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There are certain relationships in life that just seem other worldly or divinely orchestrated. I have definitely experienced some of these with people, but I was seriously amazed when it happened to me with a cat especially since I had never really been a big animal person before.

I was about 20 years old, and I was going through one of the darkest periods of my life. Everything that I had been through as a child just started becoming clearer to me when I moved out on my own, and it seemed as if the world just crashed down on me. None of my old defense mechanisms were working anymore so I turned to more unhealthy and self-destructive ones because I honestly felt like I would not survive otherwise. I was dark, depressed, and self-destructive, and I honestly felt like there was some dark demonic force sitting on my back and trying to take me out. I know that sounds weird, but I really felt it. I would pray frantically, “Oh dear God please make it go away!”…..But it didn’t.

So anyway, out of the clear blue one day I got this weird obsessive thought that I wanted a pure white cat. When I say obsessive I mean I could not shake this desire that came on as suddenly as a heart attack. I just felt this strong pull and longing to get a white kitten IMMEDIATELY!

I looked in the newspaper that day to see if there were any cats for sale or for free, and low and behold there was an add that literally said, “All white kittens for sale.” It was the strangest synchronicity! It was actually bizarre to me that I suddenly got this odd urge then opened the paper to see the fulfillment to my urge right there in print.

I called the number, and the man said he had a litter of all white Persian kittens that I could come see. He lived an hour and a half away, and even though it was already about 8:00pm I asked him if I could come right away. He said, “sure,” so off  I went to spend my rent money on this little being that for some reason all of the forces of God and nature were pulling me towards.

When I arrived there with my boyfriend the man pulled out several cages of fluffy white kittens, and he let them all out for me to see. All of the kittens were showing off, jumping around, playing, and prancing like they were all competing for my attention. But there was one little guy that just ran like a fraidy cat back into his cage and hid all by himself in the corner staring at me with desperately frightened eyes that said, “Please get me out of here.”

He was also the only one that had a little silver patch on the crown of his head. When our eyes met and locked I knew that he was the one that I had come for, and the breeder acted surprised that I wanted the shy kitten, but I had no doubts at all that he was the one. There was some strange other worldly recognition that I had with his old deep looking eyes.

So I held him close to my heart all the way home comforting his fear with soft loving words, and we were instantly bonded. Over the years our love only grew and grew. He was affectionate with me. He hugged me, kissed me, slept on me, and there was nothing that he could ever do that would make me give him up.

He was almost like a dog with me. He came when I called. He stayed close by. He sensed when I was upset and was right there to comfort me. He loved me even when he witnessed me doing bad things, and I always felt guilty when he would stare at me as I was hurting myself in some way, and I would always hug him and apologize.

Other people marveled at the strange connection that I had with Casper, my kitty. I would let him out to play, and without even realizing it I would get up in the middle of a conversation with friends and open the front door, and he would run inside. When my friends’ jaws dropped I said, “What?”

They said, “How did you know he was at the door? He never even made a sound?”

I just shrugged. Casper and I always knew what each other needed. We had no problem communicating without words, and I had never experienced this kind of connection before with an animal.  Apparently it was unique even to see because others often commented on the strangeness yet the sweetness of it.

There was a period of time when I was in college far away from my home town that I was basically homeless….well I was homeless. I had everything that I owned in my tiny two seat car, and I had a pager so that people could get in touch with me. They would page, and I would call them from a pay phone. It was a crazy unstable time, but Casper was with me. I had him along with his litter box in my car with me. Where ever I was… he was home no matter how much we bounced around from place to place…we were together.

He was the love of my life honestly. We were soul mates. My boyfriends would even get jealous! I know it sounds insane, and I honestly never would have imagined having this kind of bond with a cat, but it just happened. He was my angel really. He came into my life when I became an adult and needed an angel more than ever, and he stayed with me during 14 of my wildest and most roller coaster-ish years.

I truly believe that he was heaven-sent. He even looked angelic with his pure white fur that was softer than a cloud, his tiny pink nose and mouth, and his big deep golden eyes that looked so loving and wise.

