I turned and saw … I must have used this phrase a few dozen times now, ever since I took up that weapon of vivification – that gift-camera, about 11 months ago, shooting celestial bodies and everything that moves!
I turned and saw two eyes staring at me. There she was, a beauty among the bougainvillea, so we named her Boogie-Woggie. She is the resident stray cat at my apartment block.
So our affair started on that fateful day on 25th April 2021, and here is a poem about her:
A Rendevouz with Miss-Three @Mystery
From Three times a month
To Three times a week
To Three consecutive mornings
To Three times ten days a month
From stranger to friend
Shy and hesitant in the beginning
Mustn’t trust strangers they say
Or have heard of them stories
Of Vietnamese kit-napping these days
Started with some Hide and Seek
Around that Bougainvillea bush
She meditates a while and peeps
Till birds come and then whoosh
Food however is not her yearning
It’s TLC and L-O-V-E she’s pursuing
She rubs her head on my knees
MORE please with big eyes pleading
She waits for me early before dawn
Runs to me with shrieks of meowing
Behold there comes my Beloved
Tis worth the wait and longing
Five months on, our relationship is now signed, sealed and delivered with love, snuggles and kibbles. It is quite a mutual interdependence. Her poses are spontaneous, as she will climb up the ledge just to be near me. She is now a trained contemplative companion at dawn or dusk, ready for hire! Her faithful presence, her patience in waiting, her desire to connect, her expressive longings have won me over, she is truly a beloved companion!
My Early Companions. I grew up quite a lonely kid, because I was adopted into a family between generations, with no one my age to play with. It is quite ironical because within my natural family I have 9 siblings! So I grew up with kitties, doggies, pigeons and goldfish – my furry, hairy, feathered companions, at least for a while.
Good friends are like jewels, precious and hard to find. The Book of Proverbs tell us that a friend is closer than a brother and sweet friendships refresh the soul and awaken our hearts with joy. The Lord has mercifully provided many treasured companions for me at almost every juncture of my life. During these MCO times, I am grateful for friends who have embraced me virtually out of the miry clay of confusion and grief, when I lost three people in eight months. And there are those friends whom I have never met face to face, yet knitted in heart and soul, such wondrous gifts from above.
Then I remembered those who have no friends. I recalled reading the news several years back, the story of how a body was washed up from the river after the floods in Kuala Lumpur, a nameless man, a homeless man. I was stricken with sadness that someone could die such a lonely irksome death, with no one to bury him or send him off. An ex-colleague, in a previous NGO, died alone in some rented place, his body to be discovered only three days later. Henri Nouwen once said that those who go into surgery will stand a better chance of recovery, of waking up, if that person knew that someone is waiting for them, i.e. none of us can stay alive when there is nobody to welcome us, no one to share our moments of pain or joy.
During this pandemic we also hear of the silent pandemic of suicide, with cases rising. Those who commit suicide have usually suffered some tragic event, some deep illness, some unutterable loss, believing that there is no hope, “nobody waiting for them tomorrow” – as Nouwen puts it “There is no reason to live if there is nobody to live for”.
Little Boogie has given me a bit more reason to rise up early, I do not want to miss her loving calls and snuggles. Our Father as in the Prodigal Son story, waits longingly for us with open extended arms. Jesus has promised that He will never ever leave us by the wayside. When someone says to a fellow human being, “I will not let you go. I am going to be here tomorrow waiting for you and I expect you not to disappoint me,” then tomorrow is no longer an endless dark tunnel. It becomes flesh and blood in the form of the brother and sister who is waiting and for whom the person/patient wants to give life one more chance (Nouwen, The Wounded Healer).
And Jesus has offered us that BEST friendship ever. We are no longer servants but friends. He calls us to such an intimacy, which gives meaning, joy, community, and direction.
God is the Passionate One who desires us,
and for whom every fibre of our being reaches out! (Monty Williams, SJ).
For Boogie it’s every fur of her being!
God is our Ultimate Companion! Let us wait upon HIM, who is also waiting for us. Let us snuggle up close.
Let us BE a friend.