Even the cat

Sometimes life in this world feels like too much.  Too much hate, too much disease, too much hunger, too much killing, too much bad news, too much sadness; too much negative and not enough positive.  Sometimes I just want to crawl under a blanket and cover my head.

I know I’ve reached that point when I look at my pets, and I imagine that even my cat needs an escape when she lies down on the floor and covers her eyes.  Except, she lounges there, oblivious to the atrocities and tragedies that lurk outside her sliding glass door and beyond her fenced-in yard.

Most times when I look at any of the three furry members of my family, I smile and feel a surge of love (unless it’s confronting one — or all 3 — to ask “who did it?”). Today, as I watched the eldest, Miss Coco, squirming around on the sunny floor trying to find the most comfortable position, I thought “You are so lucky.”

Yes, we adopted her and spoil her rotten like the princess she is — all our furry family is spoiled, but Coco is the only dignitary among them. They are lucky to have a loving, caring family, and a safe home and plenty of healthy food.  We are even luckier to be their guardians.

She is lucky. I fervently hope that she has forgotten the hardships and the illness she lived through in her first years, and only recalls being loved since.

Today, I envied her as she basked in the sunshine, covering her eyes with a paw. I thought “You are so lucky you don’t have a clue about what’s going on out there in the world beyond your fence.” I envied her ignorance. What does a cat need with all the human follies and atrocities? I wished I could be as clueless as she. I wanted to be picked up and cradled, petted gently til I fell asleep. I wanted to sit by a cozy, warm fireplace without a care as to the outside world.

But even the cat needs to shield her eyes once in a while from the outside streaming in to her home.

I can’t shield my eyes, nor my ears — and certainly not my heart — from the disasters we hear about in the world, and the atrocities we see within our own borders. I might try — how can something miles away hit so close to home, and hurt and scare us so much? Eventually, we need to open ourselves, because we won’t get anywhere staying insulated; pretending we don’t know; blind and deaf to others’ needs.

If we close ourselves off to the dreadful, we can’t see the beautiful. And it’s there. But you have to look and listen.

So although I may envy Miss Coco for her bliss, I know I have a responsibility to the rest of my family, to my community, to my country, and even to the world to bear witness. To engage when I see a wrong; to do what I can to help in whatever ways I am able.

Sometimes it doesn’t seem to help:  I’m just one, single drop in a bucket.

And I want to shield my eyes from the desperate thought “it’s not enough.”

Sometimes I fail to help, and I want to hide in shame from my own shortsightedness.

But I know that bucket will fill — maybe even overflow — with the combined goodness of many of us. And that WILL make a difference. It always has. It always will.

Our hearts break when we hear of a terror attack, of senseless tragedy, of evil making itself known. It doesn’t matter who has perpetrated the act: our collective souls ache for the victims, whether we know them or not.  That is our humanity.

You can’t deny the pain, you can’t ignore the facts. Not if you want to remain human.

Evil is part of our world. I wish it wasn’t so. I wish so hard…

But there is greater beauty — and it can

I find that beauty at home in the lithe movements of my cats as they stretch their furry bodies after a nap in the sun; in the happy bounding of my dog after something so simple as a stick thrown across the yard; I find it in my son’s face when we Skype once a week to catch up; and I forever find it in the hearts of the brave, good, and kind people I meet in this life.

Maybe I’m the lucky one after all.Until Friday, Friends.