When I reflect on that great line from Mary Oliver’s poem, “Wild Geese”–“you have only to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves”–I think of my cats, Dayo and Gracie. They do what they feel like doing the moment they feel like doing it. When they’re tired, they rest. When they need to run around, they run around. When they want attention, they ask for it. Dayo and Gracie are never NOT cats, which means they are never NOT themselves. They “love what they love” with no apologies. They are teaching me to do the same.
Dayo is a Yoruban name that means “Joy arrives.” Gracie is named after my favorite monastery in the whole world, Our Lady of Grace, in Beech Grove, IN. I’ve recently figured out, though, that if you say their names together–Dayo Gracie–it sounds very similar to the Latin phrase, “Deo gratia,” which means “Thanks be to God.” Dayo-Gracie. Indeed!