The other night around 2:00 a.m. I heard the bread machine beeping that it was finished, so I got up to take the bread out and put the cheesecake I had baked for my doctor for his birthday into the fridge. I did pretty well without my glasses and for being ¾ asleep. When I got back to bed, my chest started hurting. And you know, me being me, I thought “well, maybe I am dying now.”
And then I thought, if I were really to die right now, could I look back and be satisfied with everything? Could I die happy? NO was the answer that came back. Lots of little reasons came to mind:
-I haven’t gotten another email back yet from Whats-His-Face, about that Hoopitz
-There’s too much uneaten chocolate in the fridge
-No one has taken me out to a movie in a really, really long time
-What about all that unused yarn?
-I haven’t sold a screenplay yet
And on and on…
But when that voice quieted there was another bigger reason that came to mind – I have not yet really learned to serve others. And I suspect this is important. Putting another’s needs before my own selfishness, without expecting anything in return, is probably a good lesson to learn.
Maybe I’ve been waiting for Something Big to happen, or some big cause that will be worth it for me to serve others. Or maybe I’ve been waiting for a really fantastic partner so that I can be supportive of him (and him of me). I don’t have kids, and won’t be having kids, so that’s out. Or maybe I’ve just been lazy up till now. But you know, I could start today, right in my own house.
A few days ago, I found out that my cat is depressed. She had been displaying some behavior that I thought was caused by a physical illness, so I took her to the vet. Half a day and $500 later, the conclusion is that she’s not happy. Well! That’s certainly no reason to pee on my bed, I’m thinking. But I’ve suspected this for a while and now I know it’s true – this cat was sent to me so that I would learn compassion, and I’ve done a pretty lousy job of it.
We tolerate each other, the cat and me – we are nice to each other when we want something, but the rest of the time I suspect we view each other as kind of gross, messy, and definitely in each other’s way. Well I need to love her anyway. I can’t say if she’ll do the same to me, but that’s not the point.
So we will put her on Chicken-Flavored-Cat-Prozac for a month. We will put her on a diet. I will drag that piece of string she likes around the house more. I will tease her with a laser pointer and lead her to a hidden treat as a reward, and I will give her some catnip when I get home from work. And I’ll keep the birdfeeder full, for entertainment purposes, and buy some toys that she may or may not like. (But I’ll still lock her out of my bedroom most of the time.)
Obviously I didn’t end up dying last night. But I did learn something which I will start practicing today. I’ll love the cat and do more to make sure she is happy. I will serve the cat. It’s a start.