It started yesterday when I woke up so happy in God. I just felt His love and thanked Him for it and for everything He has done. Ever since an amazing thing He did for me a couple weeks ago (that I haven't blogged about yet), I have been riding a kind of residual blessing. Things have seemed so right and so designed. Our agenda for the day was to attend our monthly MUFON meeting, then have dinner with a couple later that evening. This particular couple were the first witnesses to a UFO that we were assigned to since becoming field investigators. We interviewed them last winter and have been friends ever since.
At the end of the MUFON meeting, a few of us were discussing strange coincidence stories. We left on that note, and Richie and I went shopping before meeting up with our friends. Our friends had another couple friend joining us, and they were taking us to an out-of-the-way Japanese Steakhouse, since Austin City Limits made downtown too congested.
There were six total in our party as we waited for our table. As we stood in line, suddenly the door opened and in walked the most recent UFO witness that we have interviewed. This guy lives in Dripping Springs and we haven't seen him since the interview. In fact, I really never expected to see him again unless he attended a MUFON meeting, which he never has. I just stared a moment; it seemed so surreal. I then greeted him and pointed him out to Richie. We introduced him to our friends, our first interviewees, whom we had actually told him about at the time of our interview. Everyone was truly floored: of all the pieces to have fallen into place for us to meet up at that time and place. We had never been to that restaurant, our couple friend had never been, and our most recent witness rarely goes there. It's not like Austin -- the capital of Texas -- is a small town anyway, not to mention that only 2 of the 5 of us in question lived there.
So after good food and good wine and a good time had by all, we drove home. I called our MUFON state section director and told him about running into one witness while eating out with the other ones. He was fascinated and reminded me that George Noory doesn't believe in coincidences; he believes, as I do, there is a design to them.
It was either on our way to or away from the restaurant that I was missing my rats for some reason. I always do, but it was pronounced this evening. I imagined Horace was perched on my shoulder as he always used to be and I tilted my head, trying to remember how it felt to feel his furry little form against my cheek. And that detail will mean something in a moment...
Richie and I attended Dad's church this morning before hopping over to our Episcopal church for the annual Blessing of the Animals (as the Feast of St. Francis is this week). Once we got into the sanctuary, Regan -- who, along with her husband, rents our old house from us -- walked up to me. She and I have never hung out, but her family attends our church and she has always seemed quiet but very nice.
"I saw a rat in the house last night," she began. At first I thought she was telling me (her landlady, after all) that the house had a rat problem. But then she shook her head, "But I knew it wasn't..." she trailed off. I started to suspect what she was telling me, but could hardly believe my ears. As she went on to explain, I knew it was true: she had seen a ghost of a rat in the house -- the ghost of one of my rats.
Regan always knew I had rats, but I am not sure she ever even saw them, and I know she couldn't tell you who was who or what any one of them even looked like. She explained that the rat was walking down the hall, then suddenly, it wasn't there. (It hadn't run off -- it just wasn't there.) She knew she had seen something, but she couldn't figure out what. Then she remembered my rats and realized she had just seen one of them. I asked her to describe it, and she said he had white on his face. Using my phone I got into the Internet and scrolled through my rat pics. I assumed she had seen John-Titor, who was always roaming the halls, but when she saw George's picture, she gasped and said, "That was it!"
It made perfect sense, then, why she hadn't been able to immediately place George as a rat. George is a Dumbo Rex (low ears, curly hair) that doesn't look like a typical rat. "I couldn't tell what he was at first," she said, "He was just so cute!"
I was so comforted at the knowledge that George was whom she had seen. His death had been a particularly painful ordeal, as he had come down with congestive heart failure after only 1 yr. of age and had never recovered, despite my exhaustive efforts to nurse him. He had died in my arms (as all but one of my rats had) while the snow was pouring down outside. I remember how horribly depressed I had felt, watching the snow -- which I normally love -- blanket the ground, everything so gray and drab, and George wasting away in my arms.
And now he had made an appearance around the Feast of St. Francis, the day before the Blessing of the Animals. Richie later asked me what I think it means, George's appearance, and all I can figure is that God was assuring me George lives. I believe that everything (not just humans) with God's breath of life, continues or will be revived one day, and only God knows what that assurance brought me. The unique spirit of each animal, the worth of Creation, and the power of redemption leave no room for debate in my mind.
Incidentally, George's full name was George Noory. I had named him after my favorite radio talk show host, who doesn't believe in mere coincidences.