The White Dog

pitbull-terrier-americano-posters-20150130065127-54cb29efc389cJournal entry from Sunday night, 30 June 2013:

Well. Such a day. I hit a dog on the way home from the Rescue Ranch; that is about all that’s sticking in my mind at the moment. I have NO idea why they [my Guides] needed to hit me over the head with a two-by-four; what am I missing? I’ll have to wait a day or two to write about this, I think…too upsetting right now, and I can’t “hear” when I’m this upset. ….

What happened, as nearly as I can remember it:

I left the Rescue Ranch around three that afternoon, after a good day with horses and friends. It had started to rain slightly as I drove off, but I ran out from under the rain shortly after leaving.

A mile or two further, I saw a white dog—some bully breed mix, running down a long driveway toward the road. It looked to me like it was planning on chasing my car, so I slowed down from about 45 to around 40 mph, in order to give it lots of time to swerve and avoid me. But it got closer and closer without swerving, though it was looking right at me. I finally realized it was not going to stop, so I braked hard. There was virtually no shoulder—maybe a car-width—between the road and the ditch, so I couldn’t swerve to avoid the dog.

The damn thing, running full tilt and with its tongue lolling happily and LOOKING AT ME, ran right under my car. I heard and felt the breaking of its bones, the heavy thud of its body.

I was stunned. That innocent creature was alive one instant, dead the next, and I was responsible. Shock and disbelief rocketed through my brain. How could that have happened?! I killed a dog.

For an instant, I considered just driving away to avoid confronting a devastated owner. But I couldn’t do that, so I pulled off the road and stopped. I ran back to the dog, though it was obvious that it was quite, quite dead.

When I got there (avoiding getting hit myself!), I picked the creature up and half carried, half dragged it off the road and into the grass at the edge of the driveway. It was heavy—maybe 40 pounds or so, too heavy for me to carry up the long hill to the house and buildings at the top of the drive. The only visible marks on its body were a long smudge of road dirt and a trickle of blood from its mouth, but it was lifeless in my arms, its neck obviously broken and untold damage done to its body.

I left it there and ran up to the house.

A man was standing on the porch watching me. I was crying, saying, “I’m so sorry!” over and over.

“There was nothing you could have done,” he said. “My wife and I saw it happen. The dog doesn’t belong around here.”

“I’m so sorry! It ran right under my car!”

“There was nothing you could have done. Now go on back to your car. You’ve been upset enough.” He was matter-of-fact, not unkind at all, but without any emotion I could sense. That didn’t seem odd at the time, though it does, a little bit, looking back on it.

I walked back down the hill, drenched in tears, and stopped for a minute to kneel beside the dog’s body. It was a young female—not a puppy, but a young dog, well fed and fit. The pink plaid collar she was wearing indicated that she was someone’s pet. I thanked her for her short life, and promised to try to understand the lesson…whatever the lesson was. I certainly had no idea what this encounter could possibly signify.

Driving slowly away, I tried to understand. It wasn’t the dog’s death in itself that bothered me. The dog had died instantly, I have no doubt, thank God! My sense of it is that the dog was dead even before its brain had time to register anything but surprise. I feel like it bounced once in this world, bounced again on the Other Side, and got up still running happily. My Guides are precise. It wasn’t guilt they were trying to instill, but some other meaning. Or so I imagine, though I still do not fully understand—and it’s my lack of understanding that haunts me.

What bothered me then, and still bothers me now, is why was such a violent, shocking event necessary? What am I missing? What have I missed so consistently that this was necessary?

Some might ask why I assume it “meant” anything at all. Every driver hits something or other during her or his driving lifetime. Birds, squirrels, turtles, deer, snakes, whatever—we’ve ALL perpetrated that kind of carnage. But I live my life in the knowledge that we are all intimately connected, and that every event in our lives is resonant and interconnected. In my worldview, there is meaning in everything that happens. So it’s not that I’m suggesting this event was orchestrated for my benefit. Rather, in my worldview, there is/was a resonance that “attracted” the beings who were involved: the dog, the man on the porch, me, the dog’s owners…. There is meaning for all of us, though that meaning will be different for each one.

