Beyond The Threshold of Fear Is A Better Life

Life with cats is wonderful, from laughter at their quirks and antics, to a tendered blooming heart at their sweetness. But one thing I find odd is the parallels that sometimes occur. It takes some introspective thought to see these sometimes, but maybe I see them more because I’m thoughtful and observant, quite like a cat.

So the most amazing thing happened here in Toby and Timba land. After 5 months of living in our new apartment, fearful Toby ventured out of my bedroom. The night before I decided to take him out and close my bedroom door. I placed the food and water bowls, along with the pop-up tunnel and cube configuration, into the hall area which for 5 months has been the Hall of Doom to Toby. He wasn’t out for long, and he stayed primarily by my door, crouched as low to the ground and as close to the door that he could get. After about 30 minutes I just gave up and opened the door and into the bedroom he fled.

Was it this exercise of forced confrontation, or was it the discouragement that must have seeped off of me when I let him back in to his personal chosen confines? I don’t know, but yesterday evening a loud bang against the bathroom door surely wasn’t just Timba. Lately Toby has come far enough out of my room for a little chase fest with Timba. Usually he scurries right back into the bedroom. But alas, too far from the door to close it, in walked Timba as usual. Why do cats feel the need to be with us in our ‘litter box’?

Suddenly, I see a grey head peep around the door frame, checking anxiously to and fro for danger danger danger, then in walks Toby to inspect the bathroom. Yay for a total breakthrough. Even better: later that evening Toby came out into the living room all on his own, and while crouched low to the ground, lean and long with outstretched neck, he indeed explored the entire area. He has been out of the room now all day today, finally living in the courage that cats are made to live in, and finally comfortable that this whole place is his whole home.

I,too, have been forced to confront my fears of the great unknown. I found out last Friday that my outsourced company is downsizing, so my position will be ending. While I will get one month of severance pay, the great unknown is still scary. There are interviews to be had, following devoted searches, cover letters, and postings of my resume. I have a few leads, and I have surprisingly little of the anxiety that I may typically have had in other seasons of life.

It is the shove that put me where I had previously been wanting to go on my own: into a position with better income and a better workplace culture. I love my 2 fellow outsourced employees, but for many months now we have been on separate floors and I am alone, virtually, on the floor with all of the folks who work and act like family. For some reason, it is just how they are: consciously or subconsciously keeping the outsourced outsider out of the inner loop. The isolation, frankly, has been a daily dying to me. I am sociable by nature – personable, connecting, highly valuing of people and relationships.

So thank God for that little shove. Thank God that Toby responded to his own little shove. Together we each venture out into places more exciting, more spacious and liberal and relationally healthy. I know Toby will thrive more, because his courage, confidence, and sense of ownership will increase as he settles into the Great Beyond. And I am only hoping (hoping and hoping) that my own Great Beyond carries an income that will not only relieve the years of stress and struggle, but allows me to have those few but very essential things for my own relief and happiness. There are cat trees and djembes and steel drums to be bought, there are drum workshops and maybe even guitar lessons to be had. There is the vet fund to be created, and aging parents to be helped. And for once in about 5 years, there is a Christmas in which I might actually be able to buy my friends and family some presents.

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