This cat has the right idea. He has always known how to relax, and for years I’ve envied him. Of course, he doesn’t have to work for food–unless he feels like hunting outdoors–and he doesn’t have to worry about where his next paycheck is coming from. Nobody puts a cat on payroll. I think the secret is that he doesn’t worry. I take care of him. Mel brushes him, I medicate his eyes, we take turns feeding him and emptying his litter box. Not much to worry about, but he still has a corner on the market of relaxing.
Wouldn’t you love to be a cat for a day? Lay across the top of a cushy chair in the sunroom soaking up the warmth, legs splayed out, happy and secure? Lately, I wouldn’t know that feeling. Do you? Even when we take vacations–which studies have shown doesn’t happen enough in our society–we barely learn to relax before it’s time to go back to work. Even if we love our work, the stressors of it can often get out of control and we walk around in a perpetual state of anxiety.
Let me suggest a slow vacation. It doesn’t have to be a week or two if you don’t have that much time to take. It could be no more than an afternoon–though a full day would be much better. A full week on a slow vacation can be life-affirming.
Have you ever been driving along the highway and seen a road you’ve never driven? May I suggest taking that road next time you have a little time? See where it goes. Sure, it might come to a dead-end. You might even get lost. I did that once, and got so lost I had to stop and ask for directions about how to get back home. The old man at the store frowned at me and said, “I don’t think you can get there from here.”
But I found my way back anyway. It was fun. It was exciting.
I started hiking that way. I’d be driving through the Mark Twain National Forest and see a logging trail with a numbered sign on it. Here in our area of the state, not many people go hiking, but I started parking at the heads of those logging trails and exploring them. When I found one that had pretty vistas, I invited friends to explore with me. We eventually became so enamored with hiking that we hiked the Grand Canyon. I’ve since hiked different Canyon trails nine times, and the memories are priceless.
When I explore I take my time and use my senses. I’ll stop beside a creek and breathe the fresh air, skip some rocks across the surface, explore the bank for pretty flowers.
But I don’t have to drive anywhere to enjoy nature. This is springtime in Missouri. Birds are building nests right outside my window. I love watching them. I’ll walk outside before the yard is mowed and enjoy the wildflowers blooming. The smells, the sounds, the peace of nature surround me in those moments and I realize the love God must have for us to create so many things of beauty.
Next time you find yourself stressed by work and just keeping up with life, try hard to take a slow vacation. It doesn’t matter that you can’t get away for a week or two. I’ve found that I can take a vacation with just an hour or two of enjoying and relaxing in the peace of God’s creation.
Try it a few times and see if it doesn’t make you feel more like my cat for at least a few moments.