Let’s get this out of the way first: “Hodie” is not the name of a current Tabby’s Place cat.
We should remedy that.
By the end of this post, I hope you’ll agree.
It’s Ye Olde Holiday Season at Tabby’s Place as elsewhere, which means many things.
Dangerously delicious things are appearing in the Lounge from well-meaning volunteers (and by “well-meaning” I mean “meaning that the Tabby’s Place staff should collectively weigh 80,005 pounds by 2019”).
Cats are acquiring catnip candy canes and other festive fancies from all around the world. (True story: one donor, of epically extraordinary proportions, sent a Volkswagen-sized box of individually wrapped, carefully labeled gifts for no fewer than 20 Tabby’s Place cats. No official report on whether Wolfie bogarted Lester‘s loot.)
Jonathan has shifted from sleeping under the reception desk to sleeping under the Christmas tree. (So has Jonathan.)
And we’re all almost able to taste a “today” in which love is born at last.
Hope is irresistible this time of year. It’s the type that takes in even the cynics and the curmudgeons, until every soul from starry-eyed Rose to stoic Cisco is gazing inward and skyward and dreamward. We’re yearning. We’re ready.
Hodie can’t come soon enough.
“Hodie,” as it happens, is Latin for “today.” I learned this just recently at a choral Christmas concert, where angelic voices tumbled hushed, holy “hodie“s down the scale like snow and stardust. They sang, dreamlike, of the “today” when love landed, and the “today” yet ahead when love will lead us all home.
As I look around Tabby’s Place this very today,* in the midst of all that is still wrong and broken in our world, I hold a piece of that someday hodie. One incontinent cat drags herself across the lounge at comet-speed, escaping her hot pink diaper, trailing a stream of substances. Another paraplegic cat gleefully tosses his catnip banana in the air, over and over and over again inside the large pen created to keep him from clobbering all other cats in sight. A six-pound Persian ambles across the couch in a state of what looks like awe that reality is real and oh my stars is that a food?
They are all strange.
They are all “less than perfect.”
They are all nothing less than adored.
I see scrappy cats, once-abandoned cats, hateful cats and grateful cats and glorious cats who would have gone unloved if not for this impish, incomparable, stubborn-loving place of grace.
I see humans, strange and majestic, taking each other on their own terms, believing the best about one another, not taking each other for granted, not taking themselves too seriously.
For you and for me.
We may be a sort of “island of misfit toys” here at Tabby’s Place, but our multitude of misfits fits loves large. Tabby’s Place is a blazing hunk of hodie even now. Because, if Christmas means anything at all, it’s that we are finally not alone.
No matter what we feel.
No matter what this particular “today” brings.
Sing on, kittens. Even hodie.
*And here I must thank Jonathan (human edition). It would be all too easy to become familiarity-blind to the miracle that is Tabby’s Place, but Jon encourages us to cultivate “beginner’s mind,” to regularly un-forget the uniqueness of this haven, to gaze with fresh eyes all around us. The magic never fades, but we will if we don’t stoke and poke the childlike awareness within. Thank you, Jonathan.