“It helps, I think, to consider ourselves on a very long journey: the main thing is to keep to the faith, to endure, to help each other when we stumble or tire, to weep and press on.”
~ Mary Richards ~
What a journey these last few days have been, and they are far from over, but somewhere between last night and this morning a kind of calm came over me. It's that place where you have cried so many tears you can cry no more, where everything that can be done has been done far and wide, and finally, while not ever, certainly, giving up, we come to a crossroads when the sacred sanctity of that still small voice within speaks to us, if we have a heart that will hear. I want Henry back with everything in me, and I may be blessed with his return. Prayer chains are going on all over the world for this little grey bird that over a decade has won the hearts of so many, and I thank everyone. It is the love, the prayers, the support and kindness, the generosity of my nearest and dearest and others far away who have gone above and beyond to get the word out in every way imaginable way and then some, that has lifted me up, not just through their actions, but through the compassionate grace and kindness they have shown me. "Thank you," doesn't suffice, but they are the only words I can think to say at this point, and they are delivered with all the love a heart can hold.
It is a funny thing that happens at a time like this. Amidst the grief, the shock, the knife-like pain that seems to slice you into pieces, come rays of light that allow a new kind of vision to emerge. Alongside the searching, the hoping, and the praying you become keenly aware of how much you are loved -- because we forget -- and you are touched by people who don't even know you in ways that move you so deeply you are changed forever. Along with that you become keenly aware of the preciousness of all that you have, and you hold it dear. There are 11 other animals in this little cottage that need me. I have loved them tenderly, and gone to an even deeper level of awareness of the sacred gifts they are in my life. And that they are dependent on me also moves me through the days when I haven't felt like moving at all. I have become keenly aware of everything in my surroundings. This morning I watered all of the plants in the house with special care. I have been made acutely aware of how very blessed I am, and if I am graced by Henry's presence once more, it will be a richer atmosphere, a place where he is held even dearer than ever before, as they all will. Sometimes life jolts us out of our complacency and a kind of living stupor, going through the days taking things, precious things, for granted. As this electric current burns a path through our body, opening everything up, so much is there that spills out that we didn't know was there or didn't take time to see, and as we gather it all up in our arms we are given the opportunity to give thanks and praise for all that we can, and expand our world with more and more love, we can take more care to reach out to others as the dear people who have reached out to us have, awakening the human connection we all have, but in this fragmented world often forget.
I am remembering, now, a quote that I read recently by Viktor Frankl. Born in 1905, died 1997, he was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and a Holocaust survivor. When I read this quote it gave me great food for thought. Little did I know that, so very soon, it would have such deep relevance to me. He wrote...
"Whether we grow from this, or whether we die from this, is up to us."
As a Holocaust survivor he knew very well the depth of this lesson. And when I use it, I am not by any stretch entertaining the possibility that Henry won't return, but the time lived from here to there is a very critical time in my own soul development and in what I carry forward with me in life. There are many lessons I am learning through this, many awakenings, small and large, that will stand me in good stead no matter the outcome. I hope for the best, I pray for the best, but still I must go on every day from here to there and beyond, caring, ever more tenderly, for those who love and rely on me, as well as those I have never met and will never meet. Pain and suffering can harden or destroy us, it can also open us and soften us. My way is the latter, and my heart expands, exponentially, with each passing moment, as e-mails, prayers, and little kindnesses arrive.
I am being given so much. I am now more determined to give as as much as I possibly can within the ever-expanding confines of my own life. Little kindnesses, a tender word, a hand held, a warm meal taken, flowers brought, and most importantly, one's presence are things that we dismiss as small and unimportant. Let me tell you, from where I'm sitting right now they are huger than the solar system. They are the fabric of life, what holds it together. I, a weaver, one who creates large canvases of fiber, color, and texture, will now weave into my life all of the many things that have been given and done for me in these last days, so that I might not ever forget, and so that I will pass them on.
While I pray for the safe return of my little grey feathered man, and thank all of you who have been so kind, many in ways I will likely never know, I will continue to keep the faith, always, I never give up hope. Emily Dickinson said it best of all...
Hope is the thing with feathers --
that perches in the soul --
that sings the tune without the words
and never stops at all.
I won't stop Henry. I'm here waiting for you, now, always.
With Deep Tender Affection and Gratitude,