Momma cat was just a teenager in cat time when she had her kittens. Although she adored her baby, she was thrilled with my daughter’s decision to keep the kitten as an inside cat. Momma loved the freedom of leaving Baby in a safe place while having several hours daily of outdoor independence.
Then one day, right after she was weaned, Baby made a game-changing thirty second running tour of the house. Increasing speed and propelled by centrifugal force, she glanced off walls, toppled lamps and shredded draperies. At that precise moment she became an indoor/outdoor cat.
I will never forget the look on the momma cat when I pitched her kid out the French door. Furry face pressed against the bottom window pane, eyes blazing, I could almost hear her say, “Are you KIDDING me? Who is going to TAKE CARE of her now?"
I once saw a documentary about how cats train their young, but I had never seen it played out in real life. Baby’s world expanded to include a concrete slab in our back yard. This became the base camp for the rigorous training that would follow for the next week.
Little by little, Momma let Baby off the slab to chase a butterfly, sniff a fragrant bush, and explore the limits of the yard. But the second she got overly eager and went too far, Momma chased her back to the slab and made her sit there and settle back down.
Over the course of days, the lessons broadened to include talking to our chickens, checking out the side yard, and eventually exploring the front garden. But in between each new progressive step, Mom chased her back to the slab if she presumed to go too fast or too far beyond the task at hand.
One day, Baby decided to take a walk up the hill to check out another yard. When she turned to look back, there was Mom, sitting in the middle of the road waiting for her. As Baby meandered back down the hill, she tried to give her mom a wide berth by circling around another property to avoid the confrontation. But Mom was on her like a cottontail on a rabbit. She chased her all the way back to the slab in the back yard.
We have a slab, too. Ours consists of prayer and spiritual study to understand and stay centered on what God is and who we are as God’s amazing reflection. The Psalmist said, "In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust: let me never be put to confusion. Deliver me in thy righteousness, and cause me to escape: incline thine ear unto me, and save me. Be thou my strong habitation, whereunto I may continually resort: thou hast given commandment to save me; for thou art my rock and my fortress... thou art my trust from my youth." (Psalm 71:1-5)
The discipline of being chased regularly back to the slab served Baby well. Every morning, she started her day with a little slab time. I would often catch her napping there in the afternoon.
Setting ourselves on the rock of spiritual understanding through prayer and study can prepare us for our day, too. Returning to the strong habitation of God's love during the day can rescue us from doubt and fear. Consecrated slab time keeps us safe and propels us forward as we venture into new activities.
Have you given yourself a little slab time today?
How blessed it is to think of you as
"beneath the shadow of a great rock in a weary land,"
safe in His strength, building on His foundation,
and covered from the devourer by divine protection and affection.
Miscellaneous Writings, Mary Baker Eddy
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