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A GPS of anxiety and love

Charis Weathers

Daisy is six years old. I became her guardian when she was seven months old.  Our first and second apartments were on the third floor, so I got her a tall cat tree from which she could look down onto the world below. My current place is a townhome. Daisy has never been this close to the "real" world before. Deer, squirrels, other cats, and an occasional pair of chihuahuas come into the yard on a regular basis. I watch her whole body respond, "I want to be out there, I want to be out there, I want to be out there." 

Just about every time any door is open she is trying to get out. She'll sit for hours on a windowsill, sniffing the air, tail bristling when a next door tom mocks her imprisonment. She loves to scratch furniture but inexplicably -- and gratefully -- she has not tried to ruin the window screens, the thin, weak barrier between her and the great, wide world of scents, textures, companionship and competition. 

Daisy.jpg

I'm overprotective. I'm fearful. If only she could be like other cats who could care less if they're outside or not. I have friends who have cats that don't even go near outside doors. And I have friends who allow their cats who come and go as they please, neither cat nor human particularly fussed or agitated about the perils of the outdoors....then there's me.

Granted, I have friends who passed up having sushi with Brandi Carlisle because their puppy was howling so mournfully in its crate at home. So I don't think I'm alone in my near-neurotic concern for my cat. My friend's puppy howls with soulful bellows, and Daisy looks longingly outside, hoping, waiting, begging for freedom. It crushes me.

I believe it's true that God knows where each of us is at every moment. But I'm not God, so today I ordered a GPS tracker for Daisy. 

I realize I risk ridicule with this admission.  I also realize I risk the wrath of bird lovers, and veterinarians who say that outdoor cats will not live as long as indoor ones. I know. Sigh, I know.

This love that protects, though, also wants her to be free. With limits. With some  controls. 

Daisy surely will prefer to be outside without the gadget on her little body. I would, too. I want freedom to be total. For if the freedom isn't total, then it's not freedom, right?

It would seem so, but I'm not so sure. If I were a surgeon I'd want the freedom to practice surgery, but in the beginning I'd feel freer if there was someone there watching me, ready to catch my mistakes and offer life-saving suggestions. The same would be true for a factory job, an accountant, anyone who works with toxic materials. 

Until we know how to be free, until we know how to function safely in our freedom, then the controls actually make us freer. Freer to fail. Freer to try new things. Freer to go slowly. 

If it's too controlled, though, then freedom is never achieved. When the boss never lets you work on your own, or time constraints are so tight that creativity is eradicated just so the tasks can get done. There are lines to this whole freedom thing.

The whole "free will" theological debate has certainly been argued up one side and down the other for centuries. Millenia. I'm not exactly sure how God's love and human freedom work together, but I'm trusting that somehow they work together for humanity's good - for us to experience freedom, yet within some controls. I want waaay more control from God many days. Way. More. And I know that if there was more then I would chafe more.

As Daisy wanders the neighborhood in her new GPS-laden harness next week, I'm going to be nervous. But my love lets her roam. Now if only I could program her not to eat other, smaller creatures...