Yesterday, I read a haunting post from a pastor I follow on Twitter, Jonathan Martin. You can find the post here and you may well wish to read it first. It made me think for a long time and made me wrestle with some of my own demons about words. Not all of them are worked out in this post, mind you, but it is a start. Thanks, Pastor Jonathan Martin. I think.
He sat as his desk and listened to the cats fighting three rooms away even as he listened to the voices inside him argue over the need to write.
“Practice,” the old, wise voice that had read masters and novices alike said. “Put the damn pen to the paper. Tap away at the crud covered keyboard. Fill the empty space with some of those things floating around in that jumbled mass of nerves you call a brain. Get something down so that mess of nerves can at least sort out what is good and what is trash. Practice.”
“Nah, just wait for your muse to arrive,’ the other voice growled from the depths of the man’s belly. The man never knew the age of this tormentor but he knew from the rumbles and discomfort where he had taken residence. The gut. “Wait for the muse to arrive. That is, if the jerk ever decides to truly show up. In the meantime you’ve got plenty to occupy your hands and mind. For crying out loud, it is almost a New Year and leaves still need raked. Cookies need baked. I love the cookies, you know. Besides, you will be pouring out words in a sermon or two soon enough. Be content with what they will do. (Or more likely, what they won’t do.)”
He walked through the house aware of the war that raged between heart and soul, between blank space and filled lines. He looked upon two cats, one stretched out in a windowsill batting eyes at the roaming person disturbing an important nap, the other, stretched out upon the recliner and oblivious to the footsteps of the man. Stroking the fur of the undisturbed cat, he heard the restful sound of sleep. He listened to the silence of words dying. Again.
Other times, I think about the family he is with and realize he just fits in nicely.
Rascal likes to watch for water. He will come running if you turn on the sink. Truthfully, there is some debate (in our household and apparently among cat owners on the internet) as to whether or not cats can see water. My personal opinion of Rascal is that he cannot see it. He hears it. He occasionally sees the rippling of the water in the sink. But running water seems to be beyond his vision. He can poise himself on the side of the sink and get drenched when you turn on the water. It’s quite a sight actually. Cat shaking and meowing at something he can’t quite figure out.
It doesn’t stop him from watching for it, though. Once that faucet is on or the ice dispenser makes a sound, he is all over that sink – waiting and watching.
I know that the Kingdom of God is often out of my line of vision. I know where it should be – with the people of God, with the poor, with those who are in need of any help. But at times I just can’t see it. I might notice the ripples around it but it is just as likely to knock me flat on my behind before I know its there. I look a lot like my wet cat at those moments – shaking my head and making weird noises about something I quite understand.
But I do watch. I just pray that I have the attention and tenacity of my cat. (Without the “distraction disorder” he also has…If something shiny goes by him while he is watching for water, he is off on a new chase!)
Alas, though, I am often distracted as well. I know that this week, a plugged up shower/tub, a problem with a car and a couple other little things have kept me from probably seeing the great and awesome power of God in the world.
But I will keep watching. Maybe one day I will do it with feline determination!