|Him Kitty napping in the sun/Tad Barney|
Soooo not the morning I expected, yet I think I was open to it. Open being the key word here. Maybe open and present.
I was jarringly awakened with my chest pounding. Thankfully, it was 5:40 am, much later than I had expected. My alarm was set for 6 and I soon heard the comforting sounds of my oldest closing the bathroom door, then flushing. It used to annoy me, now I embrace it.
I was reminded of Sunday in worship just how comforting my children have always been to me; not, of course, that that is their main function in life. They certainly have their imperfect moments, illiciting comments I’d rather not repeat here. When I ambled into worship, then, too, my chest was pounding. I asked God for peace in that hour. No sooner was it off my heart then I felt the whirlwind of nearby activity (my eyes were closed) settling as each of my daughters took a seat beside me – bookends. And I felt great and deep peace.
The residue of worship must still be with me as I lolled in bed another 15 minutes, sat up to gently stretch and realized I’d experienced a solid night’s sleep. A little more alert this morning, I descended the stairs, debating whether there was time to make coffee before I swept the kids to the bus and hit the pool. While I was measuring the coffee, the girls announced that the cat was having a “spaz” attack. By the time I could turn around to look, he was still and staring into space, his typical past-time at the ripe old age of 18. Then I noticed the puddles and my heart fluttered. I have been dreading this furry friend’s imminent end. He has weathered thick and thin with me. Three years ago we thought he was a gonner after surviving what we believe was a stroke. Him Kitty made a strong comeback: his constant circling to the right and occasional staring at the fridge, the only tell-tale signs.
I cleaned up the mess, grabbed an old towel and cuddled him in it. He purred, which signaled things were ok. I whisked the girls out the door and returned to Him Kitty napping in the bay window. Nothing unusual. Before heading to my studio, I asked my husband to bring up a litter box up in case the cat couldn’t manage the basement stairs. I was finally out the door when the unearthly distress cry cats make made me drop my wallet, keys and laptop. My instinct was to return to the living room, but I had just checked that cat and the noise was outside. I looked and saw our other indoor cat staring out the porch door at our adopted outdoor cat wrestling in the bushes. “OMG, the groundhog’s got him,” I thought. I went closer and saw there was only one animal and no struggle. Patches was experiencing a seizure. Tad had seen it once before and almost gave him mouth-to-mouth. I spoke soothingly to Patches to let him know I was there and perched on the edge of the deck as his white-with-black body thrashed in the brush and branches. It broke my heart. I prayed and began to weep. He sensed me there and I spoke again, softly, telling him not to worry about me. A few long, excruciating minutes and he was up, at my hand nudging to be petted … as if business as usual. Except that my heart was ripped to shreds.
I have been struggling with my own resiliency only to witness the suffering of these two cats. It’s really made me ponder how our society treats usefulness. I instinctively knew to tend to these creatures, maybe only accompanying them as they suffered. God was responding through me and, perhaps, I complied because I was opened and present this morning. Maybe it was the worship experience or the fact I’ve been bumbling through a fibro flare-up and empathetic.
However, I am beginning to think it’s because I have been faithful in doing something my heart has desired for a VERY long time: offer spiritual-nurture classes in my studio. What I affectionately call my Turtlebox group. Our first three sessions have been on pain as teacher, opening to the Divine and deep connection. I can’t teach what I don’t know so, in prepping for these, I have explored all of those in myself and opened some wounds.
After a wonderfully long run of high energy and low pain – enough to get Artsy Farsty, a non-profit art exploration for under-served, local kids launched – I hit a blip and, I freely admit, sank into some self pity, whining and yelling at God.
Perhaps, if I take the example of these two cats, I can pick myself up and carry on. I may have a little pee on my tail or dirt on my coat, but I can look at those as badges of survival and carry their wisdom with me … out into the world.
• What has opened me recently?
• What affect do children and animals have in opening me?
• How have they been a comfort?
• What have they taught me?
• How can I carry their wisdom out into the world?
in the sun,
to the right
or staring for
what seems like
forever at the fridge
I know my Him
Kitty is all right
when I cuddle
him and he purrs
It’s our signal
Listen to this post: