Any cat owner will know what I mean when I say they are creatures of habit. Our one is no exception. At times, her need for routine and anxiety if it changes borders on Autistic.
Every morning, she waits for one of us to stir, then she jumps on our bed and demands a cuddle. When one of us gets up, she runs to the kitchen for breakfast. And after eating, she sits patiently by the back door while we have our own breakfast.
When I come to open the door, she looks up at me eagerly with big green eyes. But once the door is open, she does not rush out. She sits herself as close to it as possible, sniffs the air, and closes her eyes.
I used to get frustrated at having to leave the door open for her as she did this. But a few weeks ago, pulled in by curiosity, I wrapped a blanket around my shoulders and sat on the floor beside her. I shut my eyes and sniffed the air, wondering what it was she loved so much about this time.
The air was fresh and cold, it drew me in as I drew it in, it breathed life into me as I inhaled. With my eyes closed, my ears opened. I heard the beautiful morning chant of a nearby bird, promising the arrival of spring. I heard the silence that our little cul-de-sac is blessed with, even as we sit so close to the main roads, city centre and schools. I heard the fast-paced footfall of an excited dog out for a walk in the fields beside us. I heard the lyrical sounds of my husband singing in the shower, and a smile graced my lips.
A breeze picked up, ruffling my hair and caressing my face. I felt my cheeks go pink, my eyes brighten as I breathed in life and energy and peace. Things I didn’t even know I was missing.
Sometimes we get so used to stale air, to stifling warmth, to putting on a mask in the morning, to our ‘not-always-comfortable-but-safe’ busy life, that we don’t even realize what we are missing out on. Opening the door could be cold, comfortable, intrusive, frustrating.
But perhaps, just maybe, opening the door and taking a moment to just be before the busyness starts can be refreshing, renewing, life-giving.
As I opened my eyes, they fell on the statue of St Francis that sits at the end of the garden. I turned to the cat, sitting serenely beside me. “I guess he was right,” I whisper as I stroke her head, “I can learn from you, too.”
**This post is part of Fellowship Fridays over at Christian Mommy Blogger