Last night, our middle cat crawled into bed with me for the first time since I got home from my trip last week. He’d been feeling pretty rotten, and ever since the vet told us it’s most likely terminal, he’s been spending a lot of time under my desk, contemplating his mortality with the help of the theology books and bibles strewn around the floor. He’s never been much of a philosopher before now, unlike his older brother and, to a less disciplined and more anarchic extent, his younger sister. Now, largely undistracted by the need to eat or sleep, he has a achieved an impressive level of mindfulness, calm, a kind of peace.
The imminence of an ending has mellowed the middle cat. Yesterday afternoon, he let his sister skulk by behind him without so much as a tremor of his tail, or a sharp, hissing intake of breath. She was not sure how to cope with such unexpected forbearance. That’s how grace works sometimes. (“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him drink; for by doing so you will heap burning coals upon his head,”* advise Paul and the Proverbs.)
In the evening, he came to lie on the bed. Still holding himself somewhat apart, as though some part of him were ready, already, for the next mile of his journey, perhaps he remembered that love is the greater part of life, that relationship is a surer path to wisdom even than philosophy. Turning his inscrutable eyes to mine, he told him that the time had come for him to become my teacher, so close has he drawn toward eternity.
Also published this week:
Immersive prayer: a seasonal reflection at the Episcopal Cafe
Suffer the children: what the bible has to say about immigration, ICE, and family separation, at RevGalBlogPals
*Romans 12:20; Proverbs 25:21-22