This story begins with a black and white fur ball, a howling, meowing, fit-in-the-palm-of-your-hand kind of kitten, whose tiny bruised nose once pink has a gash trailing a mysterious path.
“We’ll name him Einstein,” my husband Bill said with the force of one christening a ship, “because he was smart enough to survive the woods and cry until we let him in.”
And let him in we did.
If we’re smart, we learn this brilliant cat named Einstein’s early trauma was meant to embolden us all to come out of our woods, and, like him, voice our pain until we’re heard.
For twelve years, Einstein has learned to trust me as his mother image, dependable safe place-person, and ultimate protector. I accept gladly.
Since Bill doesn’t like indoor pets, Einstein slept in our sunroom with the other rescue cats. (The most we’ve had is four, okay maybe five for a short period.) Every morning, weather permitting, the kittens and cats were released into the wild (or the wilds of the patio).
When Einstein realized I had a habit of coming out of the basement door in the morning hours to fill bird feeders, he approached me to let him in for a day in my study or art room.
The first time I brought him in to spend the day with me in my study, he dove into a project to make himself his own special bed. While at my computer desk working, I heard him behind me busily rustling through a large plastic bag in the corner of the room. Crawling through a sack of discarded clothes meant for our children’s home resale shop, he soon emerged with a corner of his selection between his teeth.
With great skill, he dragged the long silky fabric across the small workspace, laying it at my feet. His white bunny-rabbit paws formed a round pile for his bed. He leaned his upper body against my leg, purring contentedly.
It only took one time carrying him through our basement laundry room and up on our in-house elevator for him to catch-on. (FYI—don’t be impressed about the elevator—this old house has a life-sized dumbwaiter-type elevator. I use it several times a day to reach our laundry room.)
The second time I let Einstein into the basement, I let him snoop around while I started a load of laundry. I found E sitting patiently on the elevator, waiting to ride up with me. The rest is history now because he knows the drill; he invented the drill.
Yet, there were nights I observed Einstein in the sunroom exhibiting the aftereffects trauma inflicts. Removing his stuffed fish toy from the cats’ toy basket, Einstein paced in circles, his bright blue-and yellow toy clinched between his teeth. With the other cats eyeing him from their elevated thrones, Einstein wailed a mournful tune.
The following morning the stuffed fish was placed in one food bowl atop leftover dry cat food, his gray mouse toy in the other food bowl. They are food, right? Food for thought, maybe? Brilliant.
Yet, his actions made me wonder: what about the histories we don’t know of others who don’t express their pain?
Einstein’s abandonment as a kitten embedded trust issues for him with anyone besides me. The gash next to Einstein’s nose has healed a bit over the years, but the remaining scar—inner scar—causes me to wonder what happened.
Moreover, Einstein’s brilliance was dulled whenever he sensed a stranger on the property. He frantically buried under a cover on our pool table, his bulky body lurking about in a large mound. It was obvious to all that we had a cat in front of us, thinking he was invisible.
The only magic was in his mind. Einstein somehow believed, or wanted to believe, that he was hidden when the dark cloaked him. And maybe, in his catlike mind, he was shielded from this harm obscured.
Don’t we as humans do that?
What did Einstein experience in those woods? Was it his Nature versus the woods’ Nature event?
Have you ever questioned your own points of conflict as though your life story was a book’s plot–My Nature versus Nature: my inner nature with the free-flowing nature of living in this world? My parents’ Nature versus Mine: heredity and environment?
In hindsight I realize those ambling years when I felt unprotected. It was in my becoming a child under the protective care of a Loving Father, Redeeming Son, and Guiding Holy Spirit my Nature found its true brilliance.
Much like Einstein, my past pain reckoned me, so I could reckon with it and heal. As a result, like Einstein’s evolution, mine came from being in a safe trusting place with a trusted Caregiver.
And it was during my season of healing, I reverted to one of my childhood coping mechanisms for comfort: to love a cat.
Wildly enough, for that cat to love me back.
It happens you know, a cat loving past himself.
That’s what Einstein did with his scar like mine. When he pounces on my hand and hears me holler “No!” he immediately licks my wound before attacking again. I’m the one not so smart, offering a moving hand for his target practice.
Much like a faithful dog, Einstein follows me from room to room. Wherever I sit, if he’s not in my lap, he’s at my feet, still as stone. His fierce loyalty to me defies all “cat-enisms.”
And I recognize he defies his inner cat nature to do so.
Because we all know, cats don’t love just anyone. Yet, Einstein does. He trusts me to care for him through his lingering effects from his early trauma without his having to think about it.
So it is we also do for others without their realizing it sometimes. More so, it’s what we do for others when we’re truly free, and we do it without our realizing it. That’s love–automatic, spontaneous, un-manipulative, without a thought for ourselves, as close to God’s kind of love as we can get.
Einstein’s nature reads as one mysterious passage, wrapped in tales of life and love and healing and mending. Join Einstein as he goes to Portugal. Part 2 is happening in four days. FOUR DAYS!