This I Believe

Deanna - Little Rock, Arkansas
Entered on February 20, 2009
Age Group: 30 - 50

A basket about five inches square and four inches deep sits on my entry table to corral the mail. When there is no mail in the basket—and often when there is—I find my overweight, geriatric cat Murphy snoozing away, nestled into the wicker with his fat and fluff spilling out over the sides like a big furry muffin that has expanded beyond the confines of the tin. Most days I simply pluck Murphy out of the basket and shoo him away. This morning, however, I paused for just a moment and realized that the big fur ball is inspiring. In fact, I believe I could learn a lot from my cat.

When I look at the little basket and the almost twenty-pound cat side-by-side, logic demands that he simply does not fit. But he maneuvers and squeezes and shifts and curls until he is fully satisfied. By the time he starts purring, even I’m convinced he’s comfortable. As he drifts off to sleep with a slight smirk beneath his whiskers, I imagine he is laughing at me for thinking this feat was impossible.

I don’t know why his determination surprises me. Murphy always goes after whatever he wants—and he usually wants bacon. He doesn’t just hop onto the kitchen counter and grab a slice, hoping not to get caught. He watches. He waits. He channels his inner jungle cat, stalking strips of salty pork instead of live prey. Finally, the phone ringing or the last-minute scramble to get the kids out the door demands my attention, and Murphy pounces. I let him take his bacon and enjoy it. I figure such a display of patience deserves some reward.

Of course, my approval means nothing to him. Murphy doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. Sure, his fur is starting to come in gray and he’s the fattest cat on the block, but he still saunters around like he’s the King of Suburbia. And he naps. Oh, does he nap. After all, chasing laser pointers and washing behind your ears all day is exhausting. Proper rest is crucial to prepare for the next bacon hunt.

So how does a fat cat with a tummy full of bacon who crams himself into a basket for a nap inspire me? Well, I think about the tiny baskets in my own life: going to medical school, writing a book, traveling the world. If I were Murphy, I wouldn’t think twice about whether or not it seems like I could make those dreams a reality. I would simply wiggle and twist and adjust until I fit into the basket, cozy and content. I would be determined to reach my goals, even if I had to be patient. I would watch and wait, prepared to pounce when an opportunity presented itself. I wouldn’t listen to the naysayers or base my self-esteem on what others said or thought. But most importantly, when fitting into baskets, stalking bacon, and the business of day-to-day living exhausted me, I would take a nap.