There’s a lot of leaping involved in what we do at Tabby’s Place.
I don’t mean over dribbles of diarrhea. I don’t mean around sleeping cats. At least, I don’t mean exclusively those things.
I mean leaps of the faithful kind.
Often – mercifully often – it’s easy to see the good. Cat comes from shelter; cat thrives at Tabby’s Place; cat gets adopted into giddy, glorious home. That’ll be an order of Happy McHapperson, with an extra packet of awesomesauce.
But often – remarkably often – we need to leap and stretch and crane our necks for the good we can’t yet see.
Meet Deanna. We met her by accident, with a dose of desperate human craftiness. The details are opaque, but at some point, Deanna was someone’s cat. I’d like to believe she was loved. For some reason, that couldn’t continue. For some reason, our guard was down at Tabby’s Place that day. For some reason, we missed it.
And for some reason, the cat carrier appeared in the middle of our lobby.
Along with the terrified long-haired calico, there was a note. Deanna’s former human had scrawled, I am so sorry. This is breaking my heart.
Angry and astonished, we grumbled all the usual things. Heartbroken, huh? Not too heartbroken to be a <naughty word>. Humans. Humans are excrement.
But when the grumbling was done, there was loving to do. How could you not ache for a cat who’d been so summarily dismissed? We cooed and cared and reached out to Deanna in love.
She reached out to us in wrath. There was hissing. There was spitting. There would be blood. Deanna was throwing all her heart and soul into going for Best Actress in the Role of a Hellbeast. “Forgiveness” was not in her vocabulary.
This is the part where I’d like to insert a heartwarming story of how Deanna has learned to trust us. I’d love to tell you how a patient human has spent hours of every day rocking Deanna like a baby. I’d give 100,000,000 jellybeans to be able to tell you that Deanna has been adopted into a true forever home.
But I can’t tell you any of those things. Deanna is still angry and terrified and confused. She lives under the couch in Adoption Room #2. If you try to love her, she will cut you.
The miracle isn’t a done deal. Hope is not yet sight. It feels like unfinished, un-okay business.
But hope is not a feeling.
Do we believe that? Do I believe that? Do we really trust that, moment-by-moment, God and life are not holding out on us, not even a little? Do we believe – can we leap to trust – that if there’s any good thing to be had, we have it? Can we fathom that any good thing that seems withheld – Deanna’s home, my marriage to Marcus Mumford, the election of Jimmy Fallon as President of the United States – isn’t a denial or a deprivation, but a promise of something better?
Jennifer Ann started out under a couch. All four Dessert Kids started out so scared they’d cut you to ribbons. Harley was abandoned in the same way as Deanna – but went on to shine in the Hall of Fame of Most Adored Cats. Even Webster was screaming and spitting in his early Tabby’s Place days.
This is a season of hope. This is the age of new life. For those of us who just celebrated Easter, it’s a roaring triumph over death and decay and everything arrayed against Love. For the whole Western hemisphere, it’s wide-eyed wonder as crocuses conquer a long winter, and sunshine warms pale, weary skin. Life wins. Hope is vindicated. He withholds no good thing from us.
The bulb is still deep underground here, but make no mistake: Deanna’s miracle is underway. She’s here. She’s loved, albeit against her will. She’s safe. She’s family.
That’s cooler than being cool. That’s cooler than the fact that someone turned a map of NJ into a map of Game of Thrones territories. That’s cooler than the daffodils that defiantly grow straight through snow.
He withholds no good thing from us. And, Deanna, you’re one of us.
*You can hear the song here. Highly hugely recommended if you like things that are excellent.