As Casper and I grew older I began longing for a child, and every now and then this horrible thought would pop into my head that said, “You are going to have to let go of Casper before you will be able to have a baby.” I would quickly push that thought away saying to myself that it was just a fear and not true, but deep down I felt it was honestly that deep inner knowing that comes to me sometimes that is true. I just did not want to believe it.

I tried to conceive unsuccessfully for 8 difficult years, and Casper remained faithfully by my side through it all.

Then one Saturday morning in January Casper came and jumped on me while I was sleeping late. He wanted me, but I pushed him away so that I could sleep longer. He calmly went off and allowed me to sleep. Then when I woke up and got my coffee I went and got back in my bed to relax and watch a movie. Casper then came back, and jumped into my lap.

He sat with me snuggling and purring loudly for a while as I pet him and gave him the love that he had been craving earlier. Then all of a sudden, as quickly as a heart attack, Casper gasped a few times and died in my lap.

It all happened so fast and so unexpectedly, but I knew instantly as it began happening that he was leaving me forever. I could almost see his spirit leaving his body in some strange way. I immediately burst into hard sobs, and started saying, “It’s okay….it’s okay” through my tears because I just knew as I always had with Casper that this was all in divine order even as difficult as it was.

My husband and I placed him in his new bed that we had just purchased for him. We took him to my grandparent’s house into a beautiful wooded area and covered his body with flowers before putting him in the ground. I decorated his grave site with tons of pink dewy flower petals that just happened to be all over the ground already, and I said a prayer thanking God for my angel and asking God to enjoy him in heaven as I had here.

This was one of the most difficult losses of life that I had ever experienced. I sobbed for weeks, and I still cry sometimes years later, but I also had peace about it because something in me knew that it was all just as it should be. Casper knew that he was leaving me that day, and he waited for me to wake up so that he could  say goodbye and so that he could be with me at his passing.

Little did I know, until later, that Casper died literally two days after I conceived my daughter. It was as if they passed each other in the ethers. He left as she came…. One great love for another. I don’t know why, but it still somehow makes sense.

I do not know if I will ever experience something like that with another pet. It is not something that can be forced. I tried. I tried to get another cat later, but it just did not work out even nearly the same.

Casper’s and my relationship was divine. He taught me more about unconditional love than I ever could have imagined. He was my angel in disguise, and I will look for him to greet me when my time in this world is up. Until then he remains with me in my heart and sometimes meets me in my dreams.

As I travel in time revisiting the past and glimpsing into the future in order to live better in the present there is certain music that bubbles up just like the memories do. There is some melodic poetry that speaks truth about the souls of some people. The people who connect with this music all share some kind of bond because of the lives that we have lived and the ways that our souls were created. It is like you just get it or you don’t, and if you do then you know that you have an instant connection with one another. I suddenly remembered these two songs at about midnight after spending a wonderful evening with some of my siblings and my mom, daughter and niece.

I used to listen to the Indigo Girls with my friends at summer camp of all places. It is funny because it was church camp, and the Indigo Girls are lesbians! Ha! That was not what it was about for us though. Camp was some of the best times in my life as a child. I went every summer all the way through high school and even met one of the great loves of my life there.

Camp was a safe place for me. I remember feeling safe even at night in the dorm on my bunk bed as I shared a room with about 14 other girls. There were no locks on the doors. We just had screened doors actually, but when the horror movie thoughts would run through my mind I would just think, “No! I am safe here. This is Honey Creek, and God is here. Nothing bad can happen here.”

We were surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Honey Creek….. big trees with spanish moss hanging from them….. porch swings, hammocks, and decks in various natural hideaways dispersed around the grounds….. a little chapel with one wall totally made of glass that faced the water……sounds of laughter, singing, and music…..a piece of heaven….My dream was to get married there. If God could be felt anywhere it was there, and one of my friends came with my mom to pick me up one year and said, ” I see why you love this place. I could feel it as soon as we drove in.”

We sang a lot to acoustic guitars. We went to chapel every morning and right before bed, and we were incredibly free at high school camp. We were even allowed to smoke cigarettes there because back then the law allowed smoking for 17 year olds! I know that’s kind of crazy! The place was a beautiful oxymoron…freedom at church camp….imagine that! But feeling safe, free, and surrounded by loving peers was truly like a vacation from life for me. It was a refuge like no other. I always grieved heavily when it was over. It never lasted long enough.

