The Persevering Dustmop
by Janice Price
As I talked on the telephone to a friend in Arizona, Merci suddenly trotted past, legs pumping in reverse, dusting the living room floor with Cameron. Around the television set and through the bedroom door she sped. She nearly made it to her den before I could find my voice.
Immediately, she released Cameron’s neck. It was all I could do not to laugh. Merci surrounds her bed with her favorite toys, and since they were roughhousing, she was merely moving her newest toy into her den.
Merci is a short dog and when I began writing this story, Cameron was a three-month-old kitten. When Merci picked him up by the nape of his neck to carry him, Cameron became an unwitting dust mop. Cameron didn’t appear to mind, but I did. He’s not the type of toy I am constantly telling Merci she should keep out from under my feet. Nor is he the type of toy I bring home from the dollar store. This toy moved in on his own, perhaps invited by Merci.
Cameron was one of five kittens born to the neighbor’s cat. For weeks, I couldn’t walk Merci near the neighbor’s house without the dog begging to visit the mother and kittens on the front porch. She was disappointed each time a kitten disappeared to a new home. Cameron was to remain as a companion to his mother, but she began to wander and Cameron was alone much of the time.
He started sleeping in a flowerpot on my porch and following Merci on our morning walks. One day he begged to come inside. Merci was so excited she jumped up and down, practically stomping Cameron under her feet. My cats’ hissing and growling spoke clearly that Cameron wasn’t welcome. He left with alacrity when I opened the door.
Still, one day he walked in with his friend Merci, climbed onto the dryer and lay down in front of the food and water bowls, where the other cats had to climb over him to eat and drink. That certainly raised the noise level around here, but he stuck it out, until one by one over the course of several weeks the other cats accepted his presence.
I carried him home several times. He returned, staring through the screen door with such sad eyes, I would relent and open the door to let him back inside. When his mother came into the yard, I thought he might return home with her. They chased each other around a bush a few times before Cameron ran to the back door. Then he returned to his mother, rubbed his nose against her nose in farewell, and raced up the steps after me. A few days later, I spoke to my neighbor and Cameron officially became Merci’s companion, playmate and dust mop.
I like Cameron’s spirit. Kittens might not be able to reason as humans do, but animals are not dumb. With winter approaching, Cameron determined to move indoors and he didn’t let anything stop him from reaching that goal, not even persecution from the cats already in residence.
I found this half-written story this evening, at a time I really need to be reminded of the value of persevering, even when a goal appears to be so far out of reach as to be unattainable. It brings to mind the story of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-5. God’s heart is more tender toward his children than mine was toward Cameron.
Merci is still dusting the floors with her kitten friend Cameron, and I’m inspired by Cameron’s persistence to hang on to my own goal. After all these years, God must be tired of hearing me ask the same question. One of these days he will answer and I don’t want to miss his solution because I grew discouraged and stopped trying.
Cameron, the persevering dust mop, didn’t quit and he’s curled up next to the keyboard helping me type this. He’s young and he can’t spell, but his perseverance encourages me. I hope it will encourage you.
© 2005 Janice Price