Alright, me hearties.
Belly up to the bar of joy, because your daily dose of hope is here.
This post is spangled with Tabby’s Place alumni living well and living large, just because you deserve happiness.
It’s been so flippin’ dramatic and devastating around here lately that I feel a bit like the old guy at the end of Moonstruck who, after an outrageously intense and utterly Italian conversation about LIFE and LOVE and STRUGGLE, croaks desperately, “Someone tellah jooooke!”
Is laughter in a sea of loss sacrilegious? Is it too soon to punch our fists in the air, defiant against death again?
Where is wisdom when hope seems in short supply?
Ironically, this hope-hiding business seems most likely to happen when you give yourself to hope whole-hog. If you don’t love at all, don’t hope at all, don’t open your heart to the mystery and magic of life at all, you will not be crushed.
You’ll just be flat to begin with. And you’ll die before you live.
If you do love — and hope, and dream, and dare, and live — you will falter. You will get hurt. You will be changed beyond recognition. You will know loss.
But you will never, finally, lose.
This week’s posts are about the victories that come after loss, the hope that remains and prevails even in the middle of the night, the “jooooke!” that makes life an ultimate untragedy.
Death will never conquer. We are living in the greatest comedy of all.
And littler victories along the way remind us.
As you can see, Mitt and Mistletoe and Flux are doing fabulously. But today’s featured triumph belongs to one LaFawnduh.
LaFawnduh, you may recall, came to Tabby’s Place with her rugrats, Pedro, Sommer and Deb.
LaFawnduh, you may recall, lingered on after the littles were adopted.
LaFawnduh, you may recall, hates cats more than moldy mustard and bourgeois mainstream music.*
LaFawnduh, you may recall, hates cats even more than she hates being cold…so during her time at Tabby’s Place, she spent approximately 11 months of each year in the solarium, pretending she was the sole survivor of her species.
LaFawnduh wasn’t exactly unhappy here; she enjoyed our company (sometimes) and enjoyed those moments when she almost convinced herself that she’d vanquished all the other cats. But she wasn’t perfectly happy.
And “perfect happiness” is our goal.
Well, hoist your “Mission Accomplished” banners, kittens, ’cause LaFawnduh’s got a brand new crib. LaFawnduh’s fam writes:
“Well, LaFawnduh (now Cleo) has made herself at home on my husband’s lap and on the love seat on our sun porch.
“Right now she is playing with her banana toy that was given to her as a goodbye gift. All in all, she seems quite happy with us and the house.
“My husband said ‘You really picked a nice cat!’ He also told me that she will be good company for me. I think she will diplomatically divide her attention between the two of us.
“She loves all the catnip toys that everyone gave her before she left Tabby’s Place. But she also likes to relax. She loves our throw rugs, too. She kneads them with her paws and then naps on them.
“One of her favorite hangouts is in front of the fireplace, even when there is no fire. She also likes to hang around my 10 year old grandson. Shortly after we took this picture, she plopped herself next to him on the loveseat while he did his thing on the computer. I think she was looking for him after he left.”
I think she just can’t believe how sweet life can be. Finally. She’s been given her dream, and she’s grabbed it with all four paws. Isn’t it just like a cat to hear the Voice of hope?
It calls to even us, kittens. In this world-wobbling, whiplashy month, I’m reminded of a quote by the great Frederick Buechner, giving voice to that Voice that sings over us all:
Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Nothing can ever separate us. It’s for you I created the universe. I love you. There’s only one catch. Like any other gift, the gift of grace can be yours only if you reach out and take it. Maybe being able to reach and take it is a gift too.
May we take the gift at every turn. Reach with me. And be not afraid. You are so very loved.
*But she’s super pumped about the best album of all time.