Category Archives: Earning Trust

Of Litter Boxes and Love

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Every once in a while I’m confronted with just how much I hate cleaning out Charlotte’s litter box. I hate cleaning it, and I hate changing the litter as well. You can well imagine that this is, by definition, a real problem, because cats need to have a clean litter box if they’re indoor cats, which Charlotte is. Otherwise they start doing their business, if you know what I mean, everywhere but the litter box, and I’ll leave the results of that fiasco to your imagination.

My frustration with the litter box comes from the fact that Charlotte pees on my bed if she doesn’t like the condition of her litter box.

How, you might ask, do I know that’s what my cat is thinking when she pees on my bed? Well, I’ll tell you.

The only time she pees on my bed is when I’m not cleaning out out her litter box often enough, and one could interpret that to mean that I’m not keeping it clean enough to keep her satisfied, so she punishes me by peeing on my bed.

She’s also peed on my cross stitch, and that’s a worse sin, if possible than peeing on my bed. I’ve put in hundreds of hours on this cross stitch, and I expect to put in hundreds, if not thousands, of hours more, and the thought that Charlotte could ruin it in one fell swoop simply by peeing on it fills me with…

Well, I’m not sure what it fills me with, but you can be sure it’s not good. So I guess I have to pray for God’s help to forgive her. And then I have to figure out how to get the stain out.

There’s a saying: dogs have owners; cats have staff. It seems to hold true in my case, and she’s only five months old. I’ve long had the feeling that whatever cat I own ~ that she actually owns me. You know, I pay the rent, but Lily, or Rosie (the cat I had before Lily) and now Charlotte rules the roost. And it feels like it’s especially true with Charlotte, as young as she is, because she feels like a baby-tyrant. And just so you know, I’ve only ever had female cats, except for Dennis the Menace when I was a kid, but I wasn’t allowed to choose him. My parents did that, because I was only five at the time. Other than Dennis the Menace, I don’t like male pets. They have too much visible equipment for my taste.

If I look at it from a more practical and logical perspective, I know that cats have a heightened and acute sense of smell. So smells most of us can barely notice are probably bowling Charlotte over because they’re so strong. So while I can’t smell her litter box even when I’m right next to it, she can probably smell the litter box downstairs when she’s in the loft upstairs. All of which says I need to put aside my own frustration and work harder to keep it clean ~ which I’m doing because I love her.

In an interesting aside, I’ve never been able to smell marijuana, and have therefore never been able to get high on it, something I don’t regret at all. When I was in college, I would come into the lobby of the dorm where I was living on a Friday or Saturday night, and the friend at the front desk would ask me if I could smell the grass as I was coming to the lobby from my room, and I would tell her I couldn’t. Her response was always that she was surprised, because the smell was so overpowering, you could get high just walking through the building.

Not only can I not smell marijuana, but I can’t smell much of anything at all, because a kid in seventh grade band class punched me in the nose for telling the teacher that they’d left the room. I was incredibly naive back then, and I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to rat on other students, so when A.S. (name changed and disguised to protect their privacy) left the room as the teacher was taking roll, I made the mistake of telling the teacher about it when he called their name. Then when they came back, someone else told them about it, and they came up to me and punched me hard in the nose because I’d tattled on them. My nose bled so heavily that day that my dress was ruined, and they had to take me to the hospital to have it X-rayed to make sure it wasn’t broken.

Fortunately my nose wasn’t broken, but my sense of smell was forever changed. About the only things I can smell now are certain flowers, in particular gardenias.

That was over 50 years ago, and I’ve forgiven A.S., but I still can’t smell much more than a few kinds of flowers. I’m okay with that, and if I’m stuck with a sense of smell that’s narrowed down to a few flowers and nothing more, then I’m grateful that I can smell flowers, because flowers are beautiful. Gardenias have a truly heavenly scent. I hope Heaven will smell like gardenias, though I imagine it will probably smell even more amazing and wonderful than that, even beyond my wildest imagination.

7 We speak about the mystery of God’s wisdom. It is a wisdom that has been hidden, which God had planned for our glory before the world began. 8 Not one of the rulers of this world has known it. If they had, they wouldn’t have crucified the Lord of glory. 9 But as Scripture says: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.” ~ 1 Corinthians 2:7-9 (Isaiah 64:4), Names of God Bible.

I’ve wondered about God’s wisdom in giving me this particular cat, because I’ve had so many problems with her. But I’ve also wondered if I jumped the gun and got a cat too soon out of impatience, because I wanted a cat so badly. So maybe I got the wrong cat because I should have waited for God to send me the perfect cat ~ and maybe that’s why I’ve had so many problems with her. She certainly has tried my patience, that’s for sure.

