Continued from Friday…
Charm’s entire course had changed.
But Charm had not changed.
Charm had dignity.
And Charm would choose — as all true dignitaries do — to use his grace for good.
From the hour of his arrival, Charm has chased down our doldrums. When your eyes are golden gazing-balls, you’re gifted at sussing out shy sadness. When your heart is an entire bag of rainbow marshmallows, you’re uniquely poised to help anxious oats own their integrity. When your legs have been hobbled but your heart has grown gigantic, you’re just the enchanter to stand shaky souls on their own two or four feet.
When you have dignity, you can change the course of history.
And when you have one hundred cats, you have enough dignity to heal the world.
Yes, we (humans) are technically the rescuers here, the ones devoted to plucking the precious from their hopeless situations. We are the world’s haven for the wobblers the world forgot, the arms that embrace the Charms. We live for the ones who others think have nothing left to live for. We are the oasis of the odd and aching and the extraordinary. We are the outpost of love for wagons whose wheels are falling off.
We were put on this earth to be helpers and healers.
We have dignity.
But we never forget who does the real healing, the dignity-dealing, at Tabby’s Place.
Charm may be an especially elegant example, but every cat we save has his own story of strength and courage. We save them, but then they salve us. We give them a life of love and an ocean of fish mush, but they give us back to ourselves. We draw them from the deep waters of desperate circumstances; they draw us into a circle of compassion that’s far bigger than ourselves.
We give them devotion and doting and dreamy new digs. They give us their dignity.
And it’s a gift exchange that never ends. There’s infinite room for new charms on this bracelet.
It’s enough to make a girl incurably excited on a daily basis: what great ones will gallop into our lives tomorrow? What towering tenderness do we have to look forward to? Can you picture the faces whose grace will transfigure us?
What does December already know that we don’t? (Can’t you just hear December giggling with glee, bubbling with excitement to watch us unwrap its cats? And January? And 2027? Can you believe we live in a world where there’s no end to love and friends and happiness?) How will we change lives and be changed forever?
Just think of all the people of multiple species we have yet to love and be loved by.
And this time, I am speaking of the furless ones.
As we look forward to cats unknown, cats who will dignify and deliver and dazzle our lives, let us not forget their valets and chambermaids. Which is to say, the humans.
The ones who stop their lives to advocate for a cat they’ll never meet, knowing love smashes walls.
The ones who adopt cats with FeLV, knowing love is stronger than uncertainty.
The ones who overhear a stranger snuffling over her lost cat and stop what they’re doing to pour grace upon grief.
The ones who say — you would scarcely believe how often we hear this — that they “prefer cats to people,” only to prove by their lives that what they really prefer is mercy, and what they’re really made of is dignity.
The ones who make Tabby’s Place, and the ones who have yet to make their appearance.
You, and me, and our whole jangling bracelet of buddies and beloveds and bumbling, brilliant beings.
There’s always room for one more dignified heart on this chain. And when it arrives, we’ll know what to say: “Charmed, I’m sure.”