A Cat's Unconditional Love
Loneliness can be deeply debilitating when one has never experienced unconditional love and doesn't expect love to ever come their way. This was the case for me when Chico, a purebred Persian cat, came into my life. Together we embarked on a learning adventure I never thought possible. He filled an emptiness in my heart that I had covered over and protected from possible hurt and further damage.
He was 3 years old when I brought him home from the shelter where he had been left by an owner who could no longer keep him. His life as a show cat won him several first-place awards for his beauty and poise. It took about a year before we became inseparably bonded and he was elevated to human-status. He was the strong silent type who was totally aware of my every mood and movement. It was so inviting to be greeted at the door each time I returned home. He loved to play fetch with paper balls, go for walks on a leash in the neighborhood, or simply follow me from room to room and make sure I never felt alone.
He was a great protector, emulating the role of a guard-dog. We lived in a basement suite in the country and each time someone came to visit, he would first greet them at the door to make sure they were allowed to enter. Or, if the door was open would stand between us until I gave him notice to move. One time, in a different apartment, the fire alarm went off while I was asleep and I didn't wake up. He jumped on the bed and pawed at my head until I did, making sure we made it out safely. He was such a faithful companion.
It was through Chico's constant love that I gradually opened my heart to more fully experience love from God and people. God used Chico's devotion to teach me that love could be faithful and unconditional. It took a cat to break down the strong wall which had protected me all those years. My heart awakened and I began to trust and develop close friendships. While home was still my safe haven, I could let others into my life and allowed healing to begin.
Chico was my companion for 12 wonderful years. It was one of the saddest days of my life when his kidneys failed and I had to put him down. I remember with gratefulness what he taught me all those years ago. It aroused a desire in me for a deeper experience of this new-found acceptance and affirmation.
This greater blessing came into my life a few years later when I met the love of my life. This man challenged my fragile belief that love was never meant for me. He became my safe place, where I could be true to myself and allow the hidden aspirations of my heart to emerge. It amazes me how God took a fragile, hidden heart and brought it to a place where it could open wide to the love of another human being (my husband.) Loneliness is part of being human, but I am so very thankful that I am no longer alone and can freely share my life with another.
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