I used to have a cat that hated to be held. She always wanted to be in the same room with me—in fact, if I left for too long, she would meow (or yowl)—but she didn’t want to actually touch me. Definitely not a lap cat.
Well, one morning while I was getting ready for work, I dropped a glass dish, shattering it all over the floor. It was everywhere—under the fridge, down the hallway; some pieces had even made it into the dining area. The pieces were small and sharp, and if anyone stepped on them, it would have made for a very painful morning. Needless to say, I was barefoot.
Luckily, my roommate was still home. They were able to get to the kitchen (with shoes on!) and, quite literally, sweep me out of a corner. Seeing the broom in their hand was like watching sun rays appear from behind a dark cloud—until I saw my cat. My fourteen-year-old, absent-minded, never-looks-where-she’s-walking cat. And she was walking straight towards me, who was surrounded by tiny bits of broken glass. So, as any good pet mom would, I picked her up.
Usually I can get away with holding my cat for a maximum of thirty seconds, but it takes a bit longer to sweep up hundreds of glass shards—about fifteen minutes longer. For my cat, it felt like a small eternity. She tried everything to get out of my arms. Pushing, shoving, meowing, growling, clawing—you name it, she tried it. She just didn’t understand that I was restraining her for her own good, or that I would let her go as soon as the situation was safe again.
In that moment, my cat reminded me so much of myself. I remember plenty of moments growing up when my parents would limit my freedom with no explanation. I would be furious, determined that my parents didn’t trust me, or they didn’t think I could handle a situation, or they thought I was still a child. But really, they could just see more than I could see. They could see all of life’s sharp glass shards that were surrounding us. As soon as they finished sweeping them up (or, in some cases, showed me how to sweep them up myself), they let me go. And after all was said and done, I was better for it.
I don’t know about you, but I felt a lot more grateful for their efforts in that moment. Sometimes, when someone who loves you can see more than you can, you just have to let them hold you until it’s safe for you to walk around again.
Becca Anderson is the author of multiple books, including Prayers for Hard Times and Every Day Thankful. She loves to share her original content and excerpts from her books, which are often collections of writings, quotes, or mini-biographies from or about a number of inspiring people, in hopes that these people’s inspiring words and actions can help others as much as they’ve helped her.