Posted by: jevcat | June 24, 2010

Simple Gifts

I awoke this morning, as I often do, to find myself sandwiched between my Beloved and our elderly and substantial marmalade tabby.  My Beloved’s sleep is often restless, some of the medications he needs to take causing muscle spasms as he sleeps, but this morning, his body spoon-curved to follow mine, there was only a slight twitching of the arm that circles me.  Ozzie, who is 70 in people years, thinks he’s still a kitten and has cleverly positioned himself so that he is both nestled against me and directly under my Beloved’s hand, in case it should be so inclined as to pet. 

Sam, our golden retriever service dog, is asleep on the floor next to the side of the bed ostensibly belonging to my Beloved (he usually drifts more and more to my side during the night), keeping him close to the man he serves and, not coincidentally, catching the cool breeze coming through the bedroom door.  In winter, Sam often sneaks up onto the bed with us in the night, a guilty pleasure we are relieved he usually forgoes in summer – sleeping next to a 100-pound dog is like sleeping next to a small furnace.  From time to time, a whispery almost-woof tells me Sam is dreaming. 

Behind the closed bathroom door, an occasional squeak of protest announces the presence of our newest family member, four-week old George, in isolation until he gets over a case of worms.  He is named for the St. George Theatre down the street, in front of which we acquired him on Monday.  In truth, it’s soft-hearted Sam’s fault we have George.  He heard the kitten mewling and led us straight to the box in which a sad-faced mother and daughter were carrying George, on the way to the city shelter where he would probably have been euthanized.  They could not keep him and, our finances already in disarray, we still couldn’t resist the tiny, off-white tabby with blue points and a triangular Siamese face – or Sam’s big brown eyes, pleading with us to make things better. 

In the living room, Sofia, the seal-point snowshoe too proud to share, sleeps in lonely isolation.  She would so much rather be cuddled against her people, but she is too fearful of someone else getting more to share our attention – it must be all or nothing – and so she sleeps alone.  She has struck out at the others so often, I don’t think they would allow her to share now if she wanted to.  I know people like Sofia.

Outside the window, that same breeze cooling us ruffles the leaves, their shade of green varying as they move between sun and shadow, inside and out, while the branches dance.  It’s hazy, so the water glimpsed between the trees is more grey than blue, and the city across the harbor more suggestion than reality. 

I love this moment of morning, when I am the only one awake – and that only barely.  Beyond the bedroom door, in addition to Sofia’s alternating neediness and wrath, lies the discouraging job search I must pick up again, the clean laundry needing to be put away, the fear that the job won’t come soon enough to keep a roof over our heads, the anxieties over my Beloved’s health and how to manage expenses with no real income and well over a thousand dollars in vet expenses in the last several weeks.

But in the cool and quiet of the morning is a safe time, a time when gratitude washes over me for what I do have, rather than fear for what I don’t.  I feel God moving beneath the surface of things, as real as the unseen wind.

“Not here for high and holy things

We render thanks to thee

But for the common things of earth … ”

(Hymn 9, Hymnal 1982, Geoffrey Anketel Studdert-Kennedy)



  1. I’ve been mostly away from email for the last couple of weeks so had missed this. Blessings on George and your whole wondrous menagerie!

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