It seems that once again, we have reached the time of year when we can
turn to each other and smile and share the words, "Welp.... we survived
another one!" Every year, one of the celebrations of Thanksgiving,
Christmas, and New Year's is the successful completion of another year,
and preparations to transition from one to the next. And so,
before I get, congratulations to all!
Naturally, part of the great annual celebration is the gift-rampage,
where we all run wildly out into the streets to buy gifts for each other
in a wild attept to outperform the previous year and to proclaim,
"Nuh-uh, I love YOU
more!" And I have to admit that once again,
despite my plans to the contrary, I have again found myself out in the
melee rather than carfully and gradually collecting gifts earlier in the
year. How many of us make that same promise every year, and every
year, find ourselves in that last minute celebration of chaos?
I was pleased with myself, this year, because I only fell to strolling
the mall for a few remaining gifts. In some strange way, I found
it a bit disappointing because there felt to be an odd shortage of
lights, music, and overall celebration. I couldn't help but notice
the number of vacancies and empty shops in the mall. One of the
most profound absentees was the calandar shop, which was nowhere to be
found. Perhaps the many empty stores might also explain how the
crowd seemed rather thinned. Even the site for kids to jump up
into Santa's lap, share their wish list, and get their picture taken
seemed to have been pushed off into a remote corner of the mall.
Feeling somewhat unfullfilled, I took my few bags of remaining gifts and
headed for the car. At least one thing was not missing - the child
crying while being hauled out to the car, presumably about getting
whatever over-priced shiny toy or gadget they saw in some store or
another. At first the child was hard to understand, but he was
clearly crying, "I want the kitty!" The poor little guy's anguish was
heart-breaking, but maybe not so much as his mother's response that he
was embarassing her. So, chewing on my tongue, I continued to
wander the parking lot, wondering just where I had left my car.
After finding my car and driving home, I found myself sitting in my
chair, cuddling my own kitty. I remembered one of my friends who
had recently lost her kitty, and while my own cat purred wildly, I
considered how lucky I am to have her, and how she has enriched my life
for so many years, knowing that there are likely to be very few
ahead. And at some level, I thought about the boy at the mall, and
his mother's angry "no, no, no." I felt badly for him, but at the
same time, I had to recognize that pets are a huge responsibility, and
he might have been 3 years old; hardly ready for the responsibilities.
Still, I continued to scratch my cat, who at this time was already fast
asleep on my lap. I couldn't help but think about all the money I
had just spent on cat food, earlier today, the frustration of being
woken up several times the previous night... for what, I still never
figured out. But then, it struck me. While it can be argued
that nearly all pets are here to provide us with love and companionship,
our feline freinds, or "felon friends" as we may think of them from time
to time, do far more than provide love. It seems to me that cats,
more than other pets, are trojan horses of a sort - they are gifts we
get from the Universe to challenge and test us....
While dogs are more known for their unconditional love, cats are
generally known as far more descriminating. The love of a cat is
more often earned, sometimes only after great efforts. Cats can be
more temperamental, and I've even known some cats to seem unforgiving in
I am sure that we can all find any number of entitled people who seem to
believe they should be loved and adored by everyone just because they
exist. They seem to be found in increasing numbers and
commonality. They are increasingly self-satisifed, and they are
increasingly rude. As we all know, Lord protect the person that
treats these people the same way they treat others. "You have to
love me, but I don't have to care about you one way or the other," seems
to be a proud mantra they share. I do not know how many of them
own cats, but I feel it is probably safe to assume that they treat their
cats with the same enigmatic one-sided love they share with
people. From there, it is hardly a great leap to conclude that the
cats probably view this behavior much the same was as the rest of us do;
with contempt and a certain dettached "whatever," as we turn and walk
The love of a cat is not a gift that resembles our "See? I love
more," that we seem to share. A cat's love is a reward,
perhaps a "Well done, good and faithful servent."
Returning for the moment to our little boy in the parking lot, "I want
the kitty!" I have to chuckle and how that resembles the human need to
find love and acceptance from the people around us. The love of a
kitty resembles goals and achievements in our lives. More
importantly, it resembles the reward of dedication and diligent work,
not the freely-given "participation" award that seems to placate the
feeble hearts and minds of our entitled neighbors.
But there is a deeper level to this, as well. Personally, I have
found this past year has brought me a lot of cold "no"s such as what our
little friend was hearing from his mother. As many of us know, but
perhaps do not understand, we face the word "no" many times in a single
day. Every goal, every wish, every dream that we reach for
requires us to test our reach. The simple goals are easily within
reach, and they bring us a small amount of joy as we reach them.
It is often sad how many people choose to only reach these small goals,
and consider that to be a success. I am priviledged, I suppose,
because my life is full of people who are not so easily satisfied.
I am surrounded by people who strive for higher goals and higher
expectations from life. These are the people who reach for things
that are out of their reach, but do not give up. They (We) push
and fight and struggle to reach prizes that others simply stare at with
the cold dismissal, "That's too far." And when we do finally reach
our prizes, the joy and satisfaction surpasses the dreams of those
entitled fools that failed by not even bothering to try.
And here, my cat is stretching out on my lap, purring to a
near-roar. Or perhaps she is mixing a purr with a snore, it is a
little difficult to tell, sometimes. For the few people that have
met her, she is a very friendly kitty, but like other cats, she will not
be shy to let a person know when she does not like someone. And I
laugh aloud at those occasional times where she is clearly is trying to
mother me. Most recently, she has started trying to make sure I am
not cold - she will come get me and meow and beg me to follow her to a
place she knows is warm, largely because she abandoned that place to
come find me. It amuses me that she feels it necessary to "take
care of me," but again, it shows a kind of love that we all should be so
lucky to find... or earn.
"I want the kitty!"
Yes, of course you do. We all do.
My Christmas wish for us all is that we all find a "kitty" to love, and
that we all find that "kitty" loves us, as well.