The older I get the more I realize how much I built my life around having a sense of control. And I see more and more how control is really an illusion. The sense of having control provides me a feeling of power, a sense of safety, protection, but it's really quite limited.
I notice my desire to control most frequently with the cats. I can do everything in the world to protect them and yet they will
still get sick and have problems. Maybe my attempts at control can provide some reduction in risk, but as much as I might like, I can't eliminate the risk.
The outdoor cats are just that, outdoor cats. Taking care of them quickly reveals the limits of my ability to keep them safe. Getting emotionally attached to feral cats is a setup for emotional pain, I can only do what I can do. Cats will be cats. Of course Oliver and Pierre are not really feral anymore and the ideal thing would be to bring them inside, but Oliver's territorial urine marking makes that unrealistic. Thankfully, they are both very clever and stick close to home, but that doesn't stop me from worrying! I worry and worry about those boys, especially when Oliver stays out all night or I'm traveling away from home.
A huge theme in all areas of my life over the past few years has been "trust the process". Willingness to let go of what I can't control and even some of what I can and lean deep into the fear - and trust. Trust Oliver. Trust my ability to grieve and get through an undesired outcome. Trust my community. Trust that joy will re-emerge after the tide of pain subsides. Trust my gifts and abilities. Trust God's love is enough to get me through whatever comes. It's been scary, very scary in fact, and it has been more rewarding, freeing, and life-giving than I ever could have imagined. Leaving behind the safe and familiar cage of fear and stepping out into the spontaneous, creative, freeing aspects of life, which at times still feels like stepping toward crazy. Over time I've noticed my emotional resilience building. I've noticed my courage and self-confidence growing. And I've noticed that I'm getting invited into bigger and bigger challenges.
One such really big challenge is on the horizon, one that has many unknowns, many factors that are out of reach of my ability to control. The invitation has been offered and I've accepted. This particular challenge will be very disruptive to our lives and especially the cats.
And I'm in - all in...
(to be continued)