Meowing in the distance
The other day we had to have our cat put down. He was an old cat, seventeen we had had him from a kitten, and in his late years extremely lame. All his life he had been an outdoor cat and even in these last years spent from dawn until dusk in the summer, and most of the night too for all we knew, outside. He met his end in the most horrible way. Spending so much time outside and being so lame, he was very vulnerable to fly strike. A fly must have laid her eggs in his softest parts, his eyes and his anus, and one hot day last week the maggots hatched out and began to eat his eyes and his bowels. When our neighbours found him, he was in the sorriest of states. And yet, dreadful as this was, it is not this horror that possesses my mind, but the intense pleasure he gave me when, last thing at night, I would call him and would hear him meowing in the distance and then he came. It was just a nuisance, having to go out last thing to find him, and he was just wanting his supper, I try to tell myself. But I know it was far more than that. It was an intense pleasure, the kind of pleasure you get from hearing Janet Baker singing Strauss’s Four Last Songs or listening to the Elgar Cello Concerto. It was life going beyond itself, and increasingly I think this is what God must be, life going beyond itself. Increasingly I think there must be a dimension of reality beyond the one we currently inhabit, that from time to time peeps into ours and when it does gives us intense joy. I have come to believe, too, that science is now pointing us towards this further dimension. How can protons and electrons be both particles and waves? But they are. How can two subatomic particles communicate with each other instantly and simultaneously even though they are separated by the whole universe? But they do. And how can my cat meowing in the distance have given me such intense pleasure? But he did. I await renewing my acquaintance with him in the resurrection – if there is a resurrection.