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Back around the year 2000, Brent and I purchased our second home in Southern Oregon. We had lived in our first home for nearly four years.

During that time we had a cat. She was an indoor/outdoor cat. I only allowed her outdoors because we backed up to a creek and we lived on a cul-de-sac – kitty was pretty safe.

I knew that at the new house she would eventually go outside, but her vet recommended keeping her inside for at least two weeks and then slowly let her out for short periods of time. Otherwise, she may run off.

So that is what I did. In fact, I kept kitty in for three weeks before I began slowly letting her explore the backyard. It was around a month before she was allowed to roam outside like before.

The first day of that she didn’t come back. I was devastated.

Two days later I get a phone call from the new owners of the house we sold. Kitty went back to that house. An entire city away. Through traffic. Several miles. In the snow, uphill! Ok, I’m getting dramatic now. But, really – she found her way back “home.”

I drove over, picked her up and brought her home and began the whole vet recommended process again.

Three times we did this. Every first day of freedom, kitty would find her way back to the old house.

Eventually, the new owner and I had to talk about this. Fortunately, they loved kitty and asked if they could keep her. Cue all the tears! So grateful and so sad!

The vet told me that kitty found her way back by smell and vibration. She followed her heart back to what was familiar and safe to her – be it good or bad, it didn’t matter – she loved her home. She didn’t love us. She yearned for what she knew, for what she was missing. Kitty probably had friends, tunnels, favorite trees, and memories – and we were holding her hostage. We weren’t intentionally trying to keep her from what she loved – we just thought we were doing what was best for her. Also, she was our cat.

I wonder how many times I have done this with people. I’ll admit, I’ve known when someone needed releasing from my life, but I refused to let them go – so I would set the table and do the vet recommended tips, enticing them into my world.

Manipulated moments never produce authentic results.

I do believe that if it isn’t meant to be it simply will not be. And the more we try to force it, the more it will hurt when the truth sets in.

Letting go isn’t always a sign of giving up – depending on the situation, it could be the most healthy and courageous thing you can do.

If you have someone in your mind right now, you might want to sit with that for a moment. Take a deep breath and assess it. Why did that person come to your mind? Is this a healthy relationship? Is it toxic?

Is it your cat? Because cats can be total jerks – it probably isn’t you.

I want to encourage you to take inventory of who you hold in your heart. Does every person deserve to take residence there? If not, it doesn’t mean something is necessarily wrong with that person – I want to be clear on that – they just may not be right for your life or this season.

It’s ok to bless and release.

And notice I referred to the cat as “her” and “kitty.” I don’t even remember its name!