Just as Ruthie was getting settled into her new home (along with us) something very unexpected happened. Our daughter, Vicky, learned that a former roommate was moving away. She thought she had accommodations for her cat, a 10-year old male tabby named Boston, but the housing fell though and, at least temporarily, the cat needed a new home.
Vicky knew this cat from when they were roommates. He had a mostly sweet and mellow disposition, so she was happy to bring him home. There were just two problems. Boston was very traumatized, as a ten-year old cat, to lose his home and mistress and come to a strange place. He spent days forcing himself into tiny spaces and sitting stiffly, only sneaking out to eat a little and use the litter box.
Gradually he began to get over his fear and come out for rubbies and exploring. That was when the second problem erupted, literally. Ruthie was not happy to share her house and her people with an invader. She still bristles up, chases him, and sometimes goes at him with claws bared. However, they seem to be slowly adjusting to their life changes.
So what lessons did I learn from this phase of life with Ruthie? Just a few things.
5 Life Lessons from Ruthie and the New Guy
- We don’t like change, and the older we are, the harder it is to adjust. (Or even want to adjust.) As much as I love our new house, sometimes I want to crawl into a tiny space like Boston and not deal with the cleaning, the paying for stuff that a new house needs, and all the rest of the changes. God needs to grant us older people (based on cat years, Boston and I are about the same age) energy and focus to keep on working, and to want to face the world and its changes.
- We get jealous and angry sometimes when someone demands a share of our time and our space. Ruthie is going through that right now, and in some ways so am I. I need to get the house shipshape and ready to show hospitality. We had some family and friends over a week ago, and our first try at entertaining went pretty well. But it really wiped me out, and I still wish I didn’t have to let others into my sanctuary. Hospitality is a strong principle in Scriptures and I need to get over that, just as Ruthie needs to learn to be hospitable to Boston.
- Boston was pretty dull and droopy when we first welcomed him in. Gradually he has perked up and started grooming himself and looking healthier and more energetic. I am going through that too, trying not to spend so much time in dumpy old lady mode. I want to smile and dress up a little and look more attractive to attract people to my Lord. Boston and I are working on that together.
- I need to stop being jealous of my time. For years hubby has been on the road as a trucker and I sleep alone a lot. Even when we are together I almost get annoyed when he wakes me up for a snuggle at night. Okay, yes, it’s not almost, I do get annoyed. And now I get awakened, sometimes several times a night, by kitties who need rubbies. (Yep. Both of them show up on the bed. That is the one place and time where they rarely get growly at each other.) You may say that I could just close my door, and I did that once or twice. But it’s better to learn a lesson I think God has for me here. I need to be generous with my time, even with my most jealously-guarded time, and know that people need me to be available as much as kitties do.
- I really can grow in unselfishness because that is what God wants for me. Life gives us difficulties like big changes, invaders of our personal space, and general life adjustments that can be hard to put up with. But He wants to purify us, and that is seldom comfortable. It’s a process, and we have to give up impurities.
I am tempted to avoid hard jobs, to fight others over what I think of as mine, to fall into careless and sloppy ways when I don’t like how life is treating me, and I am especially guilty of being selfish with my time. Ruthie and Boston both have given me examples of my own failings. All three of us need to change our thinking. I hope the cats don’t beat me out in making such necessary life adjustments.
Mary C. Findley has poured her real life into her writing. From the cover designs inspired by her lifelong art studies to the love of pets and country life that worm their way into her historicals. The never-say-die heroes in her twenty-some fiction works are inspired by her husband, a crazy smart man with whom she co-writes science and history-based nonfiction. She’s a strong believer in helping others and also has books about publishing and the need to have strong standards in reading and writing.