51 Cats Story (Part 2, Page 3)

A Different Path

I had felt so hopeful when I began working on creating this corporation, thinking I had finally found a path to my purpose and a permanent answer for us all. In my heart, I’m totally willing to dedicate myself to a lifetime of charitable service to unwanted cats, just like the soft-hearted founder of Tabby’s Place, a cat sanctuary in New Jersey. But being so thoroughly blocked, I began to feel like this corporation idea had become a bird with clipped wings.

Disappointed and a little desperate, I began grasping at straws. I thought maybe I could at least find a near-minimum-wage job somewhere, any permanent job, and take it just for the money. I could work hard and attempt to save every penny for as long as it takes to build my own start-up capitol. At the same time, I could study every day to learn everything I needed to know to create and possibly run a corporation effectively entirely by myself. I could probably do it. It would just take a long time.

Even though it is possible, I wasn’t being at all realistic. I had to face facts. It already takes a lot of hours out of every day to properly care for 51 cats. We are, in essence, a cat sanctuary right now. There will always be more vet bills to pay and the possibility of more cats showing up. Doing it this way could take over a decade. My wife is already struggling with her job, and we can’t stay ten more years in an already overcrowded house. I felt so heavy, and I began to struggle with feelings of depression.

As always happens during our dark moments, the devil wastes no opportunity to whisper negative thoughts into our mind. Lies that start with “you can’t –” or “you will never –” and hopeless thoughts like “quit” and “give up” begin appearing there. GOD has asked us to love Him with all our mind, heart, soul and strength. One way I do this is by recognizing destructive, negative thoughts and pushing them out of my mind for GOD’s sake and my own. The power to do that is ours. But, it’s all the more difficult to do when we’re down. That’s when the devil pushes back hardest. So I prayed for more help, and instead of just sitting alone with my thoughts, I felt like I wanted to talk to someone.

I shared my recent experiences and my disappointment with my mom. Right away, she suggested that perhaps GOD was protecting me. I had asked Him to guide me to the right people, but maybe, I was looking in the wrong place. What I was actually looking for were caring friends, but I was looking for them among busy business people – their hearts were likely preoccupied.

What she said made sense and I felt a little better, but obviously, I didn’t have a clue how to even begin to find the right friends. There had to be people out there in the world with hearts that care like we do, people who would feel grateful for the choices and sacrifices we’ve made on behalf of other’s discarded kitties and who would long to reach out in friendship and help us in some way to bring our sanctuary to life. These are the kind of supportive founding-friends I needed to gather. But I didn’t know how to gather them.

A little later, I spoke with my wife about how I felt completely blocked and didn’t know what to do now. She said that she would like it if I wrote a little something about each cat to put with their pictures on the sanctuary website, so that we would have something to share.

Although I had worked a little on web site materials, I had not intended to create an online presence until after the charity was incorporated and we had a viable marketing plan in place. And especially now, I didn’t see the point. I’m ashamed to say, I even felt a little irritated at her request.

But then, as my mind was dwelling on what she had said, I felt this calm peaceful feeling gradually settle over me, similar to that day when I cast the die for Duddly. It was as if GOD had put His hand very gently on my shoulder, patiently waited for me to willingly calm down, which took me a little while, and then He released me from the heaviness and disappointment I had gathered from the corporate chase until all that was left in that moment was Him and me – like a kind of clear, unburdened silence. Then in a completely nonjudgmental way, He simply opened my eyes to the fact that I had veered away from something very important – my part of my relationship with Him. (I think I’m saying that right.)

A New Understanding

NOTE: This part of the story is very spiritually personal. It is about how I interpreted this experience. I don’t think that many would be this open, but I feel that God wants me to be.

Because of my vulnerability, I had fallen back into the world’s perspective again instead of seeking GOD’s perspective. (I’ve come to believe that GOD wants us to seek His perspective constantly.) To GOD, the requirements of business don’t matter in the slightest. We do. The compassion in our hearts and the willingness of our souls are what matter to Him. We don’t have to craft perfectly constructed, complicated business documents just to prove who we are to the world. GOD knows exactly who we are and what we need. He had never asked me to walk that corporate direction in the first place. Instead, I felt like He wanted me, not just to write a little about each cat as my wife had suggested, but to willingly tell the whole story and trust Him to take it to the right people in answer to my prayer.

You see, I had stepped out first by choosing the more worldly, acceptable, corporate path, and then I asked GOD to help me my way. My mistake was not asking GOD for help first, and then waiting for Him to guide me in the right direction, His direction. Seeing my current situation with these cats as having become unstable, I felt compelled to act right away, out of fear not faith, and seeing an opportunity to finally appear successful, I chose to plow ahead in my own direction and ignore that uneasy feeling in my heart again, just like I did that day Zoey disappeared, just like I did with that door stop that led to Daisy getting hurt. GOD puts these feelings there to guide me. I need to listen every time! I seem so slow to learn this. I want to do what’s right; I really do. But, sometimes it’s so easy to veer off course – especially when we’re afraid or feeling judged by our peers. I’m glad GOD is such a patient and gentle teacher.

This simple lesson (seeking and accepting God’s council and guidance rather than going off in my own direction for my own purpose) matters so much more than my strong desire to APPEAR normal or successful. The fact is, my life is not normal, and God has always been OK with that; I’m the one who keeps having a problem with it. The devil works hard to use others to make us feel bad about ourselves and our circumstances. This strong desire for normalcy is evidence of the devil’s work against me and I really shouldn’t give in to it. Despite how other’s remarks attempt to make us feel, we should forgive them and allow ourselves to feel content with the stage that God has set for us, knowing that it serves a necessary purpose. I think that if we were able to do this easily, maybe that would be a sign of great faith. Obviously, I’m not quite there yet.

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