Yesterday I received a visit from Oom [Uncle] Johannes, a Medicine Man whose calling is the use of wild herbs, and his apprentice, Antoinette Pienaar. In time I will share more about my encounters with these two wonderful human beings.
While we sat in the garden drinking tea, Oom Johannes was admiring the manner of the cats as they prowled about the cactus. Then he told us a story about something that happened when he used to be a farm laborer. He speaks only in Afrikaans - so this is a translation:
"One day the boss called me and said I must grab a sack from the shed. I took it to him and he filled it with the kittens from a litter this beautiful cat had had a few weeks back. I watched him as he then threw the sack into the water tank. He then turned to me and said that when they stop struggling I must bury them. I told him 'No'. I told him what he had done was a terrible thing, and that he must complete the task. He became angry. I told him that what was really terrible was that he did not even know he has just attacked his own Soul. He got angry with me because I would not obey him. But I didn't care, I was not going to join him in his madness. I then told him his behavior was a prayer to God for help. I said that in a short time from now God was going to help him because he was hurting himself and he didn't even know it."
Oom Johannes said a couple of months passed and one day he walked passed the porch and saw the farmer crumpled in a chair like a broken pile of sticks, sobbing like an abandoned child.
"I asked him what was wrong. He looked up at me with great pain in his eyes. 'Both my sons have just been killed in a car accident...' he sobbed. Well, I looked at him straight in his eyes and said: 'God has answered your prayer Mister.' He looked at me in shock and asked how I could say such a thing? I told him that he now felt exactly what the mother cat felt - and that his sons had received the same experience he had forced upon the kittens. I told him this was God's way of helping him to feel. I told him what makes us foolish is not a lack of brains, it being unable to feel what it is we are doing. I told him God is going to help us all feel so we can stop behaving like fools."