And I got this love in me.
But it’s not just mine to keep.
Like treasure that’s buried deep.
I come alive when I set it free.
—Judah & the Lion, Love in Me
My daughters and I have been volunteering at a cat shelter for several months now. I knew it would be painful to fall in love with cats we couldn’t take home with us. I knew it would be painful to not be able to rescue them all. But I felt certain that the joy of this experience would outweigh the pain.
I knew this, yet something caught me off guard.
It was an email message from the shelter director to all the volunteers about an obtrusive chain that would be added immediately to the already padlocked cages. Apparently someone was caught in the act of tormenting an animal. The helpless victim was Bob the cat—five-year-old Bob who is already severely depressed because his owner had to give him up. Bob who meows a lot but loves to be free from his cage so he can explore.
The director’s email went on to list other cruel acts occurring over the past year in this small cat shelter housed in a local Petsmart. I tried to keep reading the email message, but when I got to the part about someone trying to pry a kitten out of the small opening at the bottom of the cage, I could not read anymore.
To be honest, I broke down.
I covered my face in my hands and cried. It may seem ridiculous to some, but my heart for animals is huge. My hope for the world in which my children and future grandchildren will live in is even bigger.
But not then.
Not in that moment.
Suddenly, things looked especially bleak.