Thursday, November 11, 2010

How to Care

The thought seemed sparkly new, and I scribbled it down. Then I remembered an article I'd published twenty years ago in Moody Magazine, entitled "Back in Action." I'd written about being b-o-o-o-red with church - yawn - and deciding to get more (rather than less) involved. Soon I was caught up in serving and enjoying the people. It was the first time I learned this lesson: when you take care of something, you end up caring more about it.

It happened with the Cat from Hell.

As the last year of her life played out, she lost precious pounds, and also her hearing. I'd grown up in a minimal pet-care home where we rarely took a pet to the vet. Now I knew I had to, and did. And then she lost her vision. She became our Helen Keller cat, who still loved to go outdoors on a sunny day, sitting in her favorite grassy spots. Yet her body couldn't take much anymore. I was offering blankets, opening doors, turning on heaters. When her appetite waned, I began microwaving her food. I fed her minced prime rib. This was me doing this. Not a pet fanatic. With each action, I cared even more. In her last weeks I was bringing the water bowl to her nose. I had smothered the floor with puppy pads. I had taken to speaking comforting words into the fur along her frail spine, believing she could feel the vibrations. Two weeks ago, when she died, I cried for losing a brave, dear friend.

And so I've learned it again: anything you take care of, you love. If you are losing interest in a person, activity, job, relationship, God, a pair of shoes - begin to take care of it. Act as if it means the world to you. Soon it will, soon it will.

Good bye, Molly Cat, Molly Moe, Hellen Keller Cat, Creature, Molly Moses. Ear scratches and hugs...

Take a moment to reflect on someone or something you have learned to care about.