Sunday, December 11, 2016

What It Means To Be Human...

Several weeks ago, blogger A Cuban In London  Https://cubaninlondon.blogspot.com, asked the following question in a comment to me: What does it mean to you to be human?

While he may by this time feel I've forgotten his inquiry, it has instead been incubating in my head, feline death and drama notwithstanding. One of the ways in which I understand my own humanity is through my interaction with the animals who have chosen me as their guardian.

 Raising four cats over the last twenty-three or so years has stretched not only my knowledge about their health, well being and development, but piqued my interest in their distinct and often quirky personalities. Because I know them, I can often sense when something is amiss and have averted possible tragedies for several of them, extending their lives. My observations that animals too have feelings and emotions have been confirmed by veterinarians specializing in behavioral medicine, several of whom have written books that are now widely available. The biggest partner in this endeavor has been their own longstanding and extremely patient veterinarian, a smart woman with a very laid back manner who never fails to answer the myriad questions I come up with.

With changes in their lives and mine, I have adapted the ways in which I do things, for me and for them, and learned to ask for help when needed. I've also begun to see the value of routine, structure and organization and though I still struggle with patience, that too has improved incrementally.

Though I'll readily admit that down deep, I love animals more readily than humans, my relations in the human realm altered when I began to associate with more animal lovers and noticed how other people extend themselves or fail to do so in the larger world. Charitable giving is now an ongoing practice in my life, not because I am supposed to be doing it but because the circumstances in which people find themselves can generally happen to any of us and I would want to be treated with dignity and seen as a reflection of greater humanity were I in their shoes.

I am also more aware of this country's governmental and social inequities and failures and feel the need to make some remedy, both in the animal and human realms, no matter how small. I believe we face dystopian times and each of us must bring to the table what we can and while a part of me simply wishes to get out of here and find a place of peace, my own circumstances make such a move extremely difficult.

Having lived through the eighties, I know that people will die as a direct result of the policies and governmental changes now on our horizon. This is not acceptable and I do not want to rationalize the reality of this. However, I am also acutely aware that when people or agencies look at me today, they do not see a former teacher, journalist, writer, mental health tech or a bilingual librarian but a disabled, Jewish woman over fifty in a wheelchair and someone who is expendable. As such, I sit firmly in the crosshairs of possibly the worst government this country has ever newly elected and must once again be prepared to write, protest, march or die, this time without the advantages of youth or longevity.

15 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

I frequently despair of our species, and think that the surest sign of other sentient life in our solar system is that they have NOT tried to contact us.
Like you, I find it easier to warm to animals than people. And also like you, I give what I can, and strive to help in ways which aren't financial.
Also like you, I am over 50, have disabilities (though I am not yet wheelchair bound) and am decidedly expendable. And fear for the future. Worldwide. Rather a lot of people have taken heart from your recent election and emerged from the woodwork.
In the interim, I do what I can. And take solace where I can.
Hugs.

e said...

Thank you for commenting...it is hard not to feel alone these days...thanks for your presence here and for caring. It means a lot.

e said...

Hugs to you, too!

Martha said...

What a wonderful, profound and thought provoking post. You are a good soul. I'm proud to know you.

the walking man said...

There is a world of difference between being targeted and being hit. I say let them aim at me--my will to live is greater than their will to destroy.

e said...

Thank you for that compliment. The feeling is mutual!

e said...

I hope they don't aim at either of us but I'll not be surprised if that happens.

Linda said...

I echo Martha's comment. Thank you so much for sharing.

e said...

Thank you for visiting!

Friko said...

A wonderful post. We live and learn. I know that is a cliche but it’s nevertheless true for many, if not most of us. we can only do our own very best and let the devil take the hindmost. Times are hard and the future unknowable, even though we may have a reasonably good idea what the prospects are. We may be afraid, but courage wins the day.

We can only give, to humans and animals. If we all do it, we may yet change the world.

A Cuban In London said...

Wow. What a post! :-) You answered my question and you didn't even need to include it in the first place. To me one of the things that makes me human is what you have just done: articulate your love for animals and analyse the current (perilous) human situation, not just in the States, but also in the UK and Europe at large. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

e said...

Thank you for your comment. Unfortunately, we seem to create more hard times than good ones and the world isn't changed fast enough.

e said...

Thank you!

Toni said...

You wow me in many ways, as I visit some of your old posts to get to know you better. Can't remember if it was Socrates (or Dr. Phil) who once said, "An unexamined life is not worth living." I love your depth and insight.

e said...

Thanks for the compliment!