Being Kind to a Daughter’s Cat

A Year of Being Kind blog – Tuesday, August 26, 2014

cat drawing from 1000illustrations (Tumblr)

cat drawing
from 1000illustrations (Tumblr)

Being Kind to a Daughter’s Cat

One of my daughters has a cat. And a roommate. What to do when both she and her roommate are out of town? Ask her mom to be of service, of course. To take care of the cat, I mean.

Toby, the domestic shorthair cat, is quite affectionate. She’s tiger-striped (in shades of brown), with a white bib and paws. She doesn’t mew very loudly, but she does make her presence known. For example, when I’m typing on my laptop—like I am right now. Yes, I’m at Toby’s apartment. She’s been fed, her water’s changed, and I’ve cleaned her litter box. She is regularly coming over to me and asking for petting. I’m happy to oblige! (At least, being careful not to touch my face with a hand full of cat dander. Allergies.) That’s how I’m being kind, today.

Toby makes me think of various pets I’ve shared my house with in my life, or have been in my sister’s life. When I was born, there was a large, friendly Airedale terrier resident in my parents’ house. My earliest memories were of her. Fond memories, indeed! Then, when I was in the middle grades, my parents got another Airedale. A bit smaller, but equally as friendly! Such good girls. So affectionate. And the adventurous, striped cat that shared our apartment when my older girls were small? They all certainly made me feel good. I don’t want to forget my sister’s dogs over the years: the Labrador mix, the German shepherd mix, and the Vizsla? All faithful companions, every one. God, thank You so much for bringing animals and people together! So helpful. So loving. So inspiring!

A recent online article I read spoke of depression, and several simple ways to lessen its effects. A proper, healthy diet and regular exercise featured highly in this article. However, the article also mentioned companionship of pets. Just petting an affectionate dog or cat helps me feel better. Amazing, I know. This is one sure-fire way for me to take care of myself, to be kind to myself. Of course, sharing a house or apartment with pets is not for everyone. But for those who are able, our animal friends are wonderful, loving companions.

Besides, I can be of service to my daughter, and help out her cat, at the same time. Sounds to me like a win-win-win situation!

@chaplaineliza

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Not One Hundred Percent

A Year of Being Kind blog – Thursday, January 9, 2014

hospital patient

Not One Hundred Percent

I didn’t feel one hundred percent today. Sub par. Nevertheless, I dragged myself out of the house this morning. Once I had started the day and was outside, I felt better. (I ought to take my own advice, since that’s what I’ve said to my children for years when they don’t feel very chipper in the morning.)

I had the opportunity to be with a senior for a bit today. This senior needed some assistance and companionship, and I was happy to provide it. We didn’t talk too much, but this senior was content to simply sit with me there as a companion. I was very much aware of the ministry of presence. My being-with this senior was loving and giving of myself.

I know what the ministry of presence is, but some do not. Simply put, it is not a human doing, but instead becoming a human being. Simply being present with another person. I’ve been told by many people that my caring, less-anxious presence can be gentle and calming. Sometimes that’s what anxious or frightened or upset people need. And oftentimes, I provide it.

Several of my former supervisors mentioned this aspect of my character (my giftedness?). I think back to how I began this post, and connected it to a verbatim I wrote for my first chaplain internship. The verbatim concerned a senior couple at the hospital where I did my clinical rotation. However, one of the most distinctive things about that in-depth paper was one of the learning issues that I dealt with at the time. How do I manage to navigate and work when I don’t feel up to par? Not one hundred percent? I was not feeling quite chipper for the clinical day at the hospital, either. Yet God was still able to use me.

I did pray before I went to the floors for my clinical chaplain visits that day. It’s amazing. I wrote this particular verbatim almost ten years ago, yet I can still see and hear portions of the conversation and interaction in my mind. Upon reflection afterwards, I was awed by the openness of both the husband and the patient. God has given me an open heart and open ears to listen to people who are hurting. That’s a big reason why I went to seminary in the first place—to get further training in how to more intelligently, actively listen to people, and to walk with them as they go through difficult places in their lives. I am surprised at how little I did say to both of these dear seniors, reading over the verbatim just now. Yet the couple seemed really happy with my visit, and really wanted me to come back.

This situation in my verbatim was early in my experience as a chaplain. However, even then I used the ministry of presence. Today I come alongside of people, being with them. Sometimes I talk with them, and sometimes I’m quiet. For example, like I was with the senior I helped today. I tried to be a gentle, friendly companion, and I think I succeeded.

@chaplaineliza