Every time I look at the brown cat’s picture above, I am saddened. It is almost a year back, in November in fact, when I returned after a two week trip to find this almost permanent stray ( for 5 years’ at least) disappeared. We called her Fluff Ball. Surprisingly her litter sister, Brown, was still around. To our eyes, she looked lost and like she wanted to tell us something but we couldn’t figure out what it was. Almost a month later, the man who helps us with house cleaning, told us a group of stray cats were rounded up by the driver of a house outside our compound and taken far away from the area and dumped there as they were a nuisance. Fluff Ball was perhaps lost that way. Brown somehow escaped.
I am just back from attending Evensong at the Episcopal Church here. This church has been eluding me for a while now. I was unable to find its location for about a month or more. Finally I managed to find it and attended service there this evening. It is an old church built similar to the Westminister Abbey but on a smaller scale, narrower and smaller. It was great to listen to a service in the Anglican way after a long while. Most of the service was led by the School of Divinity students and interns. Amazing how gluten free bread and non- alcoholic wine were also offered for communion. Dinner was served after service. For graduate students, free food is a great plus to every thing, especially if the menu includes autumn squash soup, plenty of green salad and fresh fruit, not to mention sour dough bread.
The sermon was on the 100 sheep and the one who was lost. The speaker asked for show of hands about who among the congregation would go after the one lost sheep leaving the 99 alone. It was a 50-50 vote. Again surprised- I thought everyone would say they would go after the one lost sheep but no, here again, I was exposed to a new thought process. If we went after the one lost sheep, who would look after the 99? What if they got lost instead? Which was the greater loss- the one or the rest of the herd? Things to ponder on.
After church we had supper and the speaker sat with us at our table. And he explained why he asked the question and why some people answered they would prefer to stay with the 99 and not go after the one lost sheep. There are always two sides to any rhetorical question.
Having nearly lost two rings recently, I could only answer that I would go after the one lost sheep- no one knows except the shepherd how precious that one sheep was. Losing things takes a big toll on the person who loses the items. And so it must be in heaven. If even one is lost, there is great sorrow and the return of even one is celebrated. I wonder if there was anything I could have done about the one lost cat who was lost nearly a year back. Again at supper, there was a nearly blind man, Michael, who said, cats are never lost, they always come back. He talked about when he was a child and lost a cat called Misty. Misty was lost for almost two years, until the day Michael’s family moved to another house. There Misty was at the doorstep, as though asking them if they actually planned to go away without her. Cats are mysterious animals. This story gave me some hope. The sermon speaker, spoke up. He talked about his three childhood cats- Siamese, he said- two males and one female. The female always looked down upon the two males and hated them. She disappeared for about two days at a time regularly. One day, the speaker’s family decided to follow the cat to see where she went. Turns out the cat went to an elderly neighbour’s house through the fire escape and stayed there until she was let out again. The speaker’s family finally went to visit with that old lady and told her very politely to keep the cat if she liked her so much. The old lady said, ” Do you think I would stoop so low as to feed someone else’s cat ?”
The speaker’s family reassured her and said, by chance if the cat came to her house and by chance if she fed it, she could keep it as the cat was not very happy in the Speaker’s house. From that day, that girl cat didn’t come back to the Speaker’s house. She preferred living at the elderly neighbour’s house.
So many cat stories. Stories of loss and stories of hope and restoration. All I can say is “Fluff Ball, if you are alive- come back.”