Cat Litter and the Power of Showing Up

June 27, 2012 — 3 Comments

We have two Siamese cats. They are the sweetest pets imaginable.

But, like all pets, they produce some things that aren’t very sweet. Fortunately, we have a bathroom in our basement with linoleum flooring that we hardly use. It’s the perfect space for a litter box.

Even still, I manage to find excuses for not going near the litter, although cleaning it is one of my responsibilities. Typically, I avoid the task of digging for buried cat treasure as much as possible. If I’m lucky, after waiting long enough, Sara can’t take it any more and she cleans out the box.

This chore isn’t so bad if I do it every day. Done regularly, it takes no more than 90 seconds. However, it usually is a 5-10 minute task for me because I let the litter box fill up. Since I’m unloading so much at any given time, I fill up my trashcan probably once every three times I empty the box.

But I don’t like taking out the trash either. So I wait too long for that, too.

Litter box disaster

This last week while Sara was with family, I received my comeuppance.

I had waited too long. The trash bag couldn’t hold everything I had put inside of it. The contents spilled in the worst possible place – on our new carpet in the stairwell. It took me forever to clean it all. There might still be a lingering smell, but I’m not positive. My nose maybe has just gotten used to the smell.

None of this would have been an issue if I had just shown up more regularly.

A 90 second daily task became a smelly 40-minute hassle. I’ve noticed that cat litter isn’t the only part of my life that’s like this. Other mundane things like shaving and mowing the lawn are similar. The longer I wait, the more difficult it becomes to complete that task.

So many of the big dreams in life are accomplished simply by showing up. It’s such a simple thing, and yet it is often so hard to do. But think of what’s at stake:


Through the daily decision to pause, you can read the Bible in a year.

Through the daily decision to write, you can complete a book manuscript in a year.

Through the daily decision to exercise, you can get in your best shape ever.

Through the daily decision to save, you can retire with dignity.

Through the daily decision to engage, you can be an all-star parent.


You get the idea. Showing up every day can change your life.

Where do you need to show up? Are there any parts of your life that are like my kitty litter trash bag, about to explode and unleash a load of junk that will be a pain to clean up? How can you make a conscious effort to show up for one more thing today? What would be the benefit of showing up? What cost might there be?


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  • The Nietos

    Well Austin, this is like reading a page in the Nieto life 🙂 We have a cat litter box and a lawn, both of which are Mike’s responsibilities, and Mike has discovered that “clumping” litter buys him more time and our local wild bunny rabbits try desperately to “mow” our lawn for him. We appreciate your thoughts about taking time to show up, very, very true in so many areas of life! We hope you, Sarah, and Lylah are well!! The Nietos

    • Isn’t amazing to hear the excuses we come up with to procrastinate just a little longer? Clumping cat litter definitely is a life saver! Although, our lawn doesn’t have rabbits to keep it from going to seed when I wait too long to mow it. Such are the challenges of families in ministry!

  • scrhill

    Thanks for this great reminder to show up every day.