what I’m meant to do, but also recognizing those things that just aren’t my gig, either.