This morning I planned to post a poem I’ve been working on for a while, about the brokenness of the human condition and the need for mending.
But the poem was stubborn; it wouldn’t allow itself to be finished. I ran out of time. A colleague came to pick me up for a meeting and we left early to beat traffic.
From the outset we encountered detours, one of which providentially took us by McDonald’s to grab a coffee. Liquid stamina.
There in the drive-through, between paying and receiving the order, my colleague and I watched a man pull into a parking place. He got out and opened the trunk of his car…
There wasn’t time to wonder, really, what he might be pulling out of that trunk, or for what purpose. He could have planned an act of destruction; isn’t that where our brains go first, nowadays?
I watched intently, not believing what I saw: The man took out a large bag. He shook it in a corner of the parking lot, by a curb and a tangle of trees.
Out of the brush ran a cat, followed by another.
To eat the food the man brought for them, from the bag he carried in his car.
Mission accomplished, the man returned the bag to his trunk and headed into McDonald’s for his own breakfast.
My colleague, a diehard cat-lover, took time to run in and thank this man. He laughed. “I do this everywhere I go. People either love me or hate me.”
It wasn’t a stop we planned to make, on a detour we hadn’t planned to take. This isn’t the piece on broken humanity I planned to post this morning.
Instead, the detour provided a glimpse of human compassion. A taste of the milk of human kindness.
Or, in this case, the cat food of human kindness.
If we can feel this for homeless cats, we can feel it for one other.
Meaning we’re not so broken. Not yet.
Sometimes a detour is about more than steering around a problem.
Sometimes it’s an opportunity to be fed.
Sometimes detours are a taste of the divine.