In Celebration of Routine (and the Wisdom of Pets)

I used to joke that my pets used me—they come when I am making lunch, or dinner. They come when it's cold and want to be warm. I marvel at their routines, as they wait in the kitchen, same times each day, awaiting their dinner or their treats, and I marvel that their lives comprise primarily these little moments. Do they not know grief, loneliness, despair, happiness?

I am sure they do. After all, they are rescue animals, and perhaps routines are the greatest happiness they can imagine. Every day, their owner has not renounced them, still feeds them, allows them a place in her distracted life. They know great loss, being shuffled to strange homes and shelters, skin clinging to their bones, and now they know that if each day is the same, they will not know this loss again, at least for today. And they look forward to tomorrow with the same hopefulness—a place to eat, a place to snuggle, a place to really call home.

I have my routines. I cherish them just as much as my pets do theirs. Because between the great scales of love and loss, the real joy is in knowing each day of routine is one day removed from loss, one day until joy. And I am thankful that it took a collection of discarded pets to help me realize this.