Friday, November 2, 2012

Mercy me! Creature comfort

"Tasha," by Ali Denk

Our cat Tasha still sucks my finger like she did when she was abandoned as a kitten. She's not a baby anymore. She's more like Middle-Age. But some things are hard for a girl to let go of, even for felines.

We think it’s a comfort thing, an emotional phantom limb-like gesture to soothe herself because she still needs her mama but never got the memo that the old girl ain’t coming back.

Some, like my kids, find it odd and kind of disgusting. Perfect strangers would find me weird and non-pet people might consider having me committed.

But I don’t really care. I think of it as a selfless gift to her – an act of mercy - if you will, albeit small and slightly bizarre.

The way I figure it, over the years, I've tried to be merciful in my appointed duties.
I’ve cared for kids by changing diapers and picking up messes; worked with drunks late into the night and on “the morning after;” and assisted the elderly, particularly the dying, the most profound of whom was my very own mother.

So when you really think about it, what’s a little cat spit if it soothes a soul?  Particularly when that soul turns out to be your very own.

Sometimes the only place I can meditate in secret is in the confines of my walk-in closet. Sometimes the cat finds me there and roots around my folded hands to find my pinkie finger and suckles. Strange, yeah, okay. I admit it. But peaceful, too. Together we hide out and try to hear the sound of God listening to us.

Coming out of the closet is not all it’s cracked up to be. Especially given all the creature comfort one finds while being still.  But, I’ve learned that I won’t get any comfort, if I’m unwilling to give it away. 

Mercy can be found in the strangest places.