When you fall over (and it is “when,” not “if”), what do you spill out?
Anger? Compassion? Resentment that you are not eating enough mini meatballs?
(I will let you guess which two out of those three apply to cats.)
I once read that Eleanor Roosevelt “spilled light.” Even in terrible times, even when tomorrow waved worries like a wand toy, our most beautiful First Lady lit up. You couldn’t be around her and not get splashed and shone-upon with hope.
I think Eleanor would have felt very much at home inside Tabby’s Place.
Light is everywhere right now, doing its December dance against the darkest days of the year.
There’s a reason we throng our trees with twinklers, pop batteries into plastic reindeer, and illuminate all the angels in a thousand Hallmarks.
There’s a reason we carry our candles even when our hands shake. Especially then.
There’s a reason we go to Blue Christmas services, feeling our feelings with all their fierceness, half-afraid our tears will snuff out the candles, fully-held by a fire that never goes out.
Contrary to cynical opinion, light is anything but naive.
Light remembers that life is shorter than a candlewick. Light remembers that Bucca and Alvin and Melanie and Perseus and Willem and Magellan and Faye and Bart and Adam and Consetta and many dreams died in 2022.
Light remembers that we’re all under construction, and sometimes we have to go a long time without walls and ceilings. Light remembers that Sunflower still has cancer, and Polly does not fully trust us, and Cookie Monster is very, very, very angry to be here, and maybe you and I are sometimes very, very, very angry to be here.
Light remembers that things fall apart. The Lego Death Star and the 500-piece Hello Kitty puzzle under the tree can both be assembled to perfection, but our relationships and our plans are sometimes missing pieces. Some stories end other than intended. Zelda and Charly and Denali found “forever homes” that weren’t. There were fractures where there should have been firelight.
Light is the Great Rememberer.
Light — the kind that spills, the kind that sings, the kind that just might save the world — knows the darkness. Light — the kind that lives, the kind that loves, the kind that outlasts — has overcome the darkness.
Darkness has absolutely no idea what to do with Light, so it does the only thing it can: rage.
It will make us mean, if we let it.
It will make us small, if we let it.
It will paralyze us with fear, and make us turn out the lights so no one knows we’re home, and shutter all our warm mangers against all the wandering strangers, if we let it.
Let’s not let it.
Tabby’s Place, where things spill in a thousand ways a day, has always been reckless when it comes to splashing light around. We are the inn where there is always room. We are the manger for the strangest of strangers. We are the smiling star on the crooked tree that’s been thrummed by thunderstorms, but still stands with its branches wide, a great green hug from January to December.
You’re one of our branches, you know.
And that means you’re here, too, spilling light.
Remember some of your puddles of power in 2022.
Crinkle Bob taught Doby how to love love. (Crinkle Bob taught us all that life is a sturdy smorgasbord of mercy and music and silliness and salvation, but that’s another story.) Doby passed the secret on to the late, luminous Humphrey.
Glenn discovered the delight of being delighted in, exactly the way he was, exactly because he was who he was.
Barney was reborn, a bashful beatnik bursting into barnstorming bliss as the gingerbread joy of the Lobby.
Frankie sang and swaggered, slugged cats and swigged life like a 55-gallon drum of cocoa, careening into the world’s most anxiously-awaited forever home like St. Nick on a zipline.
Houston left his home planet to come heal us all, in the guise of seeking our healing, and one hydrocephalic cat the color of spice-cake set us free to season our world with grace.
Faith spun and spun and spun our tales into her own, until we believed that a cat missing most of her brain might restore our hope that the world is kind.
Fergie found her queendom and reminded us that you can be bingle-eared and a bit broken and still completely cherishable.
Harold awakened all the herald angels, beseeching them to sing.
Light came in the darkness. Time and again, we were filled and refilled, joiced and rejoiced, led by tiny paws to the Great Mercy with open eyes and open arms and an open invitation to open our windows and spill.
We have been loved so much, we have so much to give.
So when we fall on our knees or fall down the stairs or just fall down, a little exhausted from all this living, let’s spill light.
Merry Christmas, kittens.
Pictured top to bottom: Frankie, Houston, Bucca, Faye, Zelda, Doby & Humphrey, Glenn, Faith