—Dr. Peebles through Summer Bacon [excerpt from Part 8 of the Seasons of the Soul™ 9-part series, "A Journey into Wholeness," November 2013]
A Giving Thanks Story
By Summer Bacon
It's been a year of many endings and new beginnings. Two days before my daughter's June wedding, my dog Cosmo died, and minutes later was resurrected. He's still going strong, and at the age of 14 can still climb to the summit of Sugarloaf in Sedona (which is not even easy for some humans). I moved out of my Dad's home and into my own place, slowing unpacking decades of memories that have been in storage for the past four years; a joyful and sometimes bittersweet process. Since my mother's passing last year, Daddy is moving on with his life, singing, cooking, and even taking up yoga. Cherished friends have passed away, and wonderful new friendships have been made.
And, when, in one week my daughter and son-in-law moved away to Oregon, and my beloved kitty, Alex went missing, I thought my broken heart would never recover.
Except that God's love is real and constant.
Many years ago when I was complaining about a particularly rough time in my life, wanting to give up, my father said to me, "Summy, what does the Captain of a ship do when he is on very rough seas? Does he give up? No! That's the time when he sails his very best!"
I have learned through the years that it is in our darkest hours that we are called upon to be still and pray. But, so often we don't do it, because when life seems to be falling apart, it can be hard to trust and believe that "this, too, shall pass." However, as Dr. Peebles tells us, when you don't know what to do, do nothing. Have you ever prayed to God for an answer to something, and received nothing as the response? That's God's way of telling us, "Be still. Pray. It's not time." In other words, "please remain seated with your seatbelt fastened until the pilot has brought the airplane to a full and complete stop at the gate."
That's why I've been taking a lot of baths lately. That's where I can surrender completely, be still, and talk to God and Spirit.
To me, praying = talking to God about things, like I would to a trusted friend. I share everything: my frustrations, joys, desires, expectations. I hold nothing back, even when I'm mad at God, I talk about it, sometimes with choice words. God just smiles, because He knows I'm being authentic. And, no matter what I talk to God about, I always remember to give thanks for everything. Absolutely everything, be it "good" or "bad." I will say, "Thank you, God, for Alex running away. I know that there is a lesson in it, and it would not have happened if it wasn't meant to be." Instead of praying for things to change, I thank God for the way things are, and strive to look forward to better tomorrows. I would not have suffered the pain of the loss of Alex if I had not known the joy of knowing him! I wouldn't trade our short time together for anything.
There is a wonderful song by Trace Adkins called "You're Gonna Miss This," and the lyrics go like this:
You're gonna miss this
You're gonna want this back
You're gonna wish these days
Hadn't gone by so fast
These are some good times
So take a good look around
You may not know it now
But you're gonna miss this
[To listen to the full song, and Trace Adkin's dreamy voice, watch the YouTube video: visit: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBDN8yWyNYU
I sent this song as an iTunes gift to my daughter, Emily, last night. She's been sending me photos of the tiny 560 sq. ft two-bedroom home (yes, you read that right) they have rented in Oregon, where they are living with two dogs (one of which is as big as a barn) and their kitty-cat, Curiosity (who fully lives up to his name). Although it is only a temporary residence (a one year lease), she is frustrated because they rented it sight unseen, and the property management company was less than honest about the condition of the house. But, from the outside looking in, it reminded me of some of my leaner days when I was raising my children. And, I thought of that song. We get so wrapped up in "getting there" that we forget to enjoy the journey. But, as Dr. Peebles will remind us, "When you're there, where ya gonna get to next?"
I went to bed after sending the song to Emily and buying an extra copy of it for myself. As always happens, the song was on continuous loop in my head as I drifted to sleep. My eyes felt heavy, and so was my heart. "Goodnight, my Allie Cat…I miss you so much," were my last words before sleep.
"You’ll find that in this month you can expect the unexpected. Really. Expect the unexpected," Dr. Peebles' own "lyrics" echoed in my subconscious. (I had received this quote from Bev, and read it just before shutting down my email for the night.)
The combination of these two things must have been an elixer given to me by God, with instructions on the bottle: "Take one Trace Adkins song, and one Dr. Peebles quote before bed."
The line between sleep and being awake has been blurred for me for several months. Sometimes I have to ask people, "Did we do this, or did I dream it?" I'm not sure why that is, but I kind of like it. It's as if I have two lives, and I absolutely adore my time in my dreams. So, last night I awakened (thinking I was fully awake) and I was looking out over the most marvelous, colorful landscape. I was at complete peace. People were everywhere, and the mood was joyful. I was looking for miles around me, and there were gatherings of people doing different things out in the open. As I adjusted my focus, I began to realize that each gathering represented a different time in my life, from childhood until today. I watched in objective observance of these moments, and I was told to soak them in to my soul. "You're gonna miss this. Soak it in. Remember. This life won't last forever. Someday this will be over. Someday you won't be returning to earth again."
It's indescribable how I felt, but I was at complete peace with everything. The "good" times, the "bad" times. And, I was filled with with this overwhelming sense gratitude for it all. It was like being at the finish line of some great race I had run, and there was this incredible sense of accomplishment, completion and satisfaction.
Then I realized I was in a dream. I started to awaken, and I was extremely groggy. I felt my other kitty, Franny, laying next to me, and I attempted to pet him, but my arm was heavy. I rolled over on my side and watched as a beam of light came down from the ceiling and projected onto my bed. I saw a flash of white and orange, and there he was! Alex came sliding down the light, and stretched out next to me, purring loudly.
"Oh, my Allie Cat! You came back!" I exclaimed. I knew it was his spirit, but I could feel him as if he was physically there. I stroked his long, lean body, cherishing this miraculous moment. I was in awe, and then suddenly the thought entered my mind, "Is this real?" And, as if to assure me it was, Alex did what he always did…he bit my finger, and looked at me with those amazing impish eyes. I laughed, luxuriating in the slight twinge of pain that I felt on my fingertip, "Oh yes! It's you, my Allie Cat!"
I don''t know how long we laid there together, but it was just long enough, and my heart knew it was time for him to go. The light folded up with him in it, and room became dark and cold. I pulled my comforter around me and gazed into the darkness feeling such grace on my life.
"Thank You so much, God. I don't know why you are so generous with me, but thank You."
I don't have a lot of stuff to show for my life's work. After losing everything I now have furniture given to me by my children. I have no retirement fund. But, I do have the guaranteed love of God and His goodness. And, more and more each day, I realize that's enough for me.
My coffer is filled with memories and experiences that I wouldn't trade for anything.
At this time of giving thanks, I pray that great blessings pour over all areas of your life. Without you, I would have no reason to do this work with Dr. Peebles, and no where to share my experiences. My deepest, most heartfelt gratitude and appreciation is with you at this holiday season. (Thanksgiving is the one holiday that we Americans got right, doncha think?)
God bless you, each and every one.