The Lost Cat

I started reading a new book, SHORT STORIES BY JESUS, by Amy-Jill Levine. It’s a book that looks at the various parables told by Jesus and how its interpretation can be different when assessed from the point of view of the audience at the time.

The first analysis is on the parables of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost/prodigal son. I’m already familiar with a number of the interpretations but I did start to think more on these parables with each line I read.
I thought, well it doesn’t make sense to leave the remaining sheeps in the wilderness to go search for the one, they could go missing as well.
And not being sure of the value of the lost coin, I thought I wouldn’t make a fuss over let’s say ¢1, probably try more for a ¢10 note, but will definitely search thoroughly for a ¢100 note, even if I had ¢900 left.
I came to acknowledge that the effort I’d put into looking for the lost item will be based on how much value I have for it, or need for it. If the ¢10 was my last note, will definitely look everywhere for it.
And sure anyone will celebrate over finding anything they lost. Even the items I don’t care to look for, I will be happy when they show up again.

As I kept reading and pondering over the author’s analysis and suggestions, I remembered when I lost my cat. Thinking over that incident, I acknowledge that I would have left the 99 sheeps in the wilderness too, because I kinda did then.

Daylight when we arrived, around 10:30am

About a year and half ago, I took Simba(my cat) to a public garden. It wasn’t the first time we had gone there but on that day there were more people than usual there. Some minutes after I let him out of his carrier, he disappeared. At the time, the shrooms I’d consumed had started to kick in.
In that kumbaya space, I couldn’t bring myself to worry about the fact that my cat wasn’t in my view.
About 2hrs later when I started to come down, I started to be concerned but still felt everything was fine, even if Simba was indeed gone forever.

4hrs after I last saw my cat, I’d started to panick…was actually beyond panicked. I cried like I’d lost a family member…for the first time that day, I felt grief. I used to tell people that though it’s sad when someone dies, we shouldn’t overly grief as they are not gone forever…but in that instance, nothing in the world made sense or mattered if I didn’t find Simba.
I decided to go search for him, but the garden is huge and not knowing where to start made it all worse for me….I was torn between sitting still in hopes Simba returns or get up and start anywhere at all.
I decided to get up and look around, I packed my stuff up and walked around the closest parameters from the spot I’d been sitting, nothing.
I decided to go further away, but worried Simba may return to my spot and if he gets there with nothing there, he’d think I left him. So I put my things back down, mat, bag(with money inside), water bottle, cat carrier, etc. I took my phone with me I think.
I went further out, all the while calling out to Simba and crying.

Before that moment, I usually talked to the trees when I visit the garden…I believe they have spirits in them and usually I tell them to help make Simba feel comfortable so he’d walk about the garden than stay in his bag, which he did the previous two visits.
But with Simba lost, and my world coming crushing down, I thought, “who am I kidding? Of course there’s nothing in these trees”, nothing existed beyond what is in front of me and the whole shroom trip was a stupid stupid idea. All the deep insights and bliss I’d experienced moments ago were not worth it if the price was to be Simba.
I did not find him and the size of the garden gave me headache when I thought of going to search everywhere.

I went back to my spot, sat down and cried more.
I thought of how my sister cautioned me against taking him to the garden, how he could run away and how I didn’t listen to none of that.
I thought of how I forced Simba into his carrier, how he’d be comfortable at home, likely sleeping, if I hadn’t wanted to come and have some magical experience with him on my trip(I fancied maybe I could communicate with him under the influence).
I thought of how I’d explain his absence afterwards to my sister, to my parents.
And I thought of how Simba won’t be around anymore and could possibly die before morning in this vast place.
I blamed myself over and over, called myself selfish and delusional and cried more.

Hiding spot, photo from a previous visit

I decided to go search again, this time start from where I last saw him. Yes I did that already,but this time to search well the very last point I remember seeing him. And I FOUND him, I found my SIMBA.
About 2meters from where I sat was a group of short palm trees gathered together, with a number of anthills around it. Simba was in the middle of the palm trees. Well hidden from my view but he could see me.
The joy I felt upon seeing him….my heart was full and my smile stretched from corner to corner.
I couldn’t get mad at him not responding to my calls or pulling away when I tried to reach him through the tiny gap he forced himself through to get to his comfortable protected space. That came later lol.

Even after I saw him, he didn’t come out…and I couldn’t reach him to get him out. But having seen him and at peace, I let him be and sat back down. Almost 2hrs later, he came out. The garden was empty and the sun had set. I had not eaten all day, and my water got finished even before I started searching for him. When he came out, I was walking some distance form the spot our things were, and he came to me.

Simba, when he finally came out from hiding

Recalling and writing this, I still feel the joy I felt upon finding my lost cat. Even though my items aren’t worth 99sheeps or 9 drachmas, I left it out in the open where anyone passing could have taken anything, so that in case Simba returned he would know that I was still around, that I didn’t leave, that I would never leave him out alone in a forest, that I would never leave him behind.

All the while I thought Simba was lost, he could see me, he knew he wasn’t lost, and I wasn’t lost to him.
In the time it took for me to find him, I felt intense grief and loss, I blamed myself, I lost my belief in the spiritual and magical, and all the while he was in between those palm trees, looking at me.

So yes, how eager we look and how much we rejoice upon finding a lost item is totally dependent on how much we value it. On how much love we have for it.
And when we lose what we love, we can leave everything else out in the wilderness, because in that moment, nothing else matters.
The whole universe has no worth, when we lose what we love.
It doesn’t matter that we love others still around too, all our focus and yearning goes to the love that is lost.
Till we find it again or it returns to us.

But if we lose what we love forever, we can manage through, and find worth in life again.
We will remember the love still with us, those that need our love too.
If one love becomes lost to me forever, I hope I can remember and be there for the love that remains.

The skylight when we finally made it out of the garden to the street.

Happy Father’s Day to all fathers🎉🥳❤️

One Reply to “The Lost Cat”

  1. Beautifully painted, the difference that arises between thinking about, where everything gets manipulated, and direct experience. The only time I feel and “know” a feeling, is when I’m feeling. Take care, my friend.

    Liked by 1 person

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