I’m a firm believer that your ship has not sailed without you.
If something is vanishing over the horizon, it was not your ship.
If you don’t believe me, I’m afraid you don’t know Jack.
In his time, Jack saw a veritable flotilla of ships race out of his harbor. His very personal aches were crushing in their commonness:
Ousted by his family.
Bewildered by outdoor life.
Adopted and adored again…only to lose his loved ones to the raw theft of hard times.
It’s a grim grief to never know peace. But perhaps it’s worse to have tasted great joy, only to have a giant sea squid rise up from the depths and fling you back ashore, helplessly watching as your ship — your ship, not perfect, not a yacht, but yours — leaves port.
Make no mistake; Jack’s ship was sweet, sturdy, seaworthy on all counts. After he was tempest-tossed by outdoor life, a kind new captain took him in. Captain Love’s first step was a vet visit for Jack, which turned up a microchip. The vet diligently contacted the cat’s owner, who snapped, “I don’t have a cat, and I don’t want a cat!”
The vet relayed this information to good Captain Love, who smiled and answered, “I want this cat.”
So began the wonderful life of wantedness, safe aboard a ship of love. Even after a fearful Jack gave Captain Love a bite so brutal it required sutures, the seas remained calm and comforting. There would be no rejection, no reprisal, only sturdy devotion.
Jack had it — the it we all ache for.
And then, all too soon, the giant squid came.
A hailstorm of hardships rained on Jack’s ship, and circumstances beyond her control forced Captain Love to realize: she would need to gently set Jack, Jenny and Stacey ashore.
Great joy grew smaller and smaller, only to drop over the horizon, a last speck of spent hope.
Maybe I misspoke at the start of this post. Maybe it is possible for your ship to sail off without you. Maybe.
But only to restock, restore, return with greater gifts than you imagined.
And so Jack’s ship surged back over the waves, shimmering, seemingly larger and sturdier than ever. Captain Love came through, as love always does; she found a way for Jack and his shipmates to come to Tabby’s Place.
Jack wasted no time sinking his toes into the warm sand of this strange new shore. Dropping anchor in the Weight Management Suite, he found his fun (so many humans, so many snuggles!), and he found his voice.
His tiny, squeakly, kitteny voice.
Jack himself was approximately the size of a baleen whale, but his voice was better scaled for plankton.
“Meep! Eep! Peeeep!”
He made us laugh. Laughs made us love. The funfest was titanic, oceanic, a boatload of affection.
But still, it was not a ship.
And as a middle-aged mister with a history of hurts, it might have been too late for Jack to have it.
It might have…if we lived in a different time, a different world. But, kittens, these are the days of miracle and wonder, despite all the evidence, and ours is a world with great goodness, stronger than those who would smear it.
You know what’s coming by now.
You see it peeking, peeping, squeaking over the farthest shore.
It’s a ship — sturdy, solid, sweet, with the name JACK stretched across its stern. Yes, kittens; Jack has found his forever-and-ever home. It wasn’t too late. It’s never too late.
That goes for you, too.