Vocation has long been a theme of mine. Looking back, I wrote about it three years ago here. (I’ve been doing this that long??) Then, as now, I think life is better when we are able to do the things that we love doing, and that the world needs us to do, as preacher and author Frederick Buechner wrote many years ago.
I am fortunate to be able to pursue what I think is my own vocation – caring for animals. Both as a professional pet sitter and as the head of our community cats/TNR program. But one of my great joys recently is watching some of our volunteers find their vocations within the TNR program. It’s like finding the exact puzzle piece in a jigsaw puzzle…so satisfying.
In the last year or two when the program was run out of my home (never again) I couldn’t use many volunteers. Liability issues, and just issues of having folks in my home all the time. Now that we have our very cool cat house (yes, we call it the cat house), we have lots of folks stepping up to help. They try this and that task. We watch them and see if we can discern their gift for our program. And when it all clicks, it is just magic.
This person is wonderful at supervising the morning or evening cleaning and feeding. That one, with some medical background, can help us make decisions related to health, and help us keep an eye on health concerns. Or help us with medicating the ferals, which isn’t the easiest task in the world. One answers our cat phone and deals with people gracefully, calmly, and efficiently. Another one is a sort of cat whisperer, and she patiently calms the feral kitten, terrified first of being trapped, and then being confronted with humans. But if the little one can get over that, they can go into the adoption programs instead of back outside. It is amazing to watch them discover that we’re not as awful as we seem at first.
Yet others have organizational gifts or financial abilities that help us build a strong infrastructure that can outlast the departure of any one individual. Another is amazing at trapping, persistent in getting her cat beyond what any of us would expect. Yet another has a huge vehicle and can transport 12 traps or more at once, which makes getting cats to and from clinic, and back to their homes later, so much simpler.
A year ago, I despaired that this amazing program – one that has spayed and neutered about 825 cats in 3 1/2 years – was going to have to close. Now that we have the resources we need, the program is flourishing, and so are the volunteers who make it all happen. There is little more glorious than watching a whole bunch of folks find a piece of their vocation. Life is good.