Can I tell you a secret?
I already told the cats, and they all agreed that I’m safe sharing it with you.
Here goes. I’m Tabby’s Place’s Development Director (although I prefer Flipper of Fundraising Flapjacks)…and I’m not so sure about #GivingTuesday.
Please don’t misunderstand me. (While you’re at it, please don’t get me fired.)
This young holiday is heartfelt and well intentioned, a rebel candle after the neon lights of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It’s a reminder of What This Season Is All About. It’s a reminder to reach deep down into your heart. It’s a reminder to give.
I’m just not so sure that you, of all people, need the reminder. Not in this, of all seasons.
This, the season when the sun pulls the covers over its head at 4:30.
This, the season when Honey still has both cancer and crackin’ good cheer.
This, the season that hungers for a hope hardier than any evergreen.
This, the season when we are all confused and need company, and we are all overwhelmed by all the company.
This, the season when Antin can’t walk, but he can rock around the Christmas tree.
This, the season when longings howl like lone wolves, but guilt glops on its glitzy face before we slink back to the pack.
This, the season when we believe while bereaved and yelp “help my unbelief!”
This, the season when Eartha has seizures, but earthquakes have rearranged continents to make her safe in our arms.
This, the season when sweetness summons us by name.
This, the season when every feeling is so personal, so tender, so specific, that anything generic feels dishonest.
This, the season when we need the stew of meaty mercy.
#GivingTuesday runs the risk of getting lost in the broth, that saltless sea of shoulds and schedules.
But you, Tabby’s Place family, have always been in the business of getting found.
You get found when you follow Gulliver on his travels. He has already triumphed. His mending is partial, like yours and mine. He may find an adopter brave enough to express his bladder. He may not. You will find him and love him in his “alreadys” and his “not yets.”
You get found when you pound your heart into graham cracker crumbs over Tanner‘s troubles turned to triumphs turned to troubles. He has already achieved earth’s grandest dream, loving and being loved. He is lugging around a lump of coal that may be cancerous. He may or may not make it to Christmas 2023. You will find him and love him in his “alreadys” and his “not yets.”
You get found when you shoot yourself over the stars, all because shy Sky shot you a glance of grace, all because your love landed for one sizzling second. He has already risen from uncertainty. He still remembers falling from eight stories, smashing his face and his femur and his full sense of safety. (I wish this were a dramatic flourish, but it really happened to him under a Beirut sky.) He does not yet believe that kindness is solid. You will find him and love him in his “alreadys” and his “not yets.”
You get found, over and over again, and you get found out as the kind of giver that doesn’t really need #GivingTuesday.
You’ve already found your day. It’s every mundane Monday and every wonderstruck Wednesday. It’s every shrieky Saturday and every stunning Sunday. It’s every day so dizzy that you can’t remember its name until it’s over. It’s every holy day.
You’ve found your purpose, and it is to give and to grieve and to joice and rejoice right here in the stew, right here where we are all bruised and beautiful and waiting.
You’ve found out the secret for waiting well: holding trembling hands while we all hold our breath for healing.
You’ve found something far more precious than the plodding march of mall-i-days.
You’ve found the courage to care “too much” for cats you will never even meet.
You’ve found the fierceness to fund a dream called Tabby’s Place, loving our broken and blessed cats as though they were the first and last cats on the earth.
You’ve found your way into Honey and Poncey and Miriel and Antin and Eartha and Rawlings and Gulliver and Tanner and Sky’s family, where the least, the last, and the lost are the heralds of the world we’re all waiting for.
Still waiting. Together. But that’s what Advent, and giving, and bravely bruisable hearts are all about.
So by all means, please give and give and give from the depths of your hearts today, family. Heaven and nature sing when you do, and heaven knows Tabby’s Place needs it.
But don’t give because it’s #GivingTuesday. Give because you know the secret. Give because you belong to love, and the cats belong to you.
I’m not so sure about #GivingTuesday, but I’m quite sure about you.
Pictured top to bottom: Gulliver, Tanner, Poncey, Antin, Eartha, Sky, Tanner (and Audrey…take my word for it)