“Heaven is a radical act of grace on God’s part.””Grace strikes us when we are in great pain and restlessness. It strikes us when we walk through the dark valley of a meaningless and empty life. It strikes us when our disgust for our own being, our indifference, our weakness, our hostility, and our lack of direction and composure have become intolerable to us. It strikes us when , year after year, the longed-for perfection of life does not appear, when the old compulsions reign with us as they have for decades, when despair destroys all joy and courage. Sometimes at that moment a wave of light breaks into our darkness, and it is as though a voice were saying: “You are accepted.” Paul Tillich
I decided to go rescue unconditional love from the pound the other day. And this little 15 pound half chihuahua, half beagle has rescued me. I feel like I’ve known him my whole life. He’s a great cuddler and he’s adventuresome. And I think he’s pretty handsome and intelligent too, with the deepest brown eyes. He loves to crawl under the comforter of my bed and keeps my legs warm. I’m not sure how he breathes down there, but he seems to like it and sleeps through the night. We walk together and today he discovered the creek and just jumped in. What an adventuresome spirit he has. And he loves to sit with me in my lap and watch tv and read with me. He tells me he loves me all the time and I return the sentiment. Much gratitude for this little fella!
Last year on Valentine’s Day a friend came to my door with a little pot of baby roses. They were beautiful, but the sentiment was weird. He handed them to me and said, “I guess you’re as close to a Valentine as any.” Gee thanks, I said and laughed. Then I went and retrieved my card for him,,,,,just in case he came by. It was a funny one and I think he laughed but can’t remember.
I got married on Valentine’s Evening in 1975. I was 19. It was a huge candlelight ceremony. My brother fainted twice during it. We forgot to kiss. My new husband had a bloody nose during the reception and his dad picked us up at hotel the next morning to go to the airport. When we got to Padre Island we tried to rent a car to go to Mexico but they wouldn’t let us because we were under age. We had three gorgeous children and he had an affair on his first business trip and we divorced when these three beautiful kids were 2, 3, and 9. I should have known the ceremony, reception and honeymoon were a sign of things to come.
I never remarried. I really can’t remember too many neat Valentine’s Days. I think on our 10th anniversary we went to a hotel in town and I got a stomach bug and spent the night in the bathroom puking all night while he called room service for a steak and watched tv. That was unfortunate.
So, I’m taking applications this year for Valentine’s Day. I don’t know, does that sound a little bold? Well, I just thought I’d give it a try again. Holidays can be stressful enough…so I thought I’d grab it by the horns and see what happens.
May the best man win.
What a ride these past couple months have been. A pretty bumpy one at that. Holidays can really be a challenge. I think I started doing holiday baking the end of October because I was so excited about being with someone during the holidays for once and the kitchen here is the biggest I’ve ever had. It was fun to share the final products with friends and neighbors down the road and I put on a few more love handles from indulging myself. However, love was just not in the air, no matter how hard I tried to spread it. I kept thinking like I always do during the Christmas season; “there will be a Christmas miracle, I just know it, just wait for it.” And yes it was fun to take treats and gifts to a lonely soul down the road and his old ornery self did tear up. And on Christmas Eve when Santa Claus walked into the old historical church holding the baby Jesus and delivered it down the aisle to the 150 year old crèche and picked up a little child and gave her a big hug, that was special. And I spent weeks thinking about the perfect gifts of comfort for a special person in my life and how and when I would present them. And then the day came and it was not so great and all the expectations of a miracle or just a little acceptance turned into melted mountain snow trickling down a slippery slope of pure disappointment and sadness. So I will continue to take pictures of the beautiful sunsets on this other side of the moon, until I find another place to light. I will still have expectations of miracles though, since I live amongst the natural ones in this awesome forest. Miracles of love and acceptance and I will never give up this wish. Ever.
have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to
order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house
into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our
past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.~ Melody Beattie
“Ruthie, here Ruthie, where are you Ruthie?” I chanted outside the car window, on a recent visit, while driving down a Lawrence alley. I was looking for my cat Ruthie who found a new home in Lawrence, Kansas one winter day about 4 years ago.
