Henjai Kagoshi from Osaka has invented a special set of duster slippers for cats. The miniature shoes with dusters on the end are strapped to cat’s paws, after which the cat is left to roam the house, inadvertently dusting as it goes. “For a more thorough dust I prod my cat with rolled up newspaper. That makes it go faster and get into all the corners. When it comes to a full-scale clean-up, however, I release a few mice. The cat goes berserk and the place is soon shining like new”.
It seems, however, that many of us don’t want a spring clean of our homes or work place. In one survey, forty percent said their messy desk drove them mad but they couldn’t be bothered to do anything about it. It’s perhaps more likely that it’s other people’s space, or even other people’s lives, that we’d like to get our tidying hands on. The disarray of their environment or the chaotic state of their relationships or their diary upsets us. We allow it to irritate us so much that we’d love to be a cat with dusters zooming through their life sorting them out.
One of the hardest types of loving is to let people be themselves. They may ask for our view of how their lives could be improved or our opinion on their situation. Sometimes it may be right to offer unsolicited advice to a friend, especially if their behaviour is giving others problems. In the end, though, people are responsible for themselves.
If invited, God’s happy to be let loose in our lives, helping us get things sorted, but God respects our freedom to choose. Perhaps also in our loving, we should keep our dusters to ourselves until any offer to help has been accepted. Not everyone wants other people dashing around their lives or their relationships doing spring cleaning.
Read: They called to the blind man…. he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus. “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him. (Mark 10:49-51)
Rejoice: in those who let us express our needs and respond appropriately.
Reflect: what is my normal reaction when I’m offered support and help.
Remember: we’re free to accept or reject offered help.
Resolve: when I’m trying to help someone, to take note of their wishes.