I’m still working on getting over the cat I killed.
Sure enough, I’ve had people tell me it’s God’s will. No, I didn’t actually amputate toes with rusty nail clippers.
To add to the brain fuck of it all school this week required reading The Dhammapada followed by selections from the New Testament followed by The Grand Inquisitor and Related Chapters excerpted from The Brother Karamazov followed by the last 48 chapters of Genesis. Yeah, stir all that in with feeling all messed up about hitting a cat on the road.
And, no, no I can’t believe in a God that kills cats just for shits and grins. Or even if it is part of some great plan. That isn’t a plan I want anything to do with. That’s a pathetically week sadistic God. No, my God lets shit happen because he isn’t a control freak. The cat was on the road because it was hungry enough to be snacking on a dead snake in the road. (I went looking the next morning and could see it still there.) Because there are too many people who don’t spay and neuter. Because there are people in this neighborhood who feed cats just enough to keep them around but not enough to keep them healthy. Because I’ve already taken in and provided food and medical care for five rescue cats and I can’t take anymore. I hit the cat because I was driving. I was driving because I live in a place where “town” starts 8 miles away and stretches on for miles of sprawl. I was driving at that time because I had stopped at the store on my way home from my meeting. I was at the meeting because I’m an addict and I like meetings better than being high and miserable. God didn’t kill the cat. I killed the cat. Accidentally, yes, and with help from lots of irresponsible people who treat animals poorly. But I killed the cat.
Blaming God for what I did just isn’t cool for me. God doesn’t need my forgiveness. I need his.
And I need to apply butt to chair and write. I do a lot of writing for school and find myself tired and time pressed and not spending nearly enough time here writing because I need to write. I don’t really like to write. There. I’ve finally said it. I need to write. It’s what I do. I need to write like I need to eat and sleep and breath and drink water. It’s just how I’m put together. That I can give God credit for. I might not like it but it is the best part of me, the part that’s responsible for whatever bits of sanity I’ve held on to and for, sometimes, being able to reach out and connect with people on that deep level of intimacy and understanding.
I killed a cat and life goes on. And that’s the thing. Nothing is ever permanent. (Except one twisted strange relationship, I think that one is one which will never quite die. But that and my heretical views on reincarnation aren’t the point here.) This round of the cat’s life doesn’t go on. But mine does.
I can accept that I am forgiven and I can make efforts to amend my own actions and I can focus on taking care of what I can take care of. I apologized to my cats. I made extra time to love them and pet them and snuggle them. I posted a video of Icky drinking from the bathroom sink to my Facebook. I went back the next day and looked for her some more. I didn’t find her but I did look. I’ve been extra-attentive on the road and intentionally walking as much as I can. Walking is fairly limited but there are gas-stations and dollar stores and a little diner restaurant I can reach on foot.
I’m always kind to animals. Animals are easy to love. Many of my best lessons on love and loss are from animals. I’ve buried many beloved pets over the years. And it always sucks. Every.Single.Time. I haven’t gotten one bit better at saying goodbye. There are days I want to lock my kitties up in the house to keep them safe and confined. But I don’t. Because that isn’t love. Love is letting go. So everyday I make myself let go of those I love. I send my children out into the frightening world of public school. I send my cats to chase bugs in the yard. I’ve let go of friends and lovers and husbands. I take my lessons on how to love from God, he does a lot of letting go. Never once did that Jesus guy coerce or control people. Not once. I’m not nearly as good at this loving business as he was but that’s OK, I don’t have to be.
So, how have I gotten over the cat killing? I was advised to give the cat to God, to imagine myself putting her in His hands. But I couldn’t do it. Because I still struggle with letting go. Because my guilt and misery and grief. So instead I went back to step 3 and gave myself to God, cat and all. Because, as best as I can tell, that is how God works. To quote a paraphrase prayer of the first three steps, “I can’t, You can, here I am.” I still have a lingering feeling of grief and un-groundedness. But the guilt and misery are lifted. I did what I could. But I couldn’t. And that’s OK. The grief will fade and I become more grounded every time I tell the story. That’s what telling your story does, it puts your feet back on the ground and lets you pick up any pieces you’ve lost.