Sometimes it seems like this old world’s tree is being shaken down to its roots.
Nepal. Baltimore. Yemen. Leaves scattered to the four winds.
When the foundations are crumbling, what can the righteous do? Borrow the gaze of smaller, sager creatures.
Weeks like these, we feel very small.
We can donate to the Red Cross. We can pray for peace. We can plant small saplings of love and justice in our daily dealings. These are small things that aren’t small.
But in the dark and the quiet, we ache with all the aches of the earth. We’re all in this together — and that’s a good thing, but it also means that if one part hurts, we all hurt.
If we ever needed the soothing grace of a Great Soul, it would be now.
And God provides.
Big and blundering, Bello was a love-whirl who instantly deserved the same name as the Ringling Bros.’ clown. (In temperament, that is. In terms of appearance, Bello doesn’t resemble his tall-haired namesake so much as…well, David Schwimmer. Don’t tell me you don’t see it.) He bombles about in Suite C, klutzing towards humans and lumbering towards cats. He is a big, lovey burbler, twelve years old and ten trillion laughs young.
Bello is making us laugh.
But if Bello is the fool (in the positive, Shakespearean sense — think Touchstone or Puck, not Adam Sandler), Jaeger is the priestess.
She doesn’t have the moves like Jagger. Her hazel-brownie-amber eyes can scarcely make out shadows. But if you’re looking for a more blissful buzz and lasting lift than the finest Jägermeister can deliver, look to the long loaf of tabby in the Community Room.
Really, the Community Room. Jaeger was intended (by us real fools) to be a Lobby cat. But Jaeger knew from the git-go that she had a higher purpose. The nature of her call? Healing humanity, one soul at a time.
So it was a soft-pawed slide into the Community Room. Since she moved in, Jaeger hasn’t stopped resting her velvet feet in our laps:
“Prithee thee, may I give you A Love?”
If you say no, the lady doth protest just enough. Taptap. Paw-paw-pawpawpaw. Soft. Subtle. But certain.
“Verily, blithe soul, thou art in need of A Love. Pardon me to bestow at least a Half-Cuddle?”
And you art in need. Verily. So you scoot back in your chair, and, ladylike, Jaeger vaults into your lap.
And now you’re not going anywhere for a very, very long time.
Neither are you worrying, despairing, or diving face-first into all the angst that assaults you. You’re suddenly, startlingly consumed by those hazel-brownie-amber eyes.
It’s a quiet thing, a radiant thing, Jaeger’s liturgy of love. Our striped, sightless mistress of divinity will walk small circles in your lap before settling herself into a purr-puddle. For reasons known only to Jaeger and God, the old tabby will “look” at you — right in the eyes, no less — the whole time.
Medicine tells us that Jaeger’s eyes barely see. But Jaeger herself sees. Spend enough time in her presence, and you’ll see it, too: grace.
A hope and a future.
Just like the mystery hitting Jaeger’s old retinas, we don’t know quite what that looks like. But we know, beyond the last sliver of sunset, that it’s real.
And until faith becomes sight and the healing is whole, we’ve got ministering spirits in tabby stripes.
Photo credits from de top: AT, Jane, AT/unknown celebrity photog, Mark.