Wednesday, July 18, 2012

MY CAT, MY TEACHER




MY CAT, MY TEACHER
by Linda Rondeau
Editor, Geezer Guys and Gals

I dreaded the prospect of aging. The inevitable had come like taxes and morning breath. As I gazed into the mirror, I concluded I could no longer hold to the illusions of eternal youth. But, how does one gracefully glide into the night while still worshipping the day? I looked for someone to teach me and found a hero in my cat.
Already grown when she found us, she stayed for another twenty years.  
We already owned two male cats and hadn’t wanted any more. Yet, there she was, sitting on our porch, licking her fur, and acting like the princess of 900 Greene Street. She knew she had found a home before we even knew she needed one.
It was nearing Christmas and a familiar scripture came to memory, pulling at my senses like a nagging child:  “I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me (Matthew 25:45). 
But, like the Levi in the Good Samaritan story, we passed her on the other side while she huddled into a cold corner of the porch.
 When she clung to her post, I felt remorse, as if she’d been sent to us somehow.  After three days, I could stand the guilt no longer. We brought in her and named her Noel in honor of the season. 
At first, Noel roamed while we slept and became invisible during the day, occasionally allowing a glimpse of her brown, tiger-stripped body as she scurried up the stairs to hide. She remained secluded, refusing to eat while the home’s denizens were active. 

Soon, her fear gave way to curiosity.  She sauntered into the living room to examine us, yet remained aloof. The slightest attempt at affection sent her flying back up the steps to her secret place.  
This sleuthing continued for the next six months until the day she decided to engage us. I was reading a book and sipping a freshly brewed cup of coffee when I became cognizant of loud purring and an inexplicable weight on my tummy. Distracted from my comfortableness, I found Noel resting on my lap. Then she started nipping at my hand. 
 I thought about ignoring her just as she had ignored us for the last six months. Tenacious to the core, she continued nipping until I had no choice but to stop reading and either pet her or push her off my lap. I chose the first option, and the purring resumed. It was the beginning of a long and great friendship. 
Noel’s tenacity continued to characterize her disposition into her old age. In spite of her hefty bulk and arthritic joints, she fought for first sitting rights. Even to the last, she battled with our two male cats for lap supremacy, the younger felines scooting for safety whenever Noel hissed.   
Noel braved whatever life threw her way, including the ravages of age. She withstood pain with the same fierce determination as that blustery, yuletide day she first decided to grace us with her love.
I am grateful she found us. Among the many things she taught us was that life is precious at any age.



Available wherever books are sold
Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel (The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight),  LINDA RONDEAU, writes for the reader who enjoys a little bit of everything. Her stories of redemption and God’s mercies include romance, suspense, the ethereal, and a little bit of history into the mix, always served with a slice of humor. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, mother of three and wife of one very patient man, Linda now resides in Florida where she is active in her church and community.  Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com.  Her second book, written under L.W. Rondeau, America II: The Reformation, Trestle Press, is a futuristic political thriller published is now available in ebook on Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.  Print edition will be available September 7. 



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9 comments:

Patty Froese said...

I'm in my thirties, and I look to the women around me to learn how to age. I think it's something important to learn. We're taught how to be wives, mothers, but I think learning to age is equally important. I love this blog, because I see intelligent, funny people showing me how to age gracefully and with humor. :)

Rev. Michael Duncan said...

How true! There are times that I am too nostalgic for the past, wanting to have the energy and stamina of my youth. But, the trade off is worth it--wisdom and grace and a faith built upon years of striving (and often failing) to follow my Lord.

"The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day." - Proverbs 4:18

Laurie said...

I love animals and enjoyed this post very much. Thanks for giving me a smile.

TNeal said...

Enjoyed the wisdom wrapped in fur. Thanks for sharing, Linda.

Linda Rondeau said...

thank you all for stopping by. Use, fur can be educational, too.

Caroline said...

Linda, how precious. Thanks for the lesson, and whenever I see you I always think of you as a gracious person w/wisdom. :)

Linda Rondeau said...

@ Caroline

awwwww shucks. thanks.

Jessica Nelson said...

What a pretty cat! I love my own too.

Linda Rondeau said...

@ Jessica

Pets are special.