We live in a world in which bad things still happen.
You don’t need me to tell you this. You only need glance towards Brussels, or Suite FIV, or, sometimes, your own sad heart.
We are never without reminders of the world’s sharp edges. Just listen to Amos.
Well, not “listen,” exactly. If Amos had his druthers, you wouldn’t hear a sound from his corner of the cosmos.
But even in his silence, Amos speaks. His coal round eyes speak; his soul-searing X-rays speak; his scared, stock-still silence speaks.
The shrapnel in his side speaks.
We know very little of Amos’ pre-Tabby’s-Place path. In some ways, it would be easier if we knew even less. But choosing to love means stooping to know, and so to ache.
By the time we trapped Amos, the sharp end of the world’s worst had torn him terribly. For reasons we can’t imagine, all four of the big-headed feral boy’s legs were broken, warped and wrecked in different ways.
Four different injuries. Four different incidents. Four different injustices against all that is holy.
Were that all, we might be able to anesthetize ourselves into believing these were birth defects, accidents, coincidences of some non-cruel kind.
But Amos permits us no such slumber.
In addition to his assaulted arms and legs, Amos bears a certain sign of what’s wrong with the world: a bullet, lodged in his body for the rest of his life.
This was no accident.
And, as forgiving as cats prove themselves to be, there comes a point at which they won’t forget.
Amos hasn’t forgotten what he can’t unsee, unfeel, unknow about the brutality of reality. To say that he distrusts us would be a grave understatement.
And yet…Amos is here now.
Amos is loved more than he may ever understand.
Amos will never, never be brutalized again.
It remains to be seen how clearly we can communicate this to him. While an Adelaide or a Wilhelmina can springboard straight from sorrow to glee, some sadness takes longer.
Maybe a lifetime.
Maybe longer than a lifetime.
And yet…that’s okay.
Even if Amos doesn’t realize it yet.
I’ve heard it said that the most powerful words in the Bible are “and yet” — or, more explicitly, “but God.” As in, there was no way to escape that terrible situation…and yet God made a way out of no way.
Or, we were wrong, totally at fault, hopelessly stupid and selfish and at each other’s throats…but God loved us anyway, and somehow He’s making us better, too.
And yet. But God. The story doesn’t end in fear and failure. Not Amos’, not yours, not mine, not this tired world’s.
We’re all carrying a bullet or two beside our hearts. The ugliness of this world is real, and wretched, and raging like it’s about to reduce the whole cosmos to chaos.
And yet…ugliness has an expiration date.
But God…will bring beauty for ashes, songs of joy for wails of mourning, plowshares for swords, endless day for cruelest night.
Yes, we’re all carrying wounds. So let’s keep carrying each other, too. We wait, with Amos, for two words that signal the turning of the tide.