I am a planner. In fact, I would even say I am a pre-planner. I am also an over thinker and over analyzer. There have been so many times I wished for a temporary off-switch to my brain. I have never made things easy or simple. I have never taken the easy way out. In fact, when there have been such easy moments and processes, I was suspicious that this was “too good to be true.” Only in certain times is my abundantly hyped brain quieted, particularly when my body melts and soaks up water when I swim, when I write, when I cook/book and do anything food-related, when I am with my closest family and friends, and, most recently, when I am with animals.
Growing up, I was never an animal lover. Probably because I was rarely exposed to animals. We never had pets, mainly because I was immune suppressed and so there was an intense fear of exposure to germs and foreign substances from animals. Keep away and I would be safe. The funny thing about the immune system is keeping away ‘foreign’ can also weaken your immune system even more. We need to be exposed to the foreign and uncertain to try to build up a stronger immune system, tolerance, strength of character, and understanding. I am not saying that those who are immune suppressed as myself should go out there and be attacked by germs and the foreign, but I am saying that it is in small steps and slow exposure that we can build up the strength and the long-term endurance.
I wish I could tell you what was the catalyst to me deciding to volunteer at an animal shelter. I think it was a combo catalyst of boredom and curiosity. I fell in love with one cat after another, but kept putting it off saying that I would finally bring home and rescue a kitty cat in June. In the meantime, the pre-planner in me went into high gear with researching possible cat transmitted diseases, kitty litter boxes, cat scratching posts, etc. The months passed by and one by one, each cat I fell in love with was taken and homed by another. It made me sad, but it made me happy. It also made me learn about love.
I asked the cat manager time and time again: “How do you continue to love all these cats when you know they will leave and you will lose them?”
She said: “I didn’t lose. I loved. I love. The cats are going home to a better place to receive and give love. How is that a loss?”
Love is knowing that you will eventually lose or there will be a loss and it will hurt like hell and be as risky as heck, but to keep on loving and risk-taking because a little love goes a long way as the greatest gain.
I never ever saw myself with a pet. A living and moving creature in my comfortable and secure place.
Then, Ricky came in the picture. Ricky was not a shelter cat. On the contrary, he was a friend of a friend. All his basic needs were met: Food, Shelter, Kitty Litter, but the one thing that may be the greatest thing he needed was love. In the two times that I spent time with him before bringing him to Casa del Wu, he jumped in my arms and stuck on to me like glue to curl up in a ball and soak up the lap and love that I wasn’t sure I could give. But, I’ve learned that you can always give love. And, anyone or anything living and breathing from the humans that walk on earth to the plants that sit in soil to the animals that roam are always happy to receive love. We all need love.
I planned everything down to the wire for Ricky’s arrival. I was shocked how ‘easy’ it was and how the timing worked out perfectly for Ricky’s arrival. Rather than joy and ease how everything was falling into place so flawlessly, I was suspicious that this was way too good to be true. Ricky thrived on the planner in me without any behavioral issues at all by using his kitty litter, gobbling up any food I put in front of him, curling up on my lap, playing with toys, and not scratching one piece of furniture. What I didn’t plan was him keeping me awake for the past week and particularly the two days meowing up a storm and taking extra minutes and moments out of my time and day for cleanings and feedings. In the first couple days, I was sleep deprived and stressed with trying to get used to a new routine and combine it with my old routine. The mental bully was definitely out and about.
My well-seasoned cat friends came to my rescue and chided me gently, “Shows you can plan and prepare for everything, but there is so much you can’t plan for. It is really not so complicated, Mary. The cat will tell you. Animals tell you even more and honestly than humans do. The two of you will get it. It is easy. It is easy to love once you are really willing and in it to love, learn, and give.”
So, I’ve been trying to be like Ricky. I’ve been trying to make it easy. To be easy. To be simple. There are still times it is not so easy and it sits with me that anything too overly easy and so immediate is not worthwhile in the long-term. It is fine balance of easy and complicated. As humans, I think we tend to make more complications than simplicities from our mind that can be the greatest bully or best friend. Animals are happy with the simple and easy and can do and be just that. When have you made matters much more complicated? When have you taken the easy route? Was it worth it in the end for you or did it mean even less or not as much? Do you tend to over think and make much more complications than simplicities? Do you tend to over plan and did all the plans you had fall into place with the unplanned coming in and totally throwing you off?
It is getting easier. Ricky is happy with the easy and simple of food, shelter, a kitty litter box, and love. I never thought an 8-pound furball could teach me so much about love, giving, and easy. And, really, how easy and uncomplicated everything really can be and is.
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,