The love, support and encouragement that I’ve received since my cat Peaches disappeared has been awe inspiring. People have shared stories about how their cats went missing for weeks, months, even years, and yet, returned home. The many people that tell me that they feel my pain are so genuine and well-meaning that it brings tears to my eyes. There is a camaraderie amongst cat-people that rivals any other group of like-minded people that I’ve ever known.
As the owner of Johnny’s I’ve learned firsthand how powerful the bond is between bikers. They bend over backwards to help complete strangers in the brotherhood. As a writer who has attended many conferences, I know what it’s like to assemble with kindred spirits and immerse yourselves in your passion together. As a Christian I know very well how much my spirit is lifted when gathering with people who share a sincere love for Christ. And without my Al-Anon group’s support I wouldn’t have the beautiful story of renewal and redemption that I told in my memoir Born Again in a Biker Bar.
I have to say that my comrades in Al-Anon draw the closest comparison to the cat-lovers that have offered me solace through this harrowing experience. When they tell me that they feel my pain and are hurting and praying for me, I can hear the sincerity in their voice and feel it in the written words of even complete strangers. There is nothing like the support of like-minded people to build a person up and help them to keep the faith through an unnerving experience. The gift of hope that these people have bestowed upon me means more than I could ever begin to put into words.
I believe that God is behind every bit of support that I receive and He sends it to me right when I need it most. As a partner in the Joyce Meyer Ministries for more than ten years I receive a lot of wonderful gifts, many of which I give to people that I think will be blessed by them. I received her book Get Your Hopes Up months ago. I tucked it away in my office and forgot that I even received it. I don’t think it was a coincidence that I decided to clean up my office on Saturday and came across her book. The gift of hope is something that I need desperately right now. A small Bible study booklet accompanied her book and I’m being blessed by it more than I can say. Joyce always sends a person to their Bible to get a personal word from God. I needed that push. Without my baby girl’s disappearance I may not have picked up the book. As I’ve said before, the mantra, “The Lord works in mysterious ways,” is paramount in my life.
I’ll confess that I have moments of weakness and I wonder if I’ll ever see my Peaches again. The sorrow that envelopes me in those moments is more than I can bear. That’s why I know those horrible thoughts are from my enemy Satan. Joyce sent me to a scripture this morning that speaks to those lies in Jeremiah.
Every time my phone rings and I don’t recognize the number my heart races and I wonder, is this someone who knows where my Peaches is? Last night around 7:00 I got a call from a man that lives off of Los Altos Drive who’d seen one of my flyers and thought he’d spotted my Peaches. I was filled with hope and couldn’t get my cat carrier and my butt in my car fast enough. Tommy and I drove to his house and saw no less than five cats in his front yard. This was definitely a cat person. He told us to follow him around to the back of his house. When he informed me that he’d called the name Peaches and the cat turned around and looked at him and I started to cry right then and there. I went to the back of his house calling my girls name and there was no orange tabby to be seen. After about three of the longest minutes of my life, a large, older orange tabby sprinted by. It was definitely not Peaches. Once again my hopes were dashed. The poor man apologized profusely and I told him not to even think about apologizing. His lovely wife came out along with one of their six cats at her feet. These people understood my pain.
Today I walked for almost two hours again, passing out and posting up flyers. I visited with a neighbor who I’d never met before and he shared a story about when he thought that his family had lost their cat that was hiding in their trailer on a camping trip. Once again, a blessing from a stranger. As I said in the beginning of this article, the gift of hope and the blessings attached to it that I have been given through this experience has been nothing short of miraculous. It is by the grace of God that I am bearing up under the emptiness I feel without my cherished cat at my side. And the grace, love and support from people that I love, as well as perfect strangers.