Hump Day: We could all use a touch from an angel

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Last week, I came upon a very sad scene on a major thoroughfare. As I drove by, I saw two ladies kneeling on the sidewalk beside a cat who’d just been hit by a car.

I went around the block and returned to the scene to see if I could help. The poor little cat was in rough shape and likely wouldn’t make it. He had no collar. He was thin. He had fleas. Based on these facts, he was likely a stray.

A rough end to a rough life had befallen this little creature who bravely (or stupidly) tried to cross Mountain Road in Moncton at rush hour only to be on the losing end of a collision with a truck. One of the ladies caring for him until the Greater Moncton SPCA arrived on the scene told me the gory details of the aftermath of the cat being hit by the truck. I’ll spare you that story. I still can’t get it out of my mind.

Afterwards, I found out through Facebook that the cat passed away before help arrived — likely a blessing to a poor little homeless feline who was constantly on the move for his next meal — even if it meant a suicidal attempt to cross a busy street that has been the downfall of many pedestrians who tried to cross at a marked crosswalk, let alone just bolt across like a stray cat and hope for the best.

One lady had her hand on cat and was checking for a pulse. It was faint. The cat’s little face was turned away from me. I couldn’t see if it was breathing. It was, but it was terribly shallow. “I’m not leaving him. I’m staying,” one lady said. The cat may have led a lonely existence on the street, but in its final moments, it went out with a caring hand caressing its broken little body.

The driver of the truck left it for dead (even though apparently he knew darn well it wasn’t dead) and just took off. Luckily for the cat, there was someone who swept in to make up for the driver. At least it didn’t die on the sidewalk alone.

Needless to say, this scene was both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time. Beautiful because I saw a level of compassion that we don’t see every day – and heartbreaking because it just didn’t have to end like that… at least in a perfect world. Unfortunately, we’re not in a perfect world, and stray animals are a fact of life.

Whether we’re a cat or a human being, I don’t think we’re alone when we die – whether it be on a sidewalk or in a hospital room. I believe there are a bunch of “figures” (for lack of a better term) who stay with us and accompany us on our journey to wherever we’re going – whether you call it heaven, the other side, or what have you.

Have you ever watched the TV series Touched by an Angel? It ran on CBS for 211 episodes between 1994 and 2003. I absolutely loved that show. It was the best PR that spirituality and God had in a long time. The show focused mainly on Monica, a case-worker angel; Tess, her supervisor angel; and Andrew, the Angel of Death.

Each episode would feature a scenario where someone would be in trouble for a variety of reasons and the angels would help them to see the errors of their ways or offer them comfort. Of course, those who needed the help never knew that Monica, Tess or Andrew were angels until the climax of the episode when they revealed their identities.

The viewer would hear a little bell go off and then a light would appear over the angel’s head – I guess it was their version of a halo. I’m telling you, every time that little light went on over Monica’s head, I’d have to reach for a tissue. Uhm, you know, because apparently I’m allergic to halos. It wasn’t because the show made me cry or anything.

Well, if you didn’t cry at least once per episode while watching that show, you must have had a heart of stone. I swear, if you want to make me, uhm, “allergic” to something, just ring a bell and shine a flashlight on top of your head and I turn into a blubbering idiot… emphasis on idiot! Just some dust in my eyes, folks!

Were these shows proof that God or angels exist? Of course not. That takes faith, but it’s nice to see some “proof” from time to time, even if it’s through television shows.

There was also Joan of Arcadia, a drama that ran for only two seasons from 2003 to 2005. The show featured the Girardi family and focused on young Joan, a high school student who spoke regularly to God, who would show up as different people during the day, be it a homeless man, cashier, pizza delivery guy, old lady or – my personal favourite – the Goth kid who wore lots of mascara and black lipstick.

I miss shows like Joan of Arcadia and Touched by an Angel. I really do. They were comforting. The good guys always won. God loved everyone, even the bad guys. And we weren’t all just puppets being manipulated by strings that went up to heaven.

Whether you’re a stray cat or just a guy writing a column, I hope that God and the angels end up being more like those portrayed in Touched by an Angel or Joan of Arcadia. I’ve pretty much had it with the hellfire, brimstone, anger and judgment so many so-called spiritual people choose to reflect onto the world.

One of these days, I hope I’m in a rough situation when all of a sudden I hear a little bell and a light goes over the head of the person I’m talking to, and they say, “Surprise! Guess what I am!” I just hope I’m wearing an adult diaper when it happens.

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