Go to my son’s room and you’ll see a small, stone Buddha-Cat. I’m too lazy to go upstairs right now to get a good glimpse at it and make sure I’m giving an accurate description. I’m too tired after an eleven mile walk and one mile run (Appalachian Trail training has begun in sincerity).
As I recall, the Buddha-Cat has its paw stretched over its head. It reminds me of the classic happy-Buddha and always gives me joy when I see it.
Not just because of the fact that this is Happy-Buddha-Cat. But because of the gift-giver. The kindest man I have ever known….
Horace was a guidance counselor in our school; I swear he didn’t just counsel the students. I know that I have spent hours in his office, many times crying, spilling out my heart and the fractures I couldn’t keep together with old Band-Aids and frayed ribbons. He helped me understand students who were completely un-understandable. He guided me past stereotypes and bad first impressions to see the humans hiding under the barbed-wire, unhappy exoskeletons. He reminded me that no matter how angry or ugly the students might be or act, their needs exceeded my own and I had to ensure that the students were cared for.
I don’t know if the name Horace is an Anglicized version of the Egyptian god, Horus. I did research on Horus and didn’t like that he was the god of war. The Horace I know and love is the god of compassion, the god of kindness, the god of loving wisdom.
Entering Horace’s office is like entering into a museum of goodness, a chapel dedicated to excellence. His walls were covered in pictures of students, each one a smiling portrait that had been personally bequeathed to Horace. And I know that if I gave him enough time, he would tell me each and every story for each and every student.
He knew his students.
He had a weekly calendar in which the work days were divided into 30 minute increments. In black were the names of people who had made appointments. In red were the names of the people who dropped by and broke open their scars and bruises in order to find some level of healing.
No matter who they were, Horace was healing. It just didn’t matter.
As I sit here and run through my memories of Horace, I remember gummy bears stuck to his frames from the time when a student pranked him. I remember his Chessie Cats from the Chesapeake train something or other (the cats were always tucked under a blanket and smiled in their sleep). I remember the clocks that told no time because Horace had no need to tell time.
He had no time limits for people. No matter who they were, no matter their need, Horace would stretch the pendulum to its zenith and make time stop. Einstein would have loved Horace.
The world needs more people like Horace. With his kindness, we would never have refugee crises. People would have no need to flee their homes because they would only know compassion. They would only know comfort.
Horace will always be the cat-man. Horace will always be a healer. Horace will always be….