When he bequeathed to us the song Hallelujah Leonard Cohen reminded us of the grace and beauty that is paired generously with the grit and darkness that is part and parcel of being human: “it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah.” We carry a spark that some may call divine. We also carry weights and troubles known that many refer to as baggage. The trick is finding the bliss point where the sacred and the profane lie in balance.
Neither godly nor grotesque, this bliss point of humanity is where we become wholly ourselves. It is within this space that we are able to see need, to be touched by it, and to remain able to move, able to act, able to care for others. The bliss point of kindness is where we find ourselves coming together to do good things. It isn’t always easy. At Tabby’s Place, no staff member, no volunteer, no donor, and no friend to the cats is blind to the harshness that seems as if it could swallow us all.
It will not!
With every cat rescued from truly dire circumstances, we – with open eyes – recognize that Nature is, indeed, “red in tooth and claw,” just as Alfred, Lord Tennyson reminded us in his poem In Memoriam (canto LVI). It is a cold cruelty, but it is never, ever hopeless. Tennyson also reminded us, ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” (In Memoriam canto XXVII)
When we come together pouring out our unfettered love, time, hard work, and donations for the sake of the littlest and the biggest cats, we forge a sword of light and goodness to do battle with the harsher side of Nature while also celebrating the joys and beauties Nature delivers daily. Our double-edged blade, wielded with the power of loving kindness, slices through worries and sorrows. The finely pointed tip pierces the darkness and allows hope to guide us. Led by that hope, the dreamers and the architects, the darers and the designers have created an ivory tower in our midst.
Built on trust and belief, founded on humanity, and firmly rooted in the reality that “it’s a cold and it’s a broken hallelujah,” Quinn’s Corner is the very kind of space that makes Cohen’s masterpiece one so often copied. The realities of life can be harsh for FeLV+ cats like Oram and Tucker, yet they are being given a chance to know that, albeit messy and challenging, life is also stunningly beautiful. There is care and tenderness in the world. There is safety, and there is shelter. There is pure hallelujah. Very much cherished neonatal kittens will also have a chance to learn the same lesson as more fostering is made possible and when a very special space of their own eventually, ideally becomes a reality.
As such things grander-than-grand grace the present and future of Tabby’s Place, as we stand on the cusp of fully opening ourselves up to embarking upon an unknowable journey, we can see the smeared edges. We can see an infinity of complications. That’s the “cold and…broken” part too. At the very same time, we can see opportunities: we will be able to save cats that were once considered unsavable; we will be the hope for what once were hopeless cases; we will see and seize chances to do something more, to be something better, each and every day.
Working together, we can and will improve on “cold” and “broken” with “warm” and “healing.” As we join determinedly and purposefully together, employing our unfathomable powers, we will continue to shift the balance to ever more bliss. We will do more than repeat a well-known lyric. We will bring to light a bolder, stronger future where we will all be able to sing out together in a united, heartfelt, and robust HALLELUJAH!
It is so much more than a song.