I love cats. There is just something clean and very delicate about them. I have even played a role of a veterinary cat midwife (or whatever conventional name there is) and help my kitty Lexie give birth a few times. There really is something fascinating to me about a whole cat family, about leopards, cheetahs and Lions…
What amuses me most about cats and possibly the whole entire animal kingdom however; is how much ‘play’ to them is a ‘practice’ to a crucial survival skill that whether they know it or not, will become the single most needed skill that their lives depended on. Lexie would run around with her kittens acting like some dangerous predator out to hunt them down, she would wrestle and bite, gripping them firmly at times even I would wonder if she might hurt them, yet the little kitten would wrestle to freedom certainly enjoying the challenge coming back all furred up, jump on her mother as if to tackle her down in what we onlookers call ‘play’, ah but in what I have surely understood to be practice! I have watched Lexie bring a live mouse to her kitties and just allow them the practice and pleasure of a kill. To Lexie and her kitties, this is their whole purpose of existence. To hunt or be hunted, it is a complete cycle of their being. In hunting they obtain their food, in being hunted, well, this is where survival skills come to show. Their ‘play’, as though carefully crafted in them from within is all about a practice for a survival of their very existence.
Humans however, in our conniving selfish ways will almost always find pleasure in twisting things. It is saddening what we have turned animals into, removing them from their natural environment and manufacturing them into our own little creations glorifying ourselves to be brilliant, or to seem modest about it, we call an animal with a habit we crafted unto them, very smart. It baffles me as to what is so smart about a lion confined in small gates, barely able to turn and allowed only a bigger space when in presence of an audience expecting it to play hula hoop. How ridiculous is it to lock up an elephant in a cage, spend so much time, energy, money and a torturous expense of pain to this grand animal, only to teach it to stand on one leg!
Allow me a paragraph of what spectacular truly looks like…It is a majestic lion grazing the vast lands of the Serengeti, ever calm, phenomenally patient, his presence exuding confidence that spills over to the grass already swaying with the wind as though in applaud. It is a hundred pound slim built cheetah in arid Africa that moves as though in slow motion, low in the grass, approaching from downwind magnificently focused before bursting into a sprint with a speed that is able to capture prey that no other animal is able to. These natural acts, these seemingly normal yet distinctly purposeful acts, is what has given the lion a title of a ‘king’ in all the major books of the world; it is what nations will travel across continents to witness. In sight and awareness of such, a lion hula hooping is a mockery!
When I deeply meditate upon the wondrous nature of the animal kingdom, the clarity of this similarity to the human race is baffling. We are all one way or the other gifted, a manifestation of which becomes vivid through our gifts and talents. Somewhere along our formative years of childhood this ‘play’ comes out, be it in the many books we cannot seem to stop reading, the awesome art we create ever so delicately, that sport we are so good at, that flair for percussion, the songs we cannot stop singing ever so uniquely, the eye for designs…there is always something all of us uniquely had and enjoyed doing in a time when we were oblivious of this world’s requirements and demands. We did those not because we were supposed to but because we wanted to, we loved to, it came easy, it was not work but ‘play’. Unbeknown to us this was meant to be ‘practice’.
Somewhere along the way, for most of us at least, this ‘play’ was yanked out of our paths and replaced with ‘appropriateness’ , it did not seem appropriate enough we were told, there is no future in that, it will not pay the bills or simply it was just not respectful enough in the eyes of those with a ‘say’ on our decisions. And so we turned, went for that said appropriate path that really did not come as easy as it should, that needed an extra struggle. Repulsing as it were, we hang on, looking forth for a little break or rest of some kind that came inform of a weekend or vacation, we hang on for it were engraved in our minds that life is a struggle. It always felt as though something was missing, something just did not sit right, somewhere along the way we became a lion that played hula hoop!
‘But to each one of us Grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift’.
– Ephesians 4. 7
We forget that in as much as there will always be an audience to whatever show we put forth, that we will have praise here and there stroking our egos for a counterfeit play we perform, all this will never come close to a spectacular original version of who we were truly created and purposed to be. Grace or should I say, favor was given accordingly, it was given in a measure of the gift. Grace and gifts go together. Simply put, remaining in the path of your ‘play’ you remain in a covering of favor.
‘A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men’
– Proverbs 18:16.
When you understand this you relax, you know you got what you got and it is uniquely precious. There is no need of wanting what someone else has because you clearly understand that you were not built to support it, nor can you make your message heard in any other manner different from which you were allowed and graced with. You will stop wishing you were a little taller, a little this a little more that, you would stop wishing for some feature you do not naturally posses. Oh honey, you are meant to sing, you do not need such big legs, yours is a voice, theirs could be the strength to walk distances, they need such feature, you don’t. You see, the purposeless of this generation bare two major problems, half are so focused on what others were gifted with, so much so that they want to become them, they compare and measure achievement and failure by reason of another humans status, they spend days and night practicing to become a counterfeit. The other half does not have a clue whether or not there are unique gifts in the first place.
Please be informed that we all have a message to convey, there is a distinct reason for your existence, this message is and will be measured and regulated by the one who sent us and non other, this message (the centre of which lies love) is the ‘purpose’ for which we came, we are sent here with a message for his people after which we return home. Our job is to share this message in the manner he chose to equip us with. For others, we can never hear this message unless it is kept in a song, when others until it is written, to others the message is conveyed in a dance; when others it is a healing hand of a doctor, to some a special skill of numbers while others the powerful word of a leader all of which function to move foward a bigger body. In the course of this, he would join two people that are meant to convey a similar message, that they may help one another at it, this defines a destined union of man and woman in marriage. It should terrify us to be anywhere outside his grace, outside a territory he intended for us to function in synchrony and accordance to his will, a territory outside this is a dangerous one.
A lion in his territory, deep in the wilderness will never decide to start stacking up gazelles just in case. He is certain of his might and ability. He is calm, sure and ever confident. You see it in its gaze; it is evident even in its walk. Yet when the same lion is captured, caged and taken into a different territory, where his food and all else is now controlled and at the mercy of a human, something shifts inside this mighty king as though broken and striped off its might. Now when hunger strikes, he shall walk in the direction in which a mare human held the food. Territory matters!!
‘Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly father feeds them. Are you not more of value than them?’… ‘Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more cloth you, O you of little faith’?… ‘For after all these things the gentiles seek, your heavenly father knows that you need all these things’.
– Mathew 6: 26, 30, 32.
I confess that there was a moment in time when I would read such verses and think, aye sir, what you are suggesting here is impossible for any sane hardworking human! …Today, they could never be more profound!
Could it be that he knew when you sing, oh when you sing, the uniqueness of your voice would be something the world cannot go without, you will convey a message of such value that they would pay for you to do just that? Could it be that you choose a dangerously wrong territory when you decided a cubical in accounts was all you should be in? Could it be that the favor we are meant to unlock is packaged in a manner which the worldly eyes most often overlook?
Grace O Grace, stay with me, forever leave me not!