Picture of a cat.

Recognizing the Messengers

I went for a walk this evening. A wander really. My only goal was to see what was around me. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for a couple years, but I’ve never explored it.

It was warm and I paused to study how the light played on a Neo-Roman church. I didn’t know there was a Neo-Roman architectural style, but that is what the sign said. Then I spotted a bed and breakfast with a beautiful garden out front. It was dark, but I could see enough to know I wanted to go back with my camera in daylight. I lingered reading their brochure and then moved on.

I studied the light coming through the stained glass windows of a church and decided that churches should never be empty or dark. Someone should always be available to give aid and solstice. As I passed by, I noticed they had a garden and made another mental note to visit it in daylight.

I walked on, but paused as the bells on the courthouse or some church in that direction started ringing. It was late for bells. Probably close to ten and I wondered at the significance and what kind of schedule they were on. I’ve heard them at other odd times as well. Maybe it’s God’s way of making us look up.

I contemplated an old filling station that had been renovated and thought that I would like to live in a little place like that. The long roof where the pumps used to be would make a perfect area for a shade garden and a chair.

I found a cross street to take me back toward my home. One I’d never been on and looked with concern at the old houses that were being neglected. Not to the point of falling down, but they needed a little TLC. They looked sad.

A little further on, I spotted a cat laying on the corner of a retaining wall. I have an affinity for kitties and always want to pet them. The dark tabby didn’t pay much attention to me until I spoke asking if I could.

I always ask cats. It’s only polite.

The cat didn’t look alarmed so I took a step toward it. It raised up to a sitting position and I paused.

“Can I pet you?” I asked again and it mewed. I took that as assent and took another step.

I curled my fingers into the soft fur behind the cat’s clipped ear and realized it had a bad case of fleas. The clipped ear and fleas told me it was a stray. The fat tummy told me it was good at getting food from somewhere. I chatted and pet it while it mewed back.

It was a sweet kitty and I lingered for quite a while, but eventually decided I needed to move on. I started down the street and it came with me. I paused petting it again and decided it probably didn’t get many snuggles or attention and no kitty should go without snuggles if they want them.

It looked up at me and I considered picking it up, but that’s just rude. Instead, I found a spot to sit and gave it the option of climbing into my lap.

The cat chose to ignore the offer and after more petting, sat on the stair purring behind me. It started washing and I decided it was a good time to continue my wander. The cat followed me, mewing and getting in front of me. I watched it, blocking my path and realized it didn’t want me to go that direction.

I looked up wondering if there was danger there, but couldn’t see anything but a quite city street. I listened to the message the cat was delivering even if I didn’t understand why. I turned, heading back the way I had come and the cat, who had been under foot, lingered before following me a few feet. As I walked, it fell further behind and I quickly lost view of it.

I wondered about why I needed to turn back, but didn’t have a clue until I rounded the corner for home. I smiled. Something large, dark, and angular was laying in the road ahead, though in the dark I couldn’t tell what it was.

I’ve known my purpose in life for a while. It is to clear the path for others and I recognized a confirmation of that in the obstacle blocking the road. This was the reason the cat wanted me to turn back.

No cars were close and I walked into the street to move what turned out to be an old charcoal grill. I righted it. A couple cars approached the intersection as I worked and I knew the cat would not be the only messenger this night. My act of working in the middle of that intersection in full view of both drivers was a message to them. Their purpose is to clear paths as well.

I picked up the pieces of the grill and wondered how many times those drivers would have messengers before they understood the message. Sometimes the messages are subtle. A stray, flea riddled cat with a clipped ear delivered mine.

I am much less subtle.

You have a purpose in life. Look for your messengers. They’ve been there all along. You just have to slow down long enough to see them.