She was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota and first adopted by me when she was a tiny little kitten. We had a good 5 years together. Oh my. That makes Ruthie 9 years old? Wow. I didn’t realize that until now. How time flies when you are having fun.
Anyway, to get on with one of her stories. Cat stories. I never thought I would ever have a cat story. I don’t even really like cats very much. Just my Ruthie. My oldest daughter, Jenny made me, forced me, dragged me to the Golden Valley Humane Society in Minnesota so that I could buy a companion. Actually, I think she and her husband paid for her. I didn’t think I needed a companion, however, my daughter was adamant. They needed me to have better boundaries (not visit their crib so much) so Jenny thought this might help. I had followed them to Minneapolis about 9 years ago while Tom went to graduate school. I originally rented a place across the street from them. Jenny invited me.
Ruthie was unique. Most cat owners describe their cats that way, however, really, she was special. In good ways and not so good ways. Sometimes Ruthie thought she was a dog and when she heard people in my hallway or at the outer door she would run to our door and bark. I love it. She was also very intuitive and when I was ill, she would pounce gently to my side in bed and cuddle up with me. She also had a bit of a personality disorder,,,,not just the multiple personality kind (thinking she was a dog) but she liked to sneak up on people, fly through the air and land on their shoulders. Not cool. Especially when a particular guest was holding a full glass of icy lemonade. Ruthie decided to welcome her to my living room with one of those flying through the air episodes and I ended up with a very flustered screaming guest and a lemonade stain on my ceiling. Sometimes I would take 4-5 day trips and have someone check on her food and water occasionally. When I would return, she would run at my heals bitching me out with her whiny meows, for leaving her. That would last about 3 days.
Tom graduated and Jenny, Benny and Tom moved to Lawrence, Kansas.
So Ruthie and I lived in my brownstone four blocks from Lake Harriet happily ever after until I decided to move to Colorado. I had a long talk with her and told her I was going to have to give her to someone else and I would try to keep her in the family so we could continue our love-hate, co-dependent relationship together. My son reluctantly said he would take her. He lived in Oklahoma.
I went to Petco or Pet Smart, one of those mega pet stores, not sure which and bought her a fancy soft sided mobile home and some dander spray for my son’s benefit. He has had allergy issues since he was a kid. I put her in her mobile home in the front seat of my CRV with the trailer hitched behind and took off for Colorado. This was Thanksgiving weekend. My first stop was Lawrence, Kansas to have Thanksgiving dinner with all my kids, spend the night and then take off for my cabin in the woods. (The owner of this cabin said no cats allowed, or I would have kept her). When I got there, Taft immediately started sniffling, wheezing and complaining about Ruthie.
So I put her outside the house in her soft sided mobile home. Ruthie got out. The weather was not looking so great and I had to make plans to leave earlier for Colorado before a big snowstorm hit. We searched the neighborhood for Ruthie. Jenny said she would put up signs and if she found Ruthie she and Tom would take her to the NO KILL shelter there in Lawrence. She said, that was all she could do. She also had allergies and only liked Ruthie because she helped keep me out of her hair when we lived in Minneapolis together. I could see a look of relief on Taft’s face.
So I kissed and hugged my family and set out on my Colorado adventure. Two weeks later Jenny called me and said they found Ruthie.
Now this is where the story gets really good.
Jenny said that the neighbor that lived behind her came up to her and asked her if she was the person looking for the cat. Jenny nodded affirmatively. He said that when he got up this morning he walked downstairs to the kitchen and there was a cat on his kitchen table. Jenny, laughed and said, yes, that sounds like Ruthie. The neighbor seemed startled and said, what did you say the cat’s name is? She repeated, Ruthie. He then said, today is the year anniversary of my mother Ruth’s death.
The cat on the kitchen table was indeed Ruthie. She had found her new home.