There are leaders who will bleed ya.
There are leaders who will need ya.
But few and precious are the leaders who will feed ya.
Let’s be honest, kittens. We can agree, across every conceivable political divide, that good leadership is hard to find. Skeptics and cynics and assorted people whose general posture is “ick” seem to be in the majority, and for good reason. Trust in institutions and individuals alike is at an all-time low.
We have been misled in millions of ways, and sometimes we all wonder if we’d be better off going it alone. (Possible campaign slogan: “Anarchy: it’s not just for cats!”) When you can’t trust captains, you get to fantasizing about jumping overboard, setting up a homestead, and growing just enough to feed your own family. (And figuring out how to replicate low-carb mint chocolate chip ice cream off the grid. Also Doritos.)
But we can’t bring ourselves to do it. Even if we have to yell “ick!” a thousand times a day, we need each other, and we need some sort of structure, and, dangit, we need a captain.
Fortunately, we have one.
And fortunately, he’s the real deal.
Into the void steps one man, one cat, one honorable soul with a white locket and a gold heart. We are safe on the ship of one Captain Kirk Rosenberg.
Like all true leaders, Kirk did not go seeking power. He’d have been blissfully content to live in a one-bedroom condo with a saintly old woman and her collection of Beanie Babies, never to be seen or known or adulated by the masses.
But like all true leaders, Kirk’s calling came calling for him. Love and circumstance led him to Tabby’s Place, where anarchy and anxiety and generalized idiocy led him to the helm.
We are, as you know too well, a difficult bunch, we human beans. We are too hard and too easy on ourselves and each other in all the wrong ways, and we pad around with knots in our stomachs and nougat in our brains, when all we really want is some fire in our bellies and peace in our souls. We don’t know how to get along, we can’t understand ourselves well enough to love each other, and sometimes all the ick inside spills over in tears and shouts and ill-advised tweets.
We are, frankly, a mess.
We don’t really need someone telling us what to do. Generally speaking, we already know (love one another; be grateful and humble; go easy on the Doritos; seriously, love one another). We just can’t do it.
We need someone who can show us by living how living is done. And this is where Kirk is our captain par excellence.
In his quiet way, undemanding, unselfish, ungrasping, Kirk loves with the freedom of a child. We know from his history that he was cherished all his pre-Tabby’s Place life, and that love has made him loving. It comes easily, naturally to Kirk to love without expectation, and to keep loving when love isn’t returned.
In practical terms, this translates to rubbing and purring and mooshing and smooshing all beings, delighting in love shared but placidly moving on from love denied. He is full enough in himself that he doesn’t need us to be anything other than what we are, moment by moment.
(Let the record show that he would appreciate our affection, and also our Doritos. But, like all good leaders, he understands his crew’s limitations, and he’ll graciously take what he can get. Still: Doritos. Preferably Cool Ranch.)
Captain Kirk leads by example. But still, this isn’t quite enough. Our species is sad and sorry enough that we need more than a role model. We need a level of love that can actually change us from the inside out.
Such love exists. It’s wearing a white locket in Suite B as I type this email.
When you come under Kirk’s leadership, the air around you changes. Whatever your day has looked like up until that point, you are now in the atmosphere of utter embrace. Kirk is unfailingly thrilled to see you.
Eyes bright, tiny feet flying, he yearns — he is called — to care for you. He’ll start with what comes naturally: rubbing you, purring, loving you in his language of fur and warmth and touch. But if you don’t have the strength or sanity to reciprocate, Kirk will gently change keys. He’ll sit beside you, simply present, willing you to be filled with his affection and his intentions and his precious peace.
Like the truest leaders, the only ones worthy of the name, Captain Kirk will serve you with his very self.
And, just beneath your awareness, you will be changed.
And you will be strong.
And you will go forth and love.
Despite all evidence to the contrary, the ship is sound, mates. Let us fly.