Lessons from Chuck the Cat
Quakers have a strong belief in community. Our Meetings are not just a place to seek God and strengthen our own spiritual journeys, but also a place to nurture one another with loving care. In doing so, the world can see our communal witness of God working through us.
This week the passing of a special community cat reminded me that simple things, like a cat, can bind us and remind us that despite our differences, unconditional love can help us come together as a community.
Everybody in the small community where I taught loved Chuck, and Chuck never met a stranger. He roamed the school, church, Boy Scout meetings, and neighborhood homes. He demanded nothing but admittance to our presence. He plopped himself into the middle of parent teacher conferences as if he were a participant. He was able to calm children who just needed some love. How could we be upset with such a calm and gentle presence among us?
Chuck was a loving presence and everyone who knew him mourned his passing. His ability to bring together a whole community in love leaves a big void.
As his community mourned, I began to think about the importance of community. I began looking for words of wisdom on community. I particularly liked Mitch Albom's words: “The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.” Caring for others and unconditional love are a legacy.
So, thanks, Chuck, for reminding me that when we devote ourselves to others, we let God into our presence, and we are bound by His unconditional love. We are more open to seeing that Light of God in those around us. This simple act of letting God's presence in, and letting it work in our community, gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The Light shines as we treat others with that same love that we are given.
And, also for providing a reminder that that inspiration can come in simple places if we are open to seeking. Your legacy will be remembered for a long time.