The word “divine” has fallen on strange times.
Paula Deen’s candy is “divine.” One of John Waters’ muses is Divine. If you play your taffies right, Candy Crush will proclaim you “DIVINE!”
And the name Divya is Sanskrit for divine. At least one of those definitions honors the word well.
Divya is, in fact, radiant with divine brilliance. She’s in full glimmer today — but there was a time, not long ago, when her sparkle was smudged-over.
Let’s go back to circa May 2014. Somewhere in the tri-state area, an ailing woman breathed her last, leaving behind loved ones of two species. The ones without tails were overwhelmed or numb or bereft — it’s not ours to judge. Whatever the reason, they cast out the one with the tail. Once an indoor cat, the black-and-white orphan was now in the darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Teeth were about all Divya had to gnash in those days. Unaccustomed to finding food that scurries, the confused cat went without. Days turned into weeks, and Divya’s liver did what livers do in starvation mode: it gobbled up her fat reserves to keep her alive.
Desperate fat is not an appropriate diet for livers, and Divya began fading.* Her condition was dire when suddenly, she was seen.
Divya was not much to look at when she caught the eyes of grace. Skinny and stumbling, she was still sweet — but no one would have known that without first approaching the ghost of a cat. “Divine” would not be the first word to spring to mind for most noticers of this creature. Her coat and her spirit had been rubbed rough, and it’s likely even the natural sweet cat smell had been replaced by outdoor odors.
Who would approach? Who would notice? Nothing to see here. Nothing divine.
Nothing, unless you had eyes to see.
Theologians sometimes speak of Deus absconditus, “the hidden God.” This means not so much that God is giggling behind an oak tree as that we can’t apprehend Him. God could be exhaling stars right in front of you, yet He’d still be largely, mostly, mysteriously unknowable to your finite human mind.
But every so often, the veil tears loose. All of a sudden, ready or not, you do have eyes to see. The bush is burning. The heavens are opened. You’re aware of a Love that you can’t earn, that’s yours and here and now.
This is why I never rarely feel anger towards those seemingly cold-hearted souls who don’t lose sleep over surrendering and abandoning and otherwise Doing Bad By cats. Surely their actions are wrong. But if our hearts or actions are ever right, it’s only because we’ve been given hearts to hear a higher frequency. Our love comes from beyond us. What do we have that we have not received?
At her most absconditus, Divya was seen by the One who loves her best and the one He put in her path. Through the smell and the sorrow and the skinny sickness, a bright-eyed woman saw a spark of the divine…and could not unsee it.
The rest is a ride of Alps and canyons. Divya came to Tabby’s Place, her divine origin no longer a secret. But victory — nay, survival — was not guaranteed. Div had an extreme case of hepatic lipidosis, and it would be ages of intensive care and feeding-tube follies before hope was anything but foolish.
Foolish hope and anointed eyes make a good team, though, and today Divya’s divine origin blasts beams throughout our Lobby.
Plump, shimmering and snuggle-high, Divya has only begun to claim her life. Within 48 hours free in the Lobby, she determined that this was not enough world for her, and promptly trotted into the back hallway. Now she can jot it in her travelogue: discovered: dust bunny T-rex, boring storage room, even more funny-looking humans.
Divya has been gentle with her inferiors. Serene and squishy, she spends most of her hours in a large, open crate. J-Ro remarks that it seems an invisible forcefield keeps Divya caged. The door stands open, the world before her, but it’s as though Divya knows most creatures can only handle so much up-close glory.
Moses wore a veil over his face after talking to God, since his homies couldn’t handle the bright light of divinity. Divya’s come close enough to God’s heart that she’s erupting radical radiance. It’s a concession to our easy-overwhelm that Divya keeps contained. She ventures out only when our souls are ready.
OK, and also when she’s in the mood to give Casper the smackdown.
Like you and me, Divya’s a crazy-quilt of earth and eternity, holiness and havoc. She doesn’t get it all right all of the time, but there’s a larger love to see her through.
We’re grateful this gift of Deus is absconditus no more. You are seen and known, luminous Divya.
*”Desperate Fat” is, however, a great name for a band.