I wept and puzzled all the way home. “There was nothing you could have done.” The owners of that white dog failed in their responsibility to her by letting her get loose; I was also responsible, to some extent, for failing to anticipate that the dog might not stop in time. But the message to me at that point—I kept hearing it in my head—seemed to be that some things cannot be prevented. Choices are made by all of us, and the result of that constellation of choices becomes reality. There was nothing anyone could have done.

I stopped at a convenience store on the way home to recover a little and get something to drink. I walked into the store and was trying to decide if I needed something to eat—if I could keep anything down…. Behind me, someone said, loudly and clearly, “I have your dog.” I nearly jumped out of my skin. No, wait: HOT dog. I turned around to see that the woman was talking to her husband. “I’ve got your HOT dog.”

Then when I got back to my car, an SUV had parked next to me, on the driver’s side. And there, eyeball-to-eyeball, was…you guessed it, a dog, happily panting and watching for its owner to return. Thank goodness it was a retriever of some sort. If it had been a pit bull, I might have passed out. As I said, my Guides are precise.

So the rest of the drive home, I pondered and cried and pondered some more. “Why was such a violent, shocking event necessary? What am I missing? What have I missed so consistently that this was necessary?”

Over the past decade or so, I’ve gotten pretty darn good about finding the meaning in events, or if not “the” meaning, then at least meaning enough to help me along my path. More recently, I’ve really taken to heart the fact that I can’t “fix” a lot of things that I’d really like to be able to. I thought about a lot of examples as I drove.

Before going home, I stopped at the barn to feed my horses. Their energy helped me calm down, but got me no closer to an understanding. That night I didn’t sleep much, but nothing emerged from my frantic questioning or from my dreams once I finally drifted off.

The question still reverberates in my head: “Why was such a violent, shocking event necessary? What am I missing? What have I missed so consistently that this was necessary for me to experience?”

Two years later, after much soul-searching, I’m finally beginning to understand at least part of the message; I’ll explain that in another post.

No Loving Touch Is Ever Without Benefit

2013-03-24_18-35-48_653I was looking for a journal entry yesterday, and came across this event from a couple of days before Christmas, 2013. Another one of those “angel sightings”; this one not on the MetroLink but in a nearly empty Christmas tree lot.

It was late afternoon. We had been running errands, and on the way home we stopped by the Christmas tree lot where we always get our tree. We had waited until quite late in the season, and they had nearly sold out; only a few scraggly trees and wreaths remained.

The folks who run the lot were nowhere in sight—we suspected they’d all gone to dinner—but there was a hand-lettered sign that said “All Trees Half Price…Honor System” and a cash box for people to leave their money.

As usual when we go looking for our tree, it was FREEZING cold and windy. Only two other people were there: a young woman with her little boy—6 or 7 years old—looking for the perfect tree but a little confused that there weren’t any sales people present.

We chatted with her and noticed her accent—she said she was from Russia. The little boy sounded American, and was very protective of his mom.

Anyway, the tree they chose wouldn’t fit into their car (a Saturn Vue almost as old as ours), so we ended up helping her tie it on the roof. She chatted away, sharing her concern about a plumbing problem between their house (somewhere in South City) and the hookup to the sewer line that neither the city nor their insurance company wanted to cover—expensive, inconvenient, worrisome. She didn’t know what to do. Neither did we.

We finally got the tree tied onto her luggage rack and as we all got ready to leave I had an irresistible urge to give her a hug—and she didn’t refuse it. It was a long, loving hug—I don’t know where it came from, but it was wonderful. It felt to me like a gift, and I suspect it felt that way to her, too.

Then we all drove away.

That night I had a dream:

I’m in a public building, on my way somewhere. I pass a man I know vaguely—sixty-ish, overweight, someone I remember as being depressed and very negative when I interacted with him some time before (even in the dream I couldn’t remember much about it). But now, in this hallway, he stops me and smiles as he tells me how his life has changed. He’s now moving forward, happy, and feels like his life is getting much better…and he wants to thank me, somehow, for that. In the dream I understand that what I said to him when we interacted MADE A DIFFERENCE and is somehow partly responsible for the positive changes in his life. I’m happy to hear about it and to see him smiling. Then we move on to our appointments.

Wow!

I remembered, then, something a friend had shared with me about Christmas: the idea of giving yourself some small gift that reminds you of what you’re here to share, in order to uplift humanity….