Well we used to listen to a lot of music there, and as I said the Indigo Girls were a favorite. I guess it is because of the raw acoustic beauty of the truth that they sing about. There were two songs that especially stood out to me and resonated with me in my teen years. I suddenly remembered those songs tonight around midnight after not hearing them or thinking of them for years. As I listen to them again they still resonate with me and actually bring tears to my eyes. Yes….there is a little bit of hippy in the music, but I would be lying if I said that there was not a little bit of hippy in me. Tee hee….There is something about my life in the words of these songs. There is something about me in them.

So I will share them with you for another musical interlude of melodic poetry. I believe that the music speaks for itself. It carries me back in time to my childhood, and it speaks to me again in the present. So here are the two songs….a brief look into my soul.

Prince of Darkness  ~ Don’t let the title scare you 😉

Kid Fears ~

I have noticed that in life it seems that people who walk through very low valleys also get to experience very high mountain peaks. That has been my experience anyway. I have seen quite a bit of crisis and trauma…so much that crisis feels like the norm sometimes, but I have also seen more than one big miracle in my life. And I mean life and death miracles.

Just at the time when my group of best friends (my tribe that I spoke of earlier) began to change and go our separate ways something big happened. We were all feeling the change in our relationships. We were feeling the loss, and we were all fighting it a little but to no avail. My telephone rang one day, and my husband picked it up. I could tell by the way that his voice changed that something was very wrong. I was saying, “Who is it? Who is it? What happened?” It was one of “the friends” who was the husband of another one of  the friends, and her nickname was “Butterfly.” “Butterfly” was one of my closest friends in the group. Strangely I had recently followed an inner nudging to write her a letter telling her how much I loved and appreciated her. I had mailed the letter, and she had received it.

My husband told me that Butterfly was in trouble. An aneurysm had burst in her brain. I grabbed the phone from him. Her husband sounded differently than I had ever heard him. He was always strong, and he would never admit to weakness much less ask for help, but he called us. He told me that the headaches that they had thought were migraines were actually an aneurysm and that it had burst in her brain and had been bleeding  into her brain stem for 24 hours before they called an ambulance. She was in a coma in ICU, and she was going to die.

I hung up the phone and called another friend to tell her, but since I was the one who handled the heavy stuff I was the one to handle this too. She told me that she was glad that I was going to the hospital because she did not think she could handle it. She did pick up her guitar and wrote a beautiful song about Butterfly though as was her way. In a panic I grabbed my purse and ran out the door to the car with my husband to race to the hospital. I left the door of the house wide open because I was in flight mode.

When I got there I saw Butterfly, who was normally vibrant and full of life, looking like a dead person and hooked up to life support. The doctors said that after looking at her brain scans there was really no hope for her to live, and if by some small chance she did live that she would be a vegetable unable to walk, talk, or do anything. (Thank God I had written her that letter just in time.)

I went into warrior mode. I went to her bedside almost everyday and held her limp hand and prayed. I spoke blessings over her out loud in the form of scripture verses about love and life, and I talked and talked to her unresponsive body about love, God, Christ, and us. I held hands with her mother and siblings in the ICU waiting room and prayed. Many other people were praying for her too.

I put a picture of Butterfly looking alive, healthy and smiling beautifully up on my wall beside my bed so that I would see this healthy image of her everyday when I woke up. I dug through my junk and found a note that she had left at my house one day that said, “You are loved….B.”  I hung this on my wall as well. I had a dream one night that Butterfly was in my house looking as beautiful as ever and walking around completely healed. In the dream I told her that it was the power of prayer that healed her.

Two weeks went by, and Butterfly remained in a coma. During this time I decided to get baptized at my church. I had been baptized as a baby, but I had never experienced being dunked. I had entered a new stage in life and with God so I really wanted to experience this traditional kind of baptism to symbolize my new life. That day in church I was shaking with nerves and with the power of God that was overwhelming me. I stood in front of the church and told a very tiny condensed version of my story on the microphone, and then I was dunked under the water and raised up in baptism. It was an invigorating experience for me that I cannot explain.

