A Kitten With the Voice of a God

A question, which sounds silly but is quite serious:

If a kitten could talk, what would it sound like?

Would you expect a high, squeaky voice just within the upper range of human hearing? A timid, shaky quality? A lisp so cute that it causes Type 3 diabetes?

You would be wrong.

I speak from experience, for I have heard a kitten speak, and it sounded like James Earl Jones bellowing into a 50,000 watt PA system at the bottom of a mile-deep canyon.

Maybe I should give you a little backstory.

Riding down the street in a slightly less reputable part of town, I stooped at a disused, detached garage. There were some feral kittens, barely larger than baby shoes, playing in the driveway; they looked at me in curiosity, until one dove into the garage in fear, and the rest followed suit.

One of them poked its head out of the small gap between the door and the ground, and locked its eyes to mine.

I couldn’t move.

The Universe shrank to fifteen feet of space separating me from this near-microscopic fuzzy head. Lightning seemed to strike between the hemispheres of my brain, and my head was shaken, as the kitten spoke with a deep, booming, cavernous echo:

“Any life, no matter how tiny, is a triumph.”

The kitten, having imparted this Divine Wisdom, zipped its head back into the garage, and with this linchpin gone, the Universe expanded back to its normal shape and size, and my hearing returned. Wind sighed in the trees, the sun placed gentle hands on my shoulders.

And most of the doubts I’d been experiencing evaporated. I knew where I had to go with this. I knew, that this was a Truth of the Universe.

Do you doubt? I hear some derisive snorting. (I hope you have some tissues, derisive snorting can get messy.)

So let me point out that this kitten, so fragile, so new that it had some difficulty even raising its own foofy little teacup head, was yet a great explorer: learning its way around the yard, trying to make sense of the enormous world contained in a driveway which to me was a few steps’ distance. It was moving, looking, seeing, doing…though lacking any obvious Mama Cat, it was not just lying around waiting to die.

It was alive, and not only that, living.

Let me bring this up to our level. Consider a Navy SEAL charging into a hostile zone to retake a MASH unit. Consider a guru in an ashram dispensing peace and tranquility to all comers. Consider a celebrity making an offhand remark that crashes the stock market of a small European country.

I am none of these things. If you’re reading this, there’s a better than 50% chance that you aren’t any of these things either.

What that kitten taught me, in a way that sank in, is that you don’t have to be any of these things.

Don’t misunderstand, these things are great, and it is great to aspire to any of them, (or other lofty ambitions,) I only say that one can be just as important, just as meaningful, just as triumphant, without being “up there.”

“Any life, no matter how tiny, is a triumph.”

Does it take courage to be a Navy SEAL? You bet your snorkel it does. Does it sometimes take courage just to get out of bed and face your world? Without a doubt. Courage is courage; magnitude is meaningless. Does it take compassion and wisdom to be a guru? By the hair on a camel’s navel, it does. Do you need a loyal following and a Doctorate in Theology to have compassion and wisdom, much less dispense it? Of course not. Does fame have its perks? Yes. And if anyone knows you at all, then you are a local celebrity. You still have that perk.

Think of all the people whose names you know from history books. Then think that at any given moment in history, there were about a billion people on Earth whose names you don’t know. Each one of them was just like the people you do know about…just on a scale smaller than history.

A life lived on a small scale is still a life, still meaningful, still a triumph.

And as I have just shown you, even a life as tiny as a little black tennis ball with legs is still big enough to carry the voice of a god.

That is the Truth.

And Truth rides a motorcycle.


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