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We must have faith? in ourselves, others

It was dark and as I pulled up, I noticed a woman walking a cat. Odd, I thought. Yet as the two got close, what struck me as exceedingly odd was that the woman bore a strong resemblance to my wife. My thoughts continued — it can't be; we don't have a cat; I hate cats.

As the three of us approached the driveway, I curiously asked, "What's up, honey?"

She replied, "It wouldn't stop following me."

"Bridge," I said, "we have two dogs and you have a husband with a cat aversion."

"I just can't let him go," she said.

Before long there was a litter box, a scoop and cat food in our garage. The next day, my wife Googled "lost cat found in West Seneca" and an instant hit from Craigslist appeared with a picture of the cat, which had been missing for five weeks. After contact was made, a girl and her mother pulled in front of the house. Out jumped the girl and her initial skepticism was erased by a joyous reunion.

I informed the mother and daughter that their cat was not saved by just anyone; an angel from heaven had saved the cat. It is what my wife does; she rescues creatures that have gone astray.

You see, nine years ago I was widowed, left to raise an infant alone. I was lost and alone. In every sense of the word, my creature-loving wife saved me. I recognize that the concept of one person saving another might seem quaint or even laughable. I mean, what the heck, we have TV shows where women date 25 guys at once. Shows where housewives reveal family secrets and constantly fight with their best friends.

I realize that we choose to text and drive, putting the safety of all of us at risk. So the idea of human connectedness may seem a travesty. In this day of Skype and texting, one might think we are more connected, but that is the great irony of our time — being connected has created a disconnect. Are the people we are texting more important than the children in the car ahead of us?

As my conversation with the mother continued, she recognized me as her son's former football coach and as we talked further, she stated it had been a tough month for her daughter. She had lost her cat, and just recently her grandmother had passed.

Then the girl said, "my cat has seizures."

I interrupted, "my wife is an epileptic, your mom just passed and this cat has been gone for how long? This might sound strange to you, but I know that with the help from above your mom gently nudged your daughter's cat into the arms of my wife because she knew the cat would be cared for."

The mother replied, "I bet you are right."

It is my sincere belief that all of us have, at one point or another, the need to be saved and the ability to save another. Yet in our desire to become connected, we have stopped believing that. The result is a society disconnected and, like the texting driver, we are on a collision course. Our schools are not failing; our families are. Our children are not troubled; they are ignored. Somewhere along the journey, we dimmed our hearts and brightened a monitor.

We can all be saved, but we need to have some faith in one another. Faith that if you find yourself wandering into wilderness, it will only allow you to go so far, then it leads out. Did I mention I love cats?

Patrick Braunscheidel, who lives in West Seneca, believes we all have the ability to save another person.