I have this cat that annoys me to no end. My parents named him Pest in an attempt to capture the fullness of his personality and he certainly lives up to his name. If you are a living person, Pest likes to be around you all the time. Unlike many cats who can be described as snobby and who only want their owners when they need food or a clean litter box, Pest wants you all the time.
His attempt to gain affection often takes many different forms. Sometimes he will follow me around the house rubbing my legs and meowing. Other times he will hide from me and attempt to ambush when I walk past. These “displays of affection” are often the beginnings of many minutes of attacking my feet no matter how quickly I try to escape the claws and teeth, or how far across the floor I push him. What can often be the most annoying are the times that pest will climb up in bed or on the couch with me while I am reading and rub his head on my hands constantly. The only relief I can find for the behavior is to rub the cats head voluntarily. Sometimes he does not stop at just rubbing my hands, but my face or any other exposed piece of flesh.
Needless to say, this behavior often proves annoying, especially when attempting to type at a computer or get any form of work done. He’s like a small child who constantly needs your love, attention and approval. The thought occurred to me recently, that perhaps God is trying to teach me something through this annoying Pest. The love that Pest has for me and the other members of the family have nothing to do with the circumstances of his life. If Pest is hungry, he still will shows the same level of affection as if he had just eaten. He is constantly seeking to love those around him, regardless of the immediate circumstances.
We should live our lives that way. Seeking to love others around us with everything we have, despite our circumstances. Whether we are hungry, thirsty or in need of job or home. We should love everyone. I had a teacher in college who illustrated a point with a story about himself and his wife. One student in our class asked him how they managed to have such a successful marriage and after many years of marriage, still be totally in love with each other. He said, it’s all in the way that you think about each other. The secret, he told us, was to be more concerned about the others happiness than you are your own.
Imagine what the world would look like if we attempted that mindset. If we loved not only our spouses but everyone around us that way! We might actually learn something from those annoying co-workers whose presence we hate, or from our in-laws who are constantly badgering us. Life cannot be lived for other people, but we can love for other people. Some fear that loving that way might harm them, but look at Pest. He’s the happiest of all three of our cats, simply because he loves the best.