So that’s the latest chapter in the continuing saga of Charlotte the Cat. She continues to be a mystery, because I don’t understand much of what she does, and she remains the cat with more energy than any cat I’ve ever seen or known. She is the busiest one cat I’ve ever seen. She allows me to be closer to her if I’m sitting on my couch, but she still runs away if I walk towards her. At least for the time being I’ve solved the problem with her peeing on my stuff by keeping her out of my bedroom entirely, and keeping her away from my cross stitch. My bedroom door is always closed, and my cross stitch goes with me wherever I go, or it stays in my bedroom behind closed doors.

God is good ALL the time, regardless of what’s happening, good or bad, in my life.

Charlotte’s Toys

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Even though Charlotte still won’t let me near her, she is quite active in my apartment. Debbie, the woman from whom I adopted her, gave me a bag of food and a couple of plastic sandwich bags full of toys so Charlotte would have something to play with should she so desire.

Charlotte seems to love these toys, because every time I come out of my bedroom when I wake up in the morning, I find them scattered all over the floor in completely different places from where I placed them the night before. And she seems to play with them ALL the TIME because even five minutes after the last time I saw them they’ve been further scattered and in different positions than they were previously. The only rule seems to be that she doesn’t do any of it in my presence.

The fact that she refuses to play in my presence brings up another, slightly sticky subject. She still won’t come near me, and runs from me if I walk anywhere even remotely close to her. I did manage to get her to sleep in the same room with me last night by virtue of closing the door to my bedroom immediately after coming in so she wouldn’t have a chance to escape. But I wasn’t sure if she was actually in the room, because it was dark, and I couldn’t see anything.

And, as it turned, out she was in the room, as I found out this morning when she woke me up because she wanted to get out, but couldn’t because the door was closed. It was the first time she’d made a sound since I got her, so I was delighted that she woke me up so I could hear her voice. She has a tiny, high-pitched, squeaky cry, but she’s still pretty little, being only three months old.

So when she started meowing I got up to open the door. When I stood up, she leapt into the air in terror and flew into the far corner of the room with her tail all floofed out. It was quite a sight. She’s such a pretty little thing with her blue eyes, but the terror she was obviously feeling kind of obliterated everything else.

Charlotte In Her Carrier Right After I Got Her Home

Isn’t she beautiful? I think she’s perfectly lovely! I just hope and pray that she’ll get used to me so she’s no longer terrified of me. I love her so much already!

The godly care for their animals, but the wicked are always cruel. ~ Proverbs 12:10, NLT.

So that’s the latest in the continuing saga of Charlotte!

Untried Yet Guilty, Not Guilty Yet Condemned.

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I have a VERY difficult time trusting men. I think I’ve long since established that, but, considering that I’m using it as the premise for the rest of this post, I feel like I should say it again.

Because of my background I seem to be predisposed to see every man as a child molester, regardless of who they are or what they do. If I see a father with his daughters in a restaurant or walking the street, I feel afraid for those children, even though I have no reason or evidence to suspect that anything bad is happening to those daughters at all. It’s especially true for girls, but boys incite fear in me as well, because the statistics say that boys are abused as well as girls, though the incidence is less. 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of childhood sexual abuse, according to the National Center for Victims of Crime.

When I’m thinking logically I realize this is an unfair characterization, but I don’t seem to be able to change my way of seeing things.

This is just an observation, but it’s something I’ve been aware of for awhile, and something I would like to change. I could never think of being married to anyone, especially someone with children, because I’d constantly be afraid he was abusing his kids, and the marriage would quickly become intolerable, above all for my spouse.

There may be a few, a very FEW, who have escaped this unjust condemnation from me: God (and of course Jesus and the Holy Spirit); my therapist, McT; my pastor, Pastor Jack; and maybe Dr. Phil are probably the only ones who’ve made that list and haven’t fallen off by blowing it.

I’m always waiting for the other shoe to fall any time I begin to trust someone of the opposite sex, and in the past, they’ve never failed to fall short. Certainly Harry was the archetype for all the other people who were added to, and then fallen off my list, but there have been many other people since then who’ve also looked like they might be trustworthy, and then proven to be otherwise.

And it’s almost worse when someone starts out looking trustworthy, and then proves to be otherwise, because of the pain I feel when I find out they aren’t. There’s all the betrayal and abandonment I feel, plus the self-condemnation because I should have known better. I mean, I should know better by now, right?? After all these years you’d think I’d get it!

Thankfully, God is always trustworthy and faithful, though it took me many years to realize that and believe it. But I now know and fully believe that He is ALWAYS good, and ALWAYS faithful, and ALWAYS trustworthy. I now know that He will NEVER lie, that He will ALWAYS tell the truth. I’m so grateful for those facts!

