LUCKY GARVIN: Through A Glass Darkly

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Lucky Garvin

For those of us who would trace Heaven’s footsteps, often we must reason like historians; we must ‘read the map backward’ so to speak. To determine the causes of The Civil War, for example, students must turn their attentions retrograde from the war itself to some proximate event, then rearward to the next, then the next, often finding themselves at a happening of no particular notoriety at all; a moment from which not the brightest of minds could have foretold the calamitous outcome.

So – methodologically – those of us who doubt ‘coincidence’, but rather suspect an Invisible Hand at play must move smartly to the rear to find the first of connected dots; none of which have any apparent association with the next, yet, taken together do indeed seem to lead somewhere, not unlike a subtle stratagem.

Rather than leave you in a state of complete confusion, let me set before you an example, beginning with a most commonplace event: a school district bought a new school bus. For years it conveyed its young charges to and from school. After a long life on the road, the vehicle was consigned to a fleet of older buses to be used only as the need arose; much like a ‘substitute’ teacher. One day, the need arose.

A custodian climbed aboard to clean the old bus, and there discovered an unrecorded tragedy: a mother and her five kittens lay dead on the floor. The sixth kitten – runt of the litter – miraculously clung to life. A local vet blew gently on the spark that remained, and slowly the life-fire within the little one burned again.

He was a tri-colored kitten; a ‘tortie.’ Not only was he the litter’s runt, he was a ‘munchkin’; a genetic prescripting which would never allow him to grow more than half the size of a normal cat.

We adopted him, and named him ‘Burglar.” Given his penchant for hiding each day’s mail, the name seemed fitting.

A few years later, one of my grand-daughters – Sophie – came to visit. From first glance, she was fascinated with Burglar; and that fascination was reciprocated. Sophie’s mind was made up: she wanted a kitten; but not just any kitten. It had to be a Burglar look-alike; a tortie.

Upon reaching home, she went searching. Finally, she arrived at an animal shelter, and told them what she was looking for. Yes, they had such a kitten. In fact, she had been there so long, she was scheduled for euthanasia. [My bet would be, she was still at the center because – until Sophie showed up – her Heaven-intended owner had not yet arrived.]

Their loving relationship lasted seven years. But then little Lito was diagnosed with a wide-spread lymphoma. Lito passed away, and went to wait for Sophie at Heaven’s Gates.

Several days thereafter, a grief-stricken Sophe sat in church. Her minister stood up and said quietly to the congregation: Like ministers everywhere, I plan my sermons ahead of time. But, every so often, I feel the strongest need to break from my plans; that what I had planned is not what is needed; and so, as with today, I will speak from the heart, and talk about love and loss…

He asked the assemblage how many of them had recently lost a loved one. Five hands went up; so, alone in her grief, Sophie was not alone in her loss.

We are, I think, very ill-suited to detect all that goes on about us. Our ‘reality’ is but a small portion of the whole.  There are sounds we may not hear, colors we may not see; some things too large, and others too small for us to grasp. For the little we detect in our defined existence, I suspect much more is there.

But if there were a celestial app, and Heaven’s daily business were revealed to us – the invisible made manifest, and presented to us unveiled – I wonder if we would see angels bustling all about, busy with creating circumstances and possibilities, and ‘coincidences.’  And then – no app required – we would see a peekaboo or an ‘I love you’ from God presented to us as a sunset or the soft enchantment in a baby’s eyes.

That said, is there truly a thread which extends from a shiny new school bus many years ago, to a hushed congregation in the present day?

My intuition says Heaven has a plan in play here, it’s true; but rationally, I can’t fathom its purpose. But then – beyond merely chronicling – the plan may not be about me; the end-point not for me to know. So, I told my Sophe of all these events that she may be on the lookout for the conclusion.

She may find, although you’d never think it so, sometimes things become more clear at a distance. The apparent disconnection of a kitten and a school bus will one day be obvious in some Heaven crafted sense.

Lucky Garvin