Thursday, 11 February 2016

Lessons from Cats by Deborah Jenkins

It's windy today - a crazy dance of gust, cloud and rain on wood. And we have the world's first tidal lawn, its ebb and flow of unmown green frilled with bursts of sunshine. At school today, the children will be cartwheeling around the playground, jumping on top of each other, and screaming, mad as cats. But I am at home, with a mad cat. He's jumping on the side, pawing me through the banisters or careering across the lawn fighting ghosts. Then he's back, knocking at the door to be let in.

What is it with the wind? Children and animals are wild with it. It fills them, excites them. Something is going to happen. The same wind. with the power to make kites soar, yachts race and windmills turn, can also make us crazy.

It strikes me that I do not need the wind to behave like this. Sometimes I'm so sure what God wants me to do with my writing. I'm filled with a sense of purpose and, despite the odd Facebook peek or email, I'm generally committed to getting on with it. Sometimes the busier I am, the more I get written, taking my little chunks of time and filling them with sixty seconds worth of writing done. Because I know what I'm aiming for and I sort of know how to get there.

But, in writing, like in life, there are times when I just don't know what to do. I thought I was going in one direction but that doesn't work out, and I seem to be taken somewhere else. I agonise and I lurch from one plan to another, ideas cartwheeling around my brain (usually at night), screaming and jumping on top of one another, mad as cats. Often at these times, I forget to talk it all over with the One I believe I'm doing it all for. I assume an offer of paid work is the right things to do or a rejection a sign I should move on. Then, despairing, I'm back, knocking at heaven's door. What shall I do, Lord?

There are times when it's good to just sit awhile. Stop fighting ghosts. Look away from the wind and rain and the tidal waves. Sit and watch, with the One who makes cloud and sun and rain on wood, allows success and failure; commissions and rejections; fertile times and fallow times, often for reasons other than the ones we see. "The refining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold." Prov. 17:3.

In due time, the same wind which made us crazy will bring us peace. And a sense of direction will return, giving us back that old excitement. And we'll start to run and shout and hug ourselves with glee. Something is going to happen.

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Deborah Jenkins is a primary school teacher and freelance writer who has written articles, text books, devotional notes and short stories. She has completed a novella, The Evenness of Things, available as an Amazon e-book and is currently working on a full length novel. Deborah loves hats, trees and small children. After years overseas with her family, who are now grown up, she lives in south-west London with her husband, a Baptist minister, and a cat called Oliver.


  1. This is terrific, Deborah. Thank you!

  2. Fantastic post. Very encouraging. You are right I need to just sit with God for a while, when thoughts are swirling around me like mad wind and mad cats.

    1. When I remember to do that it always helps me. Thanks Lynda :)

  3. Thanks Deborah. I need that too right now. Nice to see the picture found a story it fits perfectly.

    1. Yes, you inspired me Mad Lamb! Thank you :)

  4. Great post as always. It really spoke to me today

  5. I so needed to read exactly this, because it sums it all up for me at this particular time. I am going to read it again!!

  6. That's a lovely post. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting Anne :)

  7. I love the anticipation 'something is going to happen'. Thanks!

  8. Believing in "the impossible" is always an inspiration to me too, if I remember to do it! Thanks Mandy :)

  9. The first competition I ever won was years back with a poem about what the wind did to playgrounds of children. I'd forgotten about that poem until you reminded me! Here it is. Looking back at it, the other entries can't have been up to much, but I'm fond of it for nostalgic reasons ...


    Someone told me that
    in March
    when gusts and strong winds
    whip around
    disarraying Nature
    children cheek their
    punch their friends and
    taunt the weakest
    climb illegal walls
    fall over more
    and do damage
    then, as things calm
    they sigh back to work
    scrape their chairs less
    and close their desks
    more quietly.

    I felt better
    when someone told me this
    in March
    blustery weather
    rearranges me
    and my nerves are
    not just on edge
    but over it.
    Out walking
    I am angry
    at no-one in particular
    and I fling my scarf
    back in position
    and curse nothing.
    To slam a desktop
    sounds just right

    I have M.A.D
    March Affective Disorder
    And the cure
    Is not March's rough uninvited polka
    But April's warm slow dance

  10. Thanks for the reminder of the need to sit still sometimes - I often feel my life is a constant whirl of busyness, and if I don't stop to rest in God's presence, I lose sight of what really matters.

  11. Oh yes, Deborah - to sit and rest and wait for Holy Spirit to blow in our minds and hearts and say 'Move'. Mad March winds are one thing but being able to be stirred by God's word is another. May He enlighten and enliven our thoughts and indicate just when we need to write/press publish/think/pray. Great post. Thank you! :) x