God is not a man, so He does not lie. He is not human, so He does not change his mind. Has He ever spoken and failed to act? Has He ever promised and not carried it through? ~ Numbers 23:19, NLT.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. ~ John 14:6, NIV.

Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. ~ Lamentations 3:22-23, NKJV.

My Brain Has Flown the Coup, and Then Come Back Again

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At the beginning of my last post, Ideas Flitting In and Out, I suggested some possible titles I was thinking about using for a blog post. The above was one of them. I kind of liked it so I thought I’d use it, considering I’m having trouble gathering enough thoughts to create a sentence, much less a whole blog post.

Lily, my cat, has decided that right now is the time for her to crawl into my lap and be affectionate. So that’s what she’s done, purring loudly, with her head nudging my right elbow, as I’m trying to type. Of course it’s almost impossible to concentrate, much less write down what I’m thinking about, with her doing all that, but it’s hard to turn her away because her motor and her beautiful blue eyes are so appealing.

Just thought I’d let you know what fun I’m having while I’m trying to write! Lily has always been a gift from God, and I love her dearly, but it gets interesting when she wants me to pet her right when I’m trying to write.

Back at it, Lily notwithstanding…

I’ve been feeling less depressed since that memory surfaced last Thursday while I was writing, and I’m very relieved about that. It’s extremely difficult for me to function when I get that depressed. It’s hard for me to blink and breathe when it gets that bad, so I can’t get anything done, not even reading my Bible. 

Fortunately, as I said, I am feeling a bit better, so I’m blinking and breathing easier and more often, thankfully. It’s kind of like a boil was lanced when that memory came up, to use an analogy. I do think I’ll need to explore the well from that memory with McT, because I’m not sure I’m done with it yet. Thankfully I’m supposed to have a phone appointment with him this afternoon.

So I had my appointment with McT, and it was, as always, a really good conversation. He is so easy to talk to! He just makes things easier. You know, things. Things that are hard to talk about. Things that hard to think about. Things that are hard to see, or hard to hear. I’m more and more able to trust him with the really hard stuff, the bits and pieces of my life that I’ve never been able to tell anyone.

The reason it feels like my brain has flown the coup is because, even though I’m feeling less depressed, most of the time my mind is blank, without thoughts ~ thoughtless, as it were, and I can’t figure out where they’ve all gone. I seem to be able to think enough to speak, so where are my thoughts when I want to write? It’s very frustrating and distressing.

I hate feeling like I have to wing it without knowing what’s going to come out when I say something. I have to trust myself, and that’s even harder than trusting God or McT. I have to trust that I won’t blurt out something stupid or obscene, or that I won’t say something that goes against what I believe or that dishonors God in some way.

I learned early on that I couldn’t trust my own reality, something that’s common amongst abuse survivors, because no one believed anything I told them. Plus Harry forced us to lie about what he was doing to us.

There’s a certain point at which someone who is forced to lie all the time begins to believe that the lies she’s telling are actually true. I think that happened to me, and was probably at least partly why I repressed the truth and remembered the lies. I couldn’t have survived otherwise.

But now that I’ve experienced so much healing at the Hand of God, I’m beginning to learn that I can trust myself and my reality. It’s been a hard lesson to learn, even harder than learning to trust God. I’ve always had the Bible to show me I can trust God, but I’ve never had anything on which to base any ability to trust myself, other than just… myself. Which didn’t make me feel confident at all. I mean, I wasn’t able to trust myself before, so why would I trust myself now? And no one else trusted me, so why would I trust myself?

However, as I’ve gotten stronger and more and more healed, I’ve grown more and more confident. And I’ve learned that my voice is worthy of being heard, and that I no longer have to remain silent. I can trust that what I have to say is just as meaningful and useful as anyone else’s message, because I have God on my side, and He will always come first.

It’s taken me over a week to write this post. I started on June 9th, and I’m almost ready to publish it today, nine days later. It’s evolved through a number of topics ~ as I thought it would ~ and in the process I feel like my brain has flown back into the coup.

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. ~ James 1:17, KJV.

God is not a man, so he does not lie. He is not human, so he does not change his mind. Has he ever spoken and failed to act? Has he ever promised and not carried it through? ~ Numbers 23:19, NLT.

Trust is a big thing for me. It has to be earned, and I’ve tried hard to earn the right to trust myself. I’ve tried hard to earn the right for God to trust me, if you can do that. I hope you can, because I desire that God would trust me above all else.

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. ~ Hebrews 11:6, NKJV.