It was late, and I was really tired when we pulled into the empty parking lot where the kitten fosters eagerly awaited our arrival.
My fatigue quickly disappeared as I relayed the information I learned about each kitten from the sanctuary owner—the distinguishing marks, the behavioral quirks, who needs to stay together, and the meaning of their chosen names.
As the fosters marveled, laughed, and cared, I felt at home with people I’d never met.
Before we said our goodbyes, the owner of the local rescue pulled me aside.
“We could really use you your spark at the shelter,” she said. “Would you think about maybe attending some of the Adoption Days, just to talk to the folks who are looking to adopt?”
“Like an Animal Ambassador?” I said excitedly, my five-year-old heart barely able to contain itself.
“Yes. Just making people feel comfortable, answering questions, letting the animals shine. You are so good at that.”
You are so good at that.
That’s what she was saying.
You are so good at caring.
It was the first time in the 2022 Summer of Despair that my tender heart seemed less of a problem and more of a solution.
Walking around in a state of Red Alert, when breaking news overlaps with more breaking news, was starting to take a serious toll on my mental health.
I’d confided in my friend, Kerry, that the number of issues facing our country right now was so overwhelming that I felt myself shutting down. Kerry encouraged me to listen to what my heart was telling me I needed right now. That is why I accepted the request to transport eleven kittens so they could have a chance at a better life.
And through that long car ride with the non-animal person who loves me…
And through that chorus of mewing kittens…
And through that drop-off meeting with kind fosters…
And through that moment of being seen by the rescue owner…
I no longer wanted to shut down; I wanted to show up.
“Action is always an antidote for despair.” — Dr. Mary Pipher
I read that profound statement in an article my dad sent me last week. He always knows what my heart needs, and I knew who to call in for the job.
My younger self – uninhibited, brave, curious, and fully alive.
And I share this story today in hopes that you might call your younger self into the fight against daily despair.
Grab your lane and let no one tell you what is worth fighting for.
You don’t need anyone’s permission to care.
And caring is what you do so well.
I know because you are here.
And I am so grateful you are here so I can tell you this:
“We could really use your spark in the world.”
In future history books, you and I (and our younger selves) will be the good news.