When I arranged my desk I didn’t take into account cats. Previously writing on the porch table kept them at bay, the beasts always on the lookout for something to chase. Weather forced me inside to the dining room table and cats appeared, jumping on my lap and laptop, a nuisance I was accustomed to as my right arm stretched to provide protection and I pecked away with my left hand. I barely noticed the fur in my face while deep in thought, I may have stroked a cat or two but they surely didn’t get rewarded for interfering. But when I set up my office with a smaller writing surface and a space heater to take away the chill, I strategically placed items on my desk to challenge or comfort me. I didn’t consider cats. A thought I was creating my own space, I truly believed my desk was mine and my area was clearly marked as a pet-free zone. I have come to see that just because I didn’t make space doesn’t not translate into space not available. It often takes me awhile to catch up to God’s design.
Swishing tails, slinking bodies, leaping from shelves to my desk, invaders who won’t listen to reason, refuse to be ignored: the cats have found me, know I am captured at my tiny desk. A closed door is an invitation for little paws to scratch and poke underneath, distractions that pull me from my musings unto the meowing. Seeking compromise, I crack the door and place a blanket on the trunk, a warm snuggling place. I moved the climbing tower from upstairs into my office. I am trying to be flexible. Still, they wanted more. They wanted my desk, they wanted me. We are now in full-out battle, the cats are banished. A sweeping tail knocked a treasure off of my desk, a bridge too far. Not just any treasure but pottery Janet made, the clay pot that she created then broke and pieced back together. A piece so incredibly beautiful in design and meaning that I looked at it daily to see the light come through the cracks and knew God. I stashed inside sweet supportive letters I have received as I started my blog, a seed that was planted by Janet and continues to grow fruit as I share my broken places. You can see why I am warring with my cats. My special jar is now shards. The vessel can hold nothing.
I want to find meaning in my destroyed broken pot, to see that even more light is now possible. I want to acknowledge that there are worse problems than pets who search for comfort on my lap. I want to be big enough to expand my world and my heart but if I am honest, I don’t want to open up anymore. I like what I have where I have it. I was comfortable with just that amount of light coming in. Unfortunately I don’t think God is really interested in me being comfortable in my little space, I am being pulled into a new place that feels sharp and promises hurt. I have been watching with the attentiveness of my cats at the back door while the birds flutter to the feeders, noticing all the ways I am being opened up and expanded and called to be more. I prefer my safe place but I am laid bare like the slivers and fragments, the choice already made for me.
I retreat, I snuggle in, I take more naps. I even got angry, really angry a couple of days ago, an unusual reaction from me. A desperate message to Janet just to touch base in the midst of my mad day alerted her to my fury as I announced the day officially a “poop” day where wine would be the reward at the end, if it ever ended. The next day I read in Steve Wien’s book “Beginnings” (which I have raved about unabashedly many times and think everyone should go buy and read) the chapter on Expanse which is the one I will be leading soon in our study group. The pieces all came together as he shared his son’s anger and desire to poop on his brothers. If this is not endorsement enough to grab the book, I just don’t know how to get you there! I totally got this child’s anger, his frustration, I laughed at my ridiculous response to my day but still, I know I am being stretched to see things I don’t want to see.
The cats broke my vessel, light floods onto the pieces, bounces off of the glaze and shines on my office walls. I can only imagine how long it took Janet to create her gorgeous works, how brave she was to present them to others. I am a reluctant vessel of God, being called to move precious treasures into the SONshine and allow the Light to pour through. I grew content with the cracks and the beauty of my own clay pot, national events now force me to be broken wide open and face more feelings and words that are less on the joyous end of the spectrum, words that reflect fear and hurt and anger. Just as I thought I was safe from intruders in my little office, I know that even invaders dressed up like cute kittens can cause damage, can wreck what is important to all of us. The world is full of poopiness, full of anger and also rife with opportunities to open our souls to others, allow more light in. We are being called to leave our comfortable places, intruders pushing us to break open our soul vessels to those seeking asylum.
I am broken open to see and feel and hear the more around me, a painful destruction of my soul barriers that promises more angry days ahead. I may want to poop on my day, I may desire more wine, still I think God’s light is shining amidst the darkness as the Son catches the pieces of us all and new art is born. I am not accustomed to sharp edges, I may need some smoothing, God will surely work on that. For now, my desk and soul are more open, I am surround by the Light.