There are at least two kinds of hearts.
On one hand, there’s that fist-sized muscle that pumps life from head to toe. Then there’s the Valentine shaped affection-thing that hangs out with hugs and kisses and the color pink. You need one to survive; you need the other to live.
Webster is teaching me that the well-being of one heart has everything to do with the other.
First, some triumphant news on the anatomical heart: I report with elation that Webster’s heart is actually doing better, severe heart disease be durned. Our angel-boy’s heart rate has improved significantly, and there’s been not a hint of that unpleasant vomiting to which he’d once been prone.
Yes, of course, he is on medications for all of the above. And I’m the first in line to thank God and thank the researchers for meds that make a difference.
But I’d be hard-pressed to say that meds make the difference.
It’s too much of a “coincidence” (as if such things exist) that Webster’s rallying coincides with his happiness. It’s too much of a “coincidence” that he’s now receiving enough affection for 800,000 lifetimes. And it’s too much of a “coincidence” that Webster’s heart isn’t the only one finding healing this spring.
When we first found out that Webster’s heart disease was dire, we moved him into the Community Room so he could enjoy the extra affection (and junk food) that comes from living at the epicenter of human beanville. It’s no secret that Webster is a special favorite among the staff and volunteers, and everyone was elated to have constant access to his love.
Somewhere along the way, Webster and I became inseparable. I won’t flatter myself that I did anything to deserve this; it was more a matter of circumstance, or “coincidence.” I’ve done nothing to merit Webster’s love other than simply being here and being willing to take him in my arms each time his soulful eyes gaze up, expectant beside my chair. Among all the human beans with office space in the Community Room, I’m the one at my desk most of the day. Mine is the most available lap, the closest set of hands to scratch an upturned head, the nearest face to kiss a tabby angel.
And, oh heaven, do I hope I am worthy of these tasks.
In the month or so that Webster and I have been joined at the hip (or, more accurately, the hand/paw), I’ve learned how to type with one hand. It’s a little slower, but a lot sweeter. I’ve found all sorts of places to put cat blankets on my desk. I’ve collected ridiculous appropriate amounts of Tender Beef Feast where previously I had silly things like pens and files.
And my heart has found a balm it didn’t even know it needed.
Never mind the fact that my own blood glucose (BG) levels have been inexplicably better. (I think I’ve mentioned here before that I have Type I diabeetis?) Never mind that, in fact, all my recent blood work at the vet doctor was better than usual. My heart – the Valentine-and-smooshy-kisses version – is more at peace and more full of joy than words can possibly say.
Some might call it a “coincidence,” but I’ve never sided with “some.”
We have no guarantees that Webster’s heart disease will remain at bay next week or next month or next year, or that my diabetes will stay so tame as it’s been since Webster came around.
But we have today.
And, today, I know that feeling Webster’s paws wrapped around my wrist with all his might is enough. Funny, but after “just” a month together, “just” eight or nine hours a day, five days a week, I can’t imagine my life without him.
It makes my heart want to burst, this wholly-unmerited, utterly-undeserved love. To be adored just because I’m here makes me want to pour my life into ensuring that every cat – and every human bean – knows that same kind of unconditional, otherworldly love.
It’s not coincidence, and it’s not an accident. It’s grace.
And there’s nothing more healing, to any sort of heart, than that.