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  • Writer's pictureJulie Gross

Windows

Windows . . . Did the title make you think, “What the heck, Julie? You’re going to write a blog post on windows? Why would I want to read that?” But give me the benefit of the doubt. This entertaining post is going to be filled with cat stories, delightful descriptions of felines stalking birds, and hopefully a meaningful analogy.


So here we go! The idea for this post came to me today as I was sitting on the couch in my living room, facing the front window and the television. I was typing away at my laptop, and my husband, Geoff, was sitting in his easy chair, which has a great view of the deck on the back of the house.


I have to back up a moment to explain the new addition to our deck. Geoff had been talking about getting a bird feeder for months, and one day this summer he made a point of taking me to a new store in town to buy a bird feeder and bird seed. He was actually pretty cute, looking at all of the options for bird feeders, talking about how he hoped to see cardinals and orioles and other colorful birds enjoying a snack on our deck. We settled on a mid-range bird feeder, nothing too expensive and fancy, but not a $5 plastic tube, either. I did not realize that feeding birds is not a small investment, and I also did not realize that the saying, “she eats like a bird” really is not a compliment. These birds are burning through the bird seed like they’re starving.


Anyway, we purchased a bird feeder, and then Geoff screwed it to the top of the deck railing. My aunt told me we should have hung the feeder, but Geoff had his mind made up about where he wanted it. Almost immediately, we had birds eating our bird seed! We mostly have sparrows and finches, but we also get mourning doves and black birds. We’ve had some pretty little yellow finches and some with red heads–it really is a lot more fun than I thought it would be to watch them gorge themselves on our sunflower seeds and corn.


However, Geoff and I are not the only ones in our household who enjoy gazing out the sliding glass doors at the tiny winged creatures. We have two cats, Cali and Leo, who also enjoy bird watching. Let me introduce you to my cats, so you can picture them in your mind. Leo is a thirteen-year-old orange male shorthair with a thyroid problem. He used to weigh over fourteen pounds, but his hyperthyroidism has stripped him of almost five of those pounds. Leo is a lover, and enjoys cuddling with me, nuzzling his head against my shoulder and reaching his paw up to touch my chin. He has behaviors similar to dogs in that he likes to drink out of the toilet, he likes to beg for and eat people food, and he sometimes plays with a bouncy ball.


Cali is a different sort of a beast. She is about eight or nine years old, and we were her fourth home. We were told that she and her litter mates were found in a box by the lake in the middle of winter, and most of her siblings did not make it, so Cali is a survivor. The owner who gave us Cali described her as “sassy,” and that description makes me laugh now. She didn’t mean “sassy”; she meant “nasty” or “awful” or “mean,” but she knew that no one would take a cat who is described with those terms, so well-done previous owner! Cali loves my youngest son, Jamison, and now that he isn’t living at home, she has decided she loves me too, most of the time. When she came to us, she weighed in at about six or eight pounds, and now she’s around ten or eleven pounds. She’s just fluffy! She’s a short-haired tortoise shell, and she really is beautiful.


Now, I’ve set the scene, so let me tell you about my little hunters. The cats love to sit and watch the birds, and they sometimes make the strange little chirping sound that signals that they are stalking their prey. It’s fun to watch them when they lay close to the ground, eyes focused on a bird just on the other side of the glass doors, wiggling their back end and chirping away as they stalk a bird they will never catch.


Today, as Geoff and I were sitting in the living room, I heard a small thud or a thump against the window, so I glanced over at Geoff who was looking out the window at the deck. Before I could ask him if it was a bird who flew into the window, I heard the chirping sound and then another larger thud. My eyes grew big, and I asked Geoff, “Was that Cali?”


He smiled and nodded his head. He said that she didn’t hit the glass head on, but she stalked the bird from an angle and pounced at the window, banging her head slightly and bouncing off the glass. She’s fine, so you can all relax. As I write this post, she’s sitting very contentedly on a pillow on my lap behind my laptop. There are no lasting injuries.


After all of this transpired, I wondered to myself what makes birds fly into windows or glass doors? I’ve always heard that they can’t see through the glass clearly; they see a reflection instead. So the birds that are flying and hit glass doors and windows think that they are just continuing their flight path. Cali, on the other hand, wasn’t confused by a reflection; she saw a bird on the other side of the glass, and she just forgot that the glass was a barrier between her and her prey.


So here comes the analogy. Are you ready for this? Sometimes as humans, I think we’re like the bird, but other times, we are like the cat. Sometimes we allow things in our lives to distract us and confuse us, causing us to get off track and sometimes even crash and burn! For me, I see many things that are shiny and reflective that make me think I’m just continuing on my regular course, but that actually turn out to be a window in my face. Facebook and other social media can take me off course and cause me to waste hours, which takes time away from other more important tasks. In my head, I think, “Oh, I’ll just scroll through Facebook for ten or fifteen minutes, and then I’ll get back to washing dishes or folding laundry,” but forty-five minutes later, I’m angry with myself because I was drawn off course. Facebook and social media aren’t bad in and of themselves, but when I waste time that I should be using for other things, it’s not the best choice. I’m just like the bird flying into the window and realizing too late that the reflection of something good was not real.


Now, like Cali, there are times when I know there’s a barrier between myself and what I think I want on the other side of the barrier, but I just forget, and I bang my head. My two sons are adults now; one just turned 24 and one will be 22 soon. Sometimes I just forget that they are grown ups, and I treat them like children. As a mom, I really do try to let them live their lives and make their own decisions, but there are times I say, “Don’t forget to say thank you,” or, “Don’t forget to lock your door at night,” or something along those lines, and I usually realize after I say them that they are not necessary. I see the end result on the other side of the window, my children making good decisions and being successful, but the barrier is that they are adults and need to make their own decisions, so I need to be mindful of that. Sometimes it’s just hard to see them as adults when I can still picture them at two and four: Jamison with his white-blond hair and blue eyes that sparkled with mischief, and Garrison with his thick brown hair and sweet, honest smile. How can they be in their twenties? Wow!


So what do we do to not hit the window like the bird or the cat? I think the answer is just in being more cognizant of our choices. Personally, I need to watch for those window-like reflections that can confuse me and pull me away from the correct course. On the other side of the window, like Cali, I need to pay attention to the barrier that I forget about, and I need to realize that my boys are amazing, and they don’t need my help like they did when they were young.


Keeping my focus on God will help me in these areas, and it brings a couple of verses to mind: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV Okay, so I am not a runner, but I still love these verses! I love the idea of throwing off those things that get in the way of my relationship with God; “throw” is a great action verb! I also like the idea of “fixing” my eyes on Jesus–there’s another great action verb! It doesn’t just say to “look” at Jesus or “glance” at Him; to me this word means stability and permanence. I really need to focus wholeheartedly on my God!


Life in my house is always pretty darn exciting. I mean, doesn’t everyone find bird watching and cat watching thrilling? Well, I hope I kept your attention, and I hope my analogy made sense to you. Just for fun, here is a picture of my cats!




Thanks for reading, friends!


Love,

Julie


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