Today’s blog post is sponsored by the known unknowns.
We tried to get a sponsorship from the unknown unknowns, but they never responded.
As we’ve discussed, these are fearful times. We’re scared of shortages and sickness and each other; we’re scared of changing and getting into ruts and going grey and going mad.
In many ways we’ve adapted exquisitely: we’re gamely grooving on Instacart and Zoom and coloring our own roots and masking ourselves like merry banditos. This has all, inexplicably, become The Known. We are no longer afraid of it; it’s familiar.
But oh, those unknowns.
There is a great, wide, weird, invisible future ahead of us, and we can’t even see an outline yet. We don’t know the whens and whats; the horizon itself is beyond the horizon; we can’t even begin to begin to imagine the world after All Of This.
We’re standing on the top of a 70′ tall cat tree, about to leap. We have a good sense we will land on all four feet, but where?
And I’m here to give you a very reassuring answer: I have absolutely no idea.
But I know this, kittens. You have run head-first into a battering ram of unknowns before. You have free-jumped and parachuted and been pushed and pulled and flung into fog and mist and mystery. You have faced things — been forced to face things — you couldn’t begin to begin to imagine. When you got a glimpse of them, you couldn’t fathom surviving them, much less with a scrap of grace.
But you did.
When the time came, something came to you from beyond you.
When strength was demanded, you were suddenly strong beyond all imagining.
When you stood chest-to-chest with The Thing that was supposed to crush you, you filled with uncrushable light.
I’d venture to guess that this is part of what gets cats through the changes that shuttle them from one reality to another. Adjusting for scale, many Tabby’s Place cats go through more “traumatic events” than most of us will ever face: catastrophic illnesses or injuries, loss of family, relocation from shelter to home to forest to Tabby’s Place etc. etc. ad infinitum. Strong and noble beasties that they are, they survive each one; perhaps it is the long string of survivals that keeps them serene and smiling and living to leap again with each new unasked-for adventure.
How else to explain a Claire, feral, then loved, then blind, then inside, then terrified, then truly in love with people once and for all (and somehow sighted again, too)?
How else to understand a Simon, rankled and ravaged by age and diabetes and loss of his cherished human, yet driven with the call to be a ball of brilliant sunshine for all who enter his orbit?
They made it through the unimaginable; now they can’t imagine anything that will ultimately undo them.
History begets courage.
Faithfulness begets fearlessness, or at least as close as we can come to that in this life.
I would like to remind you that never, in the history of you, has your cheese completely slid off your cracker. You thought it would; you couldn’t imagine it wouldn’t; but somehow, by some great grace, it didn’t.
And I would like to tell you — and me — that in the face of all the unknowns, we can cling to the knowns.
There has been great, unexplainable, inexplicable faithfulness in your past. You have always been given the light and strength and oars to paddle through. Let those memories be a monument that pierces a fog-solid sky now.
We don’t know what’s ahead, but we all have our own history of trials behind us. Remember them; remember that you survived; remember that you were carried until you could dance again.
I can’t see how, and I surely can’t see when, but I know to my marrow: you will dance again. Me too.
Hold onto your cheese and your courage, kittens.