Santana addressed me telepathically. My heart goes out to the many cats who are hungry tonight.
Like you, you mean? Do you want something to eat?
No, thank you.
Well, what cats are you talking about?
At this happy time of year, when we gather to feast on food and fellowship, it pains me to think of cats less fortunate than myself.
Santana doesn't usually talk like Charles Dickens. Something was up. Well, that's just about every cat in the world. Still, it's kind of you to think of them, Sant.
I feel we should do something to help them.
I want to give them all my liver diet food. Santi hates his liver diet food. They all do. It's terribly expensive, and we have a whole case of it.
Well, you're not supposed to give people what you don't want. That's not the idea of Christmas. Besides, you should be eating that.
That stuff makes me want to barf. Santi was beginning to show his true colors. I thought his altruism was a little ornate. Sudden, too. People should have really good food at Christmas, you know.
It's still Advent, Sant. I've known people who fasted during Advent.
Well, they were sickos. Are you going to the store anytime soon?
Ben leaps suddenly up on the bed beside me, landing inches from my head and scaring me half to death. I'm not all that glad to see you, I tell him sternly, when my heart stops pounding. He is the one who insists on getting in between me and the keyboard, and I'm having enough trouble writing as it is. He gives me a quack and begins to butt at my chest with his head. I think he may have been taken from his mother too soon, but that was a good twelve years ago. It's time to move on.
Santana joins us on the bed just in time, and soon Ben is absorbed in giving him a thorough face-washing with his tongue, the way a mother cat does her kitten. They groom each other at least once a day, and it's a sweet, unexpected thing to see, the two big old cats taking good care of each other. I guess it's another sign that they didn't get quite enough Mama when they were little, but they seem to have worked out a way to make up for it that makes sense for both of them.
This a time of year when humans long for love, too. A Christmas song can send you stumbling out of the hardware store in tears, the errand that brought you there forgotten, drowned in a rush of memory of what you had, but have no longer. Or maybe what you never had, and always wanted. But there's a way to find love and meaning besides the one you're missing now, whatever that one was. We make new families when our old ones have left us behind. We find new loves when we lose the old ones -- not like the old ones, for no two are ever alike. Was it your mother, your father? You won't find another one, but the love you learned is still in you, waiting to be used again in another way. A spouse? They'll never make another one like that one, either, and you may never marry again, but you do still know what you learned from life together.
How do you find love again? By being a complete person, one who knows how to give and how to receive even the smallest thing with a contentment willing to grow into joy. Our loves all help form us into loving people, and we don't ever have to lose that. Because, no matter what has been taken from us, we are still who we are.