By Avery Walker
You may have read the title and immediately questioned my sanity for learning life lessons from an animal. However, historically speaking, animals have inspired philosophers and teachers around the world. The Bible is full of exhortations using animals as examples of things like diligence, trust, and sacrifice. So what did I learn from my house cat?
Mochi, whom my son named because he said she was soft and squishy like a rice cake, was born into hardship. Found abandoned in a storm drain and infested with parasites, she had to be bottle fed and treated with several rounds of parasite treatment before we could bring her home to live with us. Despite this humble beginning, Mochi has not once questioned her self-worth. She expects her gourmet soft food at the same time every day, sleeps in the sunniest, softest, and warmest spots in the house (even if that is my laptop keyboard), and demands love and attention whenever she feels like it. Why? Well, because she is a cat. But also, because Mochi, being a cat, is not spending her days focused on her past. She does not live in fear, thinking about those awful days she spent in the gutter. She does not dwell on past failures (like when she tried to catch a bug and knocked down a hanging shelf of plants), or hold grudges (like the day I accidentally ran out of soft food).
Is life much simpler for a cat? Yes, but that does not mean we should miss the life lesson here: do not let your past or worry for the future hinder you from enjoying each day as it comes. In the Bible, Philippians 3:13-14 tells us to forget the things that are behind us, instead pressing on to the goal ahead of us. So many times we rob ourselves of joy by dwelling on the past. We question our worth because of what we have been through or the mistakes we have made. But God does not see us that way, and neither should we. We can live with confidence, knowing that the past is behind us. We can and should accept the good things that come our way as blessings and gifts to be enjoyed. We should eat and enjoy our favorite foods when we can. We should let ourselves take that nap in the sunshine or curl up in a favorite blanket with a good book now and then. We can accept the love and affection given to us by our loved ones, and we should not let grudges keep us from having meaningful relationships. The life of a cat may seem oversimplified, but likewise the life of a person can often be over-complicated. Even though it is sometimes impossible to forget the past, it is also possible to find healing and remember your worth. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us that our past is old and gone; it is obsolete! Rather, we are living new lives if we know Christ. He considered us to be worth enough to die for, so who are we to disagree?
Every time Mochi decides to curl up on my lap and falls asleep purring, I am thankful for her unconditional love and unintentional life lessons. In those ways, I hope I can be just like her someday, and I also hope she learns to stop eating my houseplants.