Walking in Faith

Have you ever had a day so strange that by the end of it, you feel completely unsettled—that anything could and probably would happen? Yesterday, I had a day like that.

It started out as usual. I had consumed about half a cup of coffee when Teddy came in from outside, crying in distress. One look at him told the story: his muzzle was swelling, and pea-size hives covered his head and were popping out along his back. I suspected he had been stung by an insect, but there was no time to waste. On the way to the emergency vet, I prayed that his airway would not close.

When we arrived, they took him in immediately. Waiting for Teddy in our car, I sent up scattered prayers, thinking, Surely he won’t die … But then, in this year of 2020, anything could happen.

After what seemed a very long time—but was really about thirty minutes—the vet called and told us Teddy had had an allergic reaction to a bee sting (they had found the stinger), and he would be able to go home shortly. Thank God!

When we arrived home, I put the very quiet Teddy in his bed with Sadie. I then made myself a cup of coffee and stared out the window, not really seeing much. I was wired already from natural adrenalin, but it was that strange energy that comes after a crisis and is usually followed by being as limp as a dishrag. I turned to go check on Teddy but he wasn’t in their bed—he was standing on the door of the new dishwasher, looking pleased with himself.

That was when thoughts of the unreality of the day started to seep in …

Later in the day, some of my grandchildren stopped by, and we started chatting about crazy stuff related to the world situation. The conversation devolved into conspiracy theories and ended up at the dead-end topic of aliens. A relative had given me a book about people from other worlds living among us. Although I don’t believe in aliens on Earth, it scared the hell out of me. Actually, conspiracy theories are pretty terrifying too. A friend of mine calls these wide-ranging conversations “cheap philosophy.” Usually I enjoy them, but last night the rhetoric in the fading twilight contributed to my sense of insecurity. I felt like an overfilled hot-air balloon that has only one frayed rope connecting it to Earth.

As we made our way to bed, I reviewed my day and prayed that I would not have nightmares, because if there was ever a day made for nightmares, it was this one. I was just drifting off to sleep when I heard the eerie cry of a coyote that was very close. In seconds it was answered by the pack at the top of our hill. The dogs stirred, and I put my hands on them even as I wondered what the coyotes were communicating.

Eventually, their piercing cries were replaced by the usual night sounds, and the dogs settled down and so did I only to be jerked backed to consciousness by emergency sirens. After reassuring the dogs once again, I rolled on my side and said a prayer of protection, then fell into a deep sleep. I even slept through a series of modest earthquakes.

This morning is another day. The fog is burning off quickly. The leaves of the camphor tree are dripping from the heavy fog that blanketed our valley last night. Draped between some branches, an intricate spider web is revealed. I feel safe and secure. Gone is the adrift feeling of last night, and I wonder why. Then I realize that it is faith. It does not matter what or if you have a religious belief. Faith holds us together and ties us to Mother Earth and our fellow humans. Faith gives us hope that even though the world feels like it is spinning out of control, there is someone or something that will see us through and will never abandon us.

I am reminded of the Navajo prayer I have taped to my desk drawer:

Happily may I walk.

May it be beautiful before me.

May it be beautiful behind me.

May it be beautiful above me.

May it be beautiful all around me.

In beauty, it is finished.

Have a beautiful day!

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