A man, who it turns out was a Baptist minister, came in for a suit. He was a larger-than-life figure, full of joy and reverence.
We settled the details of his required apparel. As was his nature no doubt, he made a gentle allusion to the magnificence of his lord, the son; it was an inquiry of course.
I replied with a quick summary of my inescapable focus on the mysterious father, as it were. It was my fate.
He answered with a glow on his face that I could do nothing but respect,
"Well, when we look up to God, we are all surely looking at the same God."
He was an Exclusionary, but I felt it was an enlightened and sincere sentiment.
I have found that to be a rare admittance of sorts in my encounters with believers of all types—orthodox, modern fusionists, technocrats and humanists alike. It can be easy to think that others are on a less true course than yourself—theologian, scientist and layman alike.
To this day, I am grateful to him for that moment. It has tempered and added perspective to debates with others on this journey. Perhaps the illusion of separation is such a necessary component of existence that's what makes it such an easy, deep trap to fall into.
It was early in the fall some years later, in a small town. I spotted a Siamese cat making his way through the neighborhood. I fed him and tried to get him to come in but he was an escape artist of some skill.
I called the local "animal control" and yes, there was a months-old listing of a lady looking for her errant child who matched the description. We talked on the phone. She was a gentle soul who told me about her beloved pet and his escape through the screen door and how much she and his brother and sister missed him. She told me where she was. It was somewhat of a straight line along the street where I was but two or so miles away. If it was him, he had crossed a lot of fields to get here. Was it an instinct for adventure and freedom, the urge of the jungle cat?
Or he just got lost.
I told her that I would keep a watch and try to secure his capture. I was hoping very much that I could get him back home.
For a couple of weeks he appeared almost every night. I called him by name and I was sure he recognized it. I made progress at getting close to him but he remained elusive.
Then he stopped coming. I was heartbroken at my unfulfilled mission. Weeks later he showed up for a few nights then stopped coming again.
More weeks passed and then he showed up yet again, only this time it was different. He actually seemed disheartened, homesick and tired of adventure . He let me pet him a little and I started calculating how I could get him into a carrier.
It was then that I got a call from the lady that I had talked to months before. She was still looking, still hopeful. She wanted me to know.
I hadn't called her because the situation was so uncertain. Was it her beloved cat or not? Would he just disappear for good? Would I be able to capture him if he came? What would I do exactly if I did get him? I hadn't wanted to foster false hope for her.
He was a no-show that night and the next.
Then he came.
I remember being tired and zoned out that night from the various vagaries of life, but how many chances would I get? I knew what I had to do.
I prepared the food, reviewed my plan of action and put on my friendliest, casual air. The little cat taxi was already in place.
I went to the back door, greeted him in the most lighthearted tone I could manage and set down the food. He stepped up unsuspecting, or was he?
I got him.
I called the nice lady immediately. She was extremely anxious but it was very late and we made the plan for me to come over early the next day.
I had to put him in the backyard, kicking myself for forgetting to put paper or towels in the carrier for him to be comfortable; and I didn't want to take a chance opening it. It started to snow. I'm sure he had a long night. I felt bad about that but all I could manage was to rest myself to be ready for the morning.
The next day I was driving down the quiet street reviewing the address she had given me, my passenger eyeing me with a placid resolve.
We arrived. From the first moment she saw him she was almost sure it was her wayward child. But it had been almost a year, after all. There didn't seem to be any doubt in his mind. There was a ridge along his tummy that she was feeling for; it was there. She started to cry. I don't know why exactly but I was absolutely certain that he was the one anyway. I found out later from a third party that there was no doubt. His brother and sister recognized him immediately and after a thorough sponge bath and dinner, the three of them proceeded to take a very long nap.
She didn't know how to thank me. I didn't know how to tell her how thankful I was.
I got back home and put the carrier in the yard to air out. It was a mild, sunny winter morning.
It was Christmas day.
I lifted my eyes up to say thank you to that same God.
I remain an outlaw who believes in a season of miracles.
Recount G.A.M. cc
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