Monday, June 28, 2010

Following My Calling: Installment 1

Recently I've realized the purpose for my life. This was not an easy process. Think of a chick knocking relentlessly on its shell, trying to get out and only making a hairline fracture progress day by day. Then imagine she finally gets a chunk of the shell gone, pokes her head through, and promptly gets it stuck there, reminiscent of some hideous cartoon character. Next come her feet, set free so she can walk, but there are still layers to be free from--there is still a part of her craving the sun and her Mother's love, that needs destroyed, that needs cracking...that needs, over time, simply to disintegrate and fall away.

Sometimes my process of realization felt like that. And sometimes it felt, to use another farm girl metaphor, like I was the little kitten who, when I recently went out to the barn to feed the donkeys, was brutally and quite literally flung from her mother's womb when I inadvertently interreupted the feral cat in labor under the hay pile. Sometimes it felt like that: I was shockingly vulnerable, covered in placenta, stuck with pieces of hay and straw, propelled into this new world of "My Calling" without any preparation, without any explanation, without the comfort of the womb I had gotten so used to. It was a pain that went beyond knowing, a sadness and despair that could not even be spoken of, a feeling of abandonment and confusion that was so inherent in the experience of being me that I could not even put thought or words to it.

When I saw this little kitten, still in its placental sack, on the barn floor, I acted without thinking. My animal husbandry instincts are so finely tuned that I knew, without having to remind myself, that I could not touch this precious little being. If I touched it with my human hands, her terrified mother would never own it, never love it, and it would surely die. Even if I moved it carefully I would be interfering with Mother Nature's course and disallowing any possible future relationship that the kitten could have with its true mother. I would be destroying life in an attempt to save it. So I did what was the hardest thing for me, in all of my mothering instincts, to do: I walked slowly, silently away. And I stayed away for a half hour, knowing that raccoons and possums and tomcats, all who are immediate threats to young kittens, walk through the barn at every hour of the day and night. I walked away, because I knew that I had no power to save this little, vulnerable baby. Something bigger had to do the work, something much more powerful and wiser than I had to take control. I had to trust, beyond my heart-breaking desire to "make it all better" and to "save the world". I had to let go.

In the process of recognising and finding my true calling, I feel like I've been every character in this slightly gruesome tale. I've been the terrified mother cat, interrupted in what could have been a gorgeous moment of becoming. I've been myself, of course, witness to the "tragedy" and wanting to make it all better. And, yes, I've been the abandoned kitten, lost and alone on the barn floor.

I used to think that each of these characters, Me in Flight, Me Wanting to Take Control, and Me in Despair, defined who I am. I was lost in the midst of the drama all around me, not knowing, and therefore not trusting, that there is a way to faith, and that all will turn out well.

When I came back to the barn after spending that agonizing half hour away, I did not know what to expect. I was prepared for the worst. As a kid growing up on the farm I've seen it all, and I did not want to see yet another example of Mother Nature's brutal "give and take". This time I knew where the mama was nesting down, and I took it slow, listening to the high-pitched mews that only newly born kittens make, and the incessant, blissful purring from the mother that is the loudest, most contented purr any cat on earth has ever emanated. I peeked under the bale of hay and saw the mama there, licking her babies furiously, nipples upturned and ready to nourish her them, now no longer traumatized from being ripped from the womb, but thirsting for all the goodness in life, and all the love that was there waiting for them.

Love saved that little kitten. It is a love that is indescribable, uncontrollable. It moves on its own, beyond thought and beyond explanation. Love kept the raccoons and tomcats away, and gave the wild mama cat a courage driven by motherly instincts that outweighed her fear of humans. Love created this incident, not to distress me and to make me weep at the lack of control that I have over Nature and her ways, but to play for me a beautiful movie, an opera on the stage of "real life", which could heal my heart and show me that, indeed, all is well, and the Mystery of Life takes care of everything.

Sometimes the characters in this story shift in my mind. Sometimes the abandoned baby is my voice. Sometimes it's my soul, or my heart. Sometimes the Me That Walked Away is my Master Teacher Jean-Ronald. Sometimes it's my Higher Self. Sometimes, though less frequently than before, I am the Terrified Mother, ready to give it all up to save what I think is "Me", even in the face of no danger at all. And, sometimes, in fact, yes, all of the time, I am Love herself, living in the space of allowing and rejoicing in even the most difficult of circumstances.

I thank God and all of Her Love for this experience, for the way that She gives us metaphors, all around us, for interpreting what goes on in the world inside us. I thank God for the chance to be Love, to live Love, and to let go in the midst of all Her glory.

I thank God that She comes down from Love, as Love, in so many ways, so that we can find Her in all things--which is our calling, after all.

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