The Glass is Full – Air is an Element


A teacher of mine asked the old question “Is the glass half empty or half full?” to groups on a regular basis. Only occasionally would someone volunteer the answer he was looking for, the third un-thought-of possibility. “The glass is completely full, half with water and half with air.”  Repeated exposure to this little piece of personal alchemy has helped me to slowly grasp how to rise up from darkness.

While Mosby’s illness manifested suddenly, I have been given time to assimilate things. The glass is not half empty. It is half full with the years we have had together, years he would not have had at all had he been turned in to the shelter. Turn-ins are not given much time in the shelters, if lucky 72 hours. It is half full with getting to know a cat who liked cabbage and bok choy but turned down sushi and could open any door that wasn’t dead bolted.  It is half full with the nights he patiently moved so I could change position when my arthritis bothered me and came back to sleep on top of me, a living hot pad on my pain. The glass is half full with the water of the past which we see so easily.

In the last few weeks as he has soldiered on, stubbornly eating his dry food as it became harder to pick up, I fully realized at last what it is to see the air in the glass. While the intellectual concept was imprinted in my brain, a cat with cancer put it’s true fulfillment in my heart. Every day I see patience, endurance, and an ability to live in the moment few humans ever realize. I see humility in a proud and fastidious creature who has reluctantly allowed me to help him wash. I see the importance of each moment spent together, even when we are in separate rooms, for he must have his independence as long as he can. Yes, the air is also an element, but to see it in the stillness, recognizing it as filling the glass, is a true gift indeed.