**a post by the mom
The Friday that I left Best Friends, I stopped by the medical clinic (Hope House) in Cat World where a friend of mine now works (she volunteered with me, took her family back out and now she and her husband both live and work out there). She grabbed a chair and took me back to her desk. Another chair was back there with two cats curled up asleep - both evident from their appearance to be pretty old.
I sat down and the black cat heaved himself to his feet, walked between the arm and the back of the chair and on to my lap. From there he wiggled his way up to my shoulder and then made himself quite comfortable as I crossed my arms to give him a place to lay down. He rumbled a deep throaty purr and sighed. My friend and I chatted for about 40 minutes - he lay curled on my arms the entire time. She got called away to do something and another employee walked in and saw Darius lounging in my arms. She told me thank you for loving on their boy. I just nodded as I really hadn't thought anything about letting him climb up on me and snooze.
My friend and I continued to talk and she told me about Darius and his friend (whose name escapes me). Come to find out the sanctuary pulled them both from a kill shelter. They had been living in Hope House for about 3 months as the vet staff tried to give them some quality of life....Darius was about 16 years old and his friend a year younger. Darius wasn't doing any better and had begun to decline....the staff had made the decision to help him cross Rainbow Bridge - and in fact were going to do it that afternoon. I didn't know that when I sat down and honestly, it wouldn't have made any difference to me.
I had to get going, hugged my friend and put Darius back with his buddy - kissing his head and wishing him a safe and gentle journey over the Bridge. I got packed, got a shower and headed south on the freeway back to Las Vegas. As I glanced at the clock in the car, I realized Darius had left this world, and I admit I shed a few tears for him and the people who loved him at Hope House.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
As I drove, I got to thinking about things. I have heard some version of the quote above several times. But what if a measure of character isn't just how people react in times of adversity but how they react when others are in need of comfort? What if a measure of character happens in those quiet between moments when nothing is expected of us but "being"?
Darius was old....he was so very thin....he had patches of missing fur....he had scabs on his ears.
I thought through the people I know. Would everyone have been willing to sit with him curled up in their arms? If I am completely honest, the answer is no. There are people I know that would have taken one look at him and made sure he didn't get any where near them. In my mind, I was just sitting there, why not let him snooze on me if that is what he wanted.
I'm not writing this for applause or self congratulations. But it made me give serious thought to the people I have in my life.
It isn't that hard to sit quietly and allow an animal some comfort in a warm lap. And yet not everyone would have been open to the experience. Now...some may have changed their minds when they found out the additional information about him, but I think that disregards the original premise - that comfort should not have requirements or restrictions. It should be freely given regardless of circumstance.
Sometimes we have people in our lives that give voice to their opinions about what WE should be doing with our OWN lives. The thing I want this to make you...and me...think about is how we let those outside voices affect our decisions. And maybe start to limit the effect those voices have on how WE choose to live our lives.