Well then. Yes, it seems, I am making a difference in this world. I’m grateful for the message—I sometimes wonder, but I’ll wonder no more. As the Being I call Grandmother told me many years ago, “No loving touch is ever without benefit.”

A Beautiful Surgery

2013-11-04_17-07-07_496I am just brimming with excitement these past few days—I can see again! Yes, out of only one eye at the moment, but oh my goodness, I can SEE!

This is Day Three after my first cataract surgery, and vision out of that eye is better than it has been in decades.

It’s not just being able to see again that’s amazing. It’s also how different this experience of surgery was for me, compared to previous surgeries, and all the wonderful things that happened on that day.

A lot of it can’t be captured with words, but I’ll try. The notes for this piece were recorded the evening after the surgery, when they were still fresh in my mind. The main thing about the day was the quality of the experience: There was so much kindness, so much comfort! And even some most unexpected beauty!

The morning of the surgery, I was finally nervous. Somehow, during the six or eight weeks leading up to this day, I had successfully relaxed into the sense that everything would be just fine—this was my sense from the very beginning, and I just didn’t allow myself to get into any dark or worrisome place about it. Not sure how I did it—I certainly have never accomplished that before! But it was a huge benefit, for sure.

On the drive to the hospital, I could sense the presence of my Guides and lots of family members—and especially my dad. That was unexpected! Dad and I have always had a difficult relationship, though it’s become better since he passed on. But that morning he was right there with me. Without thinking, I put on one of his neck scarves under my coat.

Once I realized he was there, I wondered why. His answer came immediately, before I had even formed the question: I was always there for him, in his late years, when he was ill and needed me. Wow…. That brought tears! But it also brought something even more wonderful: I suddenly felt like a little girl again, reaching up to Daddy for safety comfort. Interesting…. While that might have been true when I was very small, it isn’t true in any actual memory I possess. But there it was, there he was: Daddy! I can’t begin to express my surprise, and my gratitude.

And it occurs to me now that Dad had another gift for me: He may have helped me with that trusting attitude. Dad was never worried about medical procedures—he had complete faith in the competence of his doctors. The family always remarked on that; and this time, I got to experience it.

Wow.

Getting registered and set up in the Surgery Center—the usual details, the usual inconveniences…but the people were all friendly and kind, and the blankets were warm, at least at first. Half an hour or so later, I asked for another blanket—and the nurse plugged in a “warmer,” which turned out to be a machine that somehow plugged into a connector in the special new-style hospital gown and blew warm air between its separate layers.

Oh my goodness. I was surrounded by warmth! It’s hard to describe the sudden feeling of more-than-physical comfort that enveloped me. Between that and the sense of my dad’s presence, I fell instantly asleep. Imagine that! The surgeon later told me that when she’d come by to check in with me before surgery, I was sound asleep, so she didn’t disturb me.

And dreams? I was floating, peaceful, surrounded and supported by clouds and the wings of angels. Seriously. And I hadn’t even had any drugs yet, as far as I know…or if I did have some, I want more of whatever they were!

And the surgery itself? I admit to having some qualms about that, since I knew I’d be more or less awake. And some of my friends had reported seeing what they called a “light show” during the procedure, which sounded unnerving.

But far from being jarring or frightening, it was amazingly beautiful! Quite unexpected—the colors and the images reminded me of clouds moving gently across the sky at dawn, with beautiful, soft corals and turquoise…and blue sky behind it. That part might have been the result of the drugs, but even so—I’ll take it!

When the implant was installed and unrolled itself, I was suddenly able to see the doctor’s face, then the machinery up toward the ceiling—and everything was clear enough that I could see the label on the equipment! Couldn’t read what it said, but just the fact that I could see that there was a label was astonishing.

I remember asking the surgeon if it was OK to laugh, because I couldn’t help it. Fortunately, she said that was just fine.

That evening, I found I was able to see things clear across the room. Even through the plastic shield protecting my eye, I could see better than with my glasses! How bright and clean everything looks! And it’s gotten better with every passing day.

The only difficulty now is that only the left eye is working (because the other one is still SO bad), which means I have no depth perception. But that’s just fine for now. And in three weeks, the other eye will be done and I’ll be fully bionic!

Wow. What a blessed life!