Thursday, June 10, 2010

Porch Theology

We three sat on the front porch, wrapped in fleece throws, sipping coffee early this morning. Such is the month of June in Minnesota. I, in the swing, Ron and Stephie in the rocking chairs, surveying the yard we've been busy fencing and landscaping these past few weeks. A squeaky sound caught our attention. We looked up to see Mimzy, our cat, making running motions against the glass of the picture window with her clawless front paws, hinting at her wish to join us.

"That cat!" I said to Stephie. "Do you know what she did the other day?" We all regarded our furry feline, the perpetually bratty "child" who never ceases to provide us stories to scoff at, with a mix of anticipated amusement and irritation.

"I told Dad that the yard is perfect, now that the gates are in place, for Mimzy to come out and have some recess from the house. Dad expressed his doubts that she would stay in the yard, but I insisted I would watch her. And I did. The first day, she slunk around the entire perimeter of the fence, pausing only to stare wistfully beyond. It was hardly the blissful success story I'd hoped for but I brought her in with me to try again another day. The next day, I took her out again and nearly dropped my iced tea when, within minutes, I looked up to see that fat thing perched on the top rail of the fence about to leap over."

Stephie laughed. For an animal that seems clumsy and day-dreamy most of the time, we have found Mimzy in some pretty ambitious places.

I sipped my coffee and turned my back to the prisoner at the window. "Seriously, is she never happy? First, she has complete run of a climate-controlled, three-story house with two litter boxes that are kept very clean. Food appears magically in her dish whenever she wants it and there are always treats for the asking and fresh water. She has access to the softest beds, the best perches in a dozen window sills, and the comfy couch-backs. She is pampered and brushed and petted and adored. When we notice her desire for more we offer her the yard: Now she has a shady porch with new furniture to lounge upon while she watches birds at the feeders and fountain. There are patches of flowers to hide in, sunny rocks to nap on, and butterflies and bugs galore to chase. But is she satisfied?"

Stephie noted, "She's just like Adam and Eve! She thinks you're holding out on her!"

"YES!" I exclaimed. "Surely there is something more out there beyond the glass window, beyond the picket fence! I saw her as she searched the fence for an opening that first day--she didn't even have a plan, just 'I need to get out of here!' And what is 'out of here?' Why, there's the busy cat-squashing street mere feet away with the squirrel remnants to prove it! And stray dogs that would delight to grab her hairy little body and shake it lifeless--her with not a claw to defend herself! Doesn't that all sound like fun? She's so dumb!"

Yep. It's true that "Curiosity kills the cat." It isn't just human nature to never be content, apparently, it is also feline nature. To be curious without wisdom is dangerous. And that is where we found ourselves this morning--remembering a garden that was not perfect enough. The one thing Adam and Eve were told they could not have was the one thing they felt they must, at all costs, obtain. Oh, how we have hated rules and boundaries ever since! We regard them as awful, restricting, chafing limitations imposed by a joyless, power-hungry Deity. But what if we regarded the Thou Shalt Nots (what we can't have outside the fence) as the Thou Shalts (all that we're allowed INside?)

Thou Shalt: Love God So Much That All Else Pales in Comparison
(Embracing what matters most and will last forever)

-Respect & Honor the Name & Person of God
(Remembering that God is God and you are not)

-Remember to Rest
(Enjoying work without working yourself to death)

-Treasure Thy Parents
(Learning from elders' wisdom and living long enough to have honor returned)

-Protect and Preserve Life
(Giving the weakest and most vulnerable equal safety and value)

-Be Loyal to Thine Own Spouse/Honor the Covenant of Marriage
(Experiencing security in relationships of faithfulness and trust)

-Be Truthful with Thy Neighbors
(Expressing words that have meaning)

-Be Content and Thankful for Everything Thou Hast
(Acknowledging that every need you have will be met)

Oh, to be learn contentment in our own gardens with our own stuff with a God who loves us enough to protect us with limits! We can learn a lot from a cat.


  1. Thou Shalts indeed. What a great way to look at it and a great reminder that we need to live a life free in Christ, not in bondage to rules. How often we let the cynicism of the world encroach on our freedoms and let their negativity sway the Truth of what we have.

  2. I so appreciate your insight, Dawn.
    I have loved all your posts.