Immediately after church I drove to the hospital to see Butterfly who had been completely dead looking for several weeks. She had been through brain surgery and had her head shaved with big staples coming across her skull. I was coming to once again pray over her, talk to her, and care for her body. I had been sick for a few days so I had not seen her in a few days. When I walked into her room on the day of my baptism my jaw dropped to the floor when I heard her voice say my name, and she said “I love you, and I have missed you so much!” I literally almost passed out!

This was the girl in a coma who was brain dead! She was going to die! There was no hope for her, and she would definitely never walk or talk again!

She just recognized me! She just spoke to me in a complete sentence, and she just told me she loved me! After she said this she went right back to being vegetable like. It was just as if she had one moment of clarity when I walked in the room that day! I got goose bumps, and my hair stood up on my arms.

That day was a turning point though because each time I saw her after that she was more and more conscious. Slowly, slowly over months she began to return to us. She was moved to a rehab facility where she learned to walk very quickly because she has a very strong will. She would not let people help her much. She meant she was going to walk! Over time she began to talk more and more clearly. Her personality was in tact, and she was her crazy old self.

She has had a tough time and a long road. She still forgets words at times or blurts out the wrong word at the wrong time. She still has issues to deal with due to some brain damage, but she is still the same old Butterfly. She still has that spark in her. She is the girl that I always knew. She looks the same. She can walk and talk and even regained her ability to drive. She is my miracle girl. She is Butterfly, and we will always keep in touch.

Years ago I had the honor of being a part of a true tribe. We were brought together by the pull of gravity, by forces of nature, and by God himself I think because somehow we just came together at exactly the right time for exactly the right season. We were all troubled souls, and we were living in an underground party culture, but we were not afraid to seek truth and to talk openly about God in spite of our shadowy existences. There was a core group of about 6 to 8 of us that clung to each other and lived life together no matter what happened.

We literally lived together slumber party style every weekend, and we saw each other as much as possible during the week as well. We were totally vulnerable with one another. We hid nothing, and we let all of our skeletons out of the closet. We did not have to be good or bad when we were together. We were free at last to be ourselves no matter how dark or light we happened to be at any given moment. We were not trying to live up to any standards or uphold any reputations. We just were.

We took care of each other. We watched each other’s backs wherever we went, and we trusted each other with everything (our money, our belongings, our hearts, our lives.) Other people in the sub-culture noticed that there was something unusual about our tribe and about the way that we loved and cared for one another, and they would tell us that they wanted to be a part of it.  We would take them in, but they never hung around too long. They would be transient members that hung out for a time and then moved on or showed that they could not be trusted, but our core tribe never parted. We would argue amongst ourselves at times but not for long. We always came back together and worked it out.

We all had our roles in the group, and I was given the nick name “Lil’ Lightnin'” because I was the tiniest one in the crew, but I had a giant spark. I was the one that everyone knew they could run to at any hour, and I would take them in and care for them. I was always promoting love at all costs, but there was also a wild streak in me that would come out if you crossed me or one of my friends, and then “lightnin’ would strike!” I was always a pacifist, but apparently I could get you with my words in a way that let you know that you had messed with my peeps, and you would know without a doubt that you had been “struck by lightnin’!”

Those days were magical in many ways. We spent so much time together wild and free. Much of that time we were on the beach dancing all night in the light of the moon and the phosphorescence to the music of our own resident DJ. We could also be found huddled together under the stars deeply contemplating the universe or shallowly acting like goofballs  or just being silent as the waves crashed in and out. We let go of every care that we had in the world and lived in the moment. All of the pain and heaviness that we had carried throughout our lives just melted away when were in the comfort of each other’s presence. We were safe  together. We were free to be ourselves. Our hearts were wide open, and we were young wild flowers (both male and female) being carried by the ocean breeze.

We remained together in this strange lifestyle for about 8 years, and then as all things do, things began to change. I realized that I could not live like this forever and that it was time to grow up and straighten up my life. Others in the tribe went through changes of their own, and slowly we began to move apart. It still saddens me to this day that things had to change, but now there is no way to go back. Life is just different now.

