March 27, 2006

The Cat House Down The Street

When I was about 11 or so my cat had kittens. Three I think, but I can't recall for certain. The time came as when kittens no longer needed mom and the parents (mine, not the kittens) needed a bit less expenses. So we did what every child is made to do in that situation; we put the kittens in a box and went door to door with the hopes (on the part of our parents at least) that a combination of pathos and winsomeness would induce some poor, sentimental fool, to take at least one of the kittens off our hands.

Door to door we went, without much luck, until we reached one house where, though refused, the lady of the house suggested "That house around the corner. I know she has a few cats; perhaps she'll be willing to take in another." Unfortunately there was no answer and we returned with three still unwanted kittens. Not to worry, I assured my mother "The lady that has a cat house down the street wasn't home, we'll try again and maybe she might take one."
Luckily the plate my mother was holding wasn't so important.
Then she explained the meaning of the phrase I just used and why it was inappropriate to our neighbors/

Flash forward about 37 years, to our home here in Israel, where we also have three kittens in need. We aren't having much luck and part of me is secretly glad. The Wit accuses me of being a Cat Lady to be and he is right; I could easily see myself takling in one cat after another, one lost sad pup in need of a home. I can see twenty litter pans and plates full of food and water scattered throughout my home, while bills pile up unpaid and the house slowly deteriorates into a horror.

Good intentions can so easily go wrong.
But I want to save the world. I wish I could do more than I do and sometimes I feel overwhelmed.
Who do I, with our limited funds, help? Who gets the support and who must seek elsewhere? How much to this person/group/cause and how much to that?

Sometimes it just seems so hard; I wish that it could be more like taxes. You get a list of needy and a given amount of time and or money owed for each that you file promptly, with possible penalties for failure, along with your taxes. Then I can dismiss the ills of the world and go on with life a whole lot easier; I already gave, it is here in black and white. See?

I don't have to think about Dafur; not on my list. I spent my quota on Katrina, or the blind or the starving. I am AOK in the charity department, in the caring for humanity department. No worries there!

Effort can be directed, by the governing body, at the most important issues of the year, and the world as a whole can eliminate one sorrow at a time from the global pain list.

Of course there are flaws. We aren't suppose to be able to dismiss someone else's pain so easily, even if they aren't on our list. We are one world and the pains are shared, or should be shared, somewhat, by us all. We should feel joy about ending or even minimizing the pain of another, even a little bit. So I guess it all has to stay a bit messy and disconcerting.

I guess there really is no other way.

Posted by Rachel Ann at March 27, 2006 08:01 AM | TrackBack

You can't help everyone and you can't solve the world's problems. That is the sad part.

What isn't sad, is that you can save one little part of it.

I, too, have to satisfy myself with saving just one little part of the world.

I have a dog from the pound.

I have a cat from a rescue club.

And I adopted a child from foster care.

I like to think if everyone did those three things, it would make this world a little nicer.

Posted by: Julia at March 27, 2006 10:17 AM

I think the context of helping or giving is not to eliminate our personal grief over the plight of others, but rather to mix a bit of joy in our pain by doing some small thing to help. That's the only way to create a balance. I was angry about the imbalance when a friend of mine gave all his money to missions then showed up at my door needing food and money so he could eat and bail his car out of the shop.

Posted by: Roberta S at March 27, 2006 04:16 PM

I understand your feelings well...if only we had more to share...and I want to do so in the future. We have bills to pay off, but somehow when something is nearby, somehow we manage to share and still have more than enough. The world is so full of sorrow and need...and if those who had so much would share just a bit more...then we know that possibly everyone would have enough to survive at least. Well, it goes back to the heart attitude doesn't it? We do the best we is all we can do.

Posted by: Elizabeth at March 28, 2006 05:40 AM

I can totally relate too. I just trapped a cat that lives in my office parking lot. I got him fixed. I tried like crazy to find a home for him but to no avail and had to return him to the parking lot. But at least now he won't be getting into fights and won't make any more wild kitties. Life will be better for him than it was though not as great as I'd like it to be. We do what we can. It's all we can do.

Posted by: esther at March 30, 2006 04:52 AM
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