Eric Mayer

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I don't post to this journal every day. When I try, I seem to quickly run out of ideas. Yet seldom does a day go by when I don't read things on other journals which spark ideas.

For instance, at Reenie's Reach yesterday, Irene Fulton wrote in the The New Dog about how it took Jessie, rescued from a shelter's death row, almost four years to adjust completely to her new life:

Her recovery got me to thinking about the length of time required to regain trust, be content, and how we humans struggle with these issues. None of us moves through life without hiccups, trauma. Sometimes it takes years, just like it took Jessie.

Irene draws from the story a lesson for us humans who are too impatient to heal. I thought about our late cat.

Rachel appeared at my door on a bitterly cold November day, on the verge of starvation. He (yes, "he" -- my toddlers named him) had once been someone's pet, evidenced by his missing claws. Cast out into the wilds, or having unwisely given in to that siren song cats all seem to have in their heads, he'd been unable to care for himself. When we took him in he was little more than an ambulatory skeleton wrapped in a few scraps of threadbare fur.

He lived with me for fifteen years and grew fat. He was a comical cat and the friendliest I've ever seen. Though I couldn't help wondering if the real reason he raced to greet total strangers wasn't because he hoped they might be bearing food.

Rachel remained a glutton to his dying day. He'd eat as much as you put in his bowl, even if it was four times what he needed. The sound of a cupboard door opening sent him into a frenzy. Odd for a cat. I think it was ingrained in him by his ordeal.

Life isn't long enough to heal some of the things that happen to us. Perhaps no amount of time would suffice. As the years pass our situations may change, practically every cell in our bodies may be replaced, yet some hurts remain like the phantom pain from amputated limbs.

We aren't cats. We don't necessarily mewl piteously at our empty bowl. We bury the hurts or construct elaborate paths around them, and that is what we call healing.

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