But my tribe will always be a large part of my heart. If they need me they know that I am still “Lil’ Lightnin'” at heart, and I will always be here for them. We rarely see each other or talk anymore, and years have gone by. I have not experienced a closeness like that with a group since then. It was a unique thing in life and a unique season. There were consequences for some of our wildness, but I do not regret it. That was a necessary part of my life that carried me through a unique time to the present life that I now live. It was a necessary part of making me the person that I am today and in making me who I am becoming still.

The break up of a family like that is not an easy thing to get over. It has taken me years to transition from that experience. It is hard not to compare everything to it. After years and years I am finally beginning to open my heart to the idea of a new tribe that is in its youthful stages. Love like we had does not die, and it does not easily change, but it does change. And we have moved on.  I thank God for them, and I am thankful for the part that we played in each other’s lives during a crucial time when we all needed each other so much.

~Love to my lost tribe forever~

By the time I was 14 years old I was already in a serious relationship with a boy, and we were together until I was 16. At 16 I got into a new even more serious relationship that lasted until I was about 19. At 20 years old I was in a new serious relationship, and so on. I was always very attached to a boy who was also very attached to me. I had verbal agreements with all of them that we would one day get married, but in the end I was the one that left them all.

This is a story about my first love that began in 8th grade when I was 14 years old, and he was 16. We were both troubled in our own way, and we were codependently attached. All we wanted was to be together all the time. We could not get enough of each other. He would come to my house, and I would go to his house, but that was never enough. So I came up with a plan, and since I have always been a thrill seeker my plan pushed the limits and boundaries pretty well.

My boyfriend’s best friend was quite the architect and builder, and his father was an architect so they created the most incredible tree house of all time.  This tree house was not a little play house in a tree. This tree house was a two story bachelor pad in a tree with a stereo, TV, bedrooms, and small balconies. It was incredible to us! So I instructed my boyfriend to spend the night in the tree house with his friend because I was coming over.

I then asked my older sister if she would sneak me out or basically drive me somewhere that night. She was already moved out of our house, and she felt uneasy about it because she didn’t want the parents to blame her for corrupting me or something.  Looking back I do not blame her at all! So she jokingly said, “Take a cab.”

Aha! Yes! That was my answer! What a marvelous idea! So that night I had my partner in crime (my friend) over to spend the night. Since I was the queen of covering tracks I had every move planned out perfectly. That night we went around the house and secretly unplugged every phone in the house except the one in my room so that no one would hear it ring but us. We hid some clothes in the bushes so that we would have our PJ’s on when leaving the house. That way if someone caught us leaving we could just tell them we were walking outside to hang out on the deck. After all, where would we be going in pajamas?

I called the cab and told them to meet me a little ways from my house at about 1:00am. I even left a note on my bed telling the parents that I had gone to town so that they could not tell me how worried they were if they found that I was missing. So around 12:30, after we got the call from the guys, we sneaked down the stairs and right out the kitchen door in our pajamas.

Once we were a little ways from the house with hearts racing we changed into our clothes and left the PJ’s in the bushes to change back into before re-entering the house. I looked back to make a note of every light that was on or off in the windows of our house so that I would know if there were any changes when we came back home. That way I could prepare myself to face the music when I went inside. Then we started walking faster and faster until we were trotting down the driveway giggling in whispers.

We had to walk a little ways and crawl over a fence to get to our cab, but when we made it there and saw our cab waiting…….Oh what a thrilling sensation we felt as we jumped over that fence giggling!

We were on our way! With our hearts pounding and our jaws clenched in grins from ear to ear we had the cab take us to the hospital which was down the street from my friend’s tree house. Our cab driver’s name was Cecil. We got to know him because once we pulled this off the first time we were addicted, and it became an every weekend joy ride. The boys were waiting for us at the hospital, and they walked with us back to the tree house where we hung out and reveled in the excitement of our badness and our time alone together until the crack of dawn. We then took the cab back to the fence and did the whole process in reverse. Our fear was heightened as we made that return walk back up the driveway to the house, but we made it back home and into bed without a hitch. We then slept until about 3:00pm.

I know…….It was bad, but what a thrill! Those were the days! 😉