What My Cat Taught Me About Rest from TheBlissfulPoet.com >> moderate minimalism, sabbath, rest, simple living, work at home moms, simplify

What My Cat Taught Me About Rest



My husband and I have a cat named Black Sabbath. She was his Christmas gift to me last year, and she has quickly settled into her role as our devilish but adorable fur-child.

We named her Black Sabbath because she’s been a shredder from the start. We tend to shorten her name to Sabbath (or Sabbie, Sabs, or  Sh*thead, because they’re all easier to say) which is funny, considering she’s the absolute antithesis of that about 80% of the time, thundering through the house like a newly-shod derby horse with all the grace of a coked-up rhino. I mean. She thunders. There’s no grace there. She’s even fallen off of the bed a few times, she likes to drink from the toilet if we don’t watch her, and she growls at the neighbors when they walk down the street. Sometimes I wonder if she’s actually a dog.

But other times, she lives up to her name. Sabbath is originally a Hebrew word meaning “to rest.” The word wove its way to the Greeks and then the Jews, who observe Saturday as the Sabbath, or day of rest. Then there’s the Shemittah, which is the year of rest that occurs every seven years. Those who observe the Shemittah — think farmers who allow their land to rest and renew, free of crops — yield more abundant fruit in the following years. Jewish tradition teaches that ignoring the much-needed year of rest is on par with cardinal sins such as murder, idolatry, and sexual immorality.

Stefan Sagmeister addressed a similar concept in his TED talk, “The Power of Time Off.” In it he describes his plan to shave five years off of his retirement to strategically place those “off” years throughout his career instead. Every seven years he takes one year off for rest, rejuvenation, and the opportunity to rethink his future. The effects on his well-being and creativity are astounding.

While I realize we don’t all have the luxury of taking a full year off from our work, especially when there are mouths to feed and bills to pay, we can’t ignore the importance of real and consistent rest in our daily routines. We are so overworked and undernourished creatively. We’re so plugged in to technology that our eyes (let alone our minds) have no time to recover.

Matthew 6: 25-26

This morning, Black Sabbath perched herself on the edge of our dining room table where I work each day. She had a stare down with a bright, fat robin who likes to feast on the peanut butter seed cakes from the haning feeder. Eventually she began the soft chatter — almost inaudible — of a bird-rapt cat, her whiskers twinging with that carnal want: the need to hunt.

After the bird flew off to bigger and better things, Sabbie slid behind the Mason jars above our kitchen sink and nestled perfectly in the nook of our kitchen window box to watch the squirrels feed on what was left of the seeds. I had to stop and admire her ability to just be. I know she’s a cat, and I know she doesn’t have crippling debt or love handles to get rid of. But she is a life — a living, breathing, warm life, unhurried, unburdened, not striving for the next meal or the perfect spot on the couch (she always gets that anyway). She’s just alive: looking, breathing, and existing. And she’s okay.

black cats
She even likes to help me study. Just Kidding. She’s an attention whore.

Matthew said it like this: “There is far more to your life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the birds, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, careless in the care of God. And you count far more to him than birds” (6:25-26).

And we really do. Which is why it’s okay, why it’s necessary, to stop and rest regularly, to cut ourselves a break. What you do is very important, but I promise you the world will keep turning when you stop to breathe.

Do you find it hard to stop and rest? How have you made rest a priority in your life? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Less to More

    Sometimes everything seems to go at lightning speed. Great reminders to unplug, slow down, rest, and be still!

  2. Meghan

    It does sometimes. Good thing we have the choice to stop and rest for a while. Thanks for reading!

  3. deliciouslynell

    Rest is always important. And your cat is absolutely beautiful. 🙂

  4. Meghan

    Aw, thank you!

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