I have noticed that it's easier to be pessimistic than it is to be optimistic. Hope may be the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, but listening to it sing requires some work. It's easier to tune it out than it is to pay attention.
But sometimes, things happen to remind you that you need to hold on to the song.
I have been discouraged by the stray animal situation around my apartment. I think it may simply be related to apartment living -- sometimes, when you have a population that changes regularly (which isn't unusual in an area with a high population of university students), pets get abandonded. I don't agree with it, but I understand why it happens.*
So I try to help the stray animals. Mostly, they're cats.
Some rescue attempts go really well. Some go poorly. And sometimes, I must confess, I wonder why I'm bothering when no one else seems to care.*
But sometimes, I am surprised.
Bob the Himalayan has been camping out in the shrubs in front of my building. He has taken to meowing at me when I come in or go out. So I talk to him. Sometimes he comes close enough that I could just touch his head with my fingertips if I stretched all the way forward, very very slowly. His big blue eyes look at me. "Meow! Meow!" He is skinny and filthy and obviously skittish.
I bring him food and set the dish far back, under the trees, so that he can eat it undisturbed.
Yesterday when I brought out his food, I saw that there was a water dish next to it.
I did not leave a water dish.
Someone else had noticed Bob.
Today, I saw that the food dish I had left was empty.
But there was another dish that had also been placed out, in a different spot. It was full.
So was my heart.
Listen -- the world is full of problems and struggles, and I know that there are bigger causes and sufferings that need help. I also know that seeing some other people in my building reach out to help this one cat -- and to help me to help him -- has let me hear that sweet, wordless song. Because if total strangers can band together and reach out for one cat, what could we do if more of us stood together and made larger efforts for each other?
I think we could change the world.
And I think we should.
*Okay, that's a lie. I don't understand it at all. How hard is it to take an unwanted pet to a shelter where it could find someone else to love? Why on earth do people think it's okay to shoo an animal out the door and then just drive away, leaving it alone, hungry, and scared?
*how this is even possible is another thing that I fail to understand, but it often seems that way.