Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you,
Keep straight the path of your feet, and all your ways will be sure.
Do not swerve to the right or to the left; turn your foot away from evil.
I killed a bunny yesterday morning. “Please don’t,” I said when I saw a good-sized cottontail poised in the tall grass by the roadside to my right.
“Please. Don’t.” My hands gripped the steering wheel, and my jaw tensed.
Though I made no sudden moves, not wanting to confuse the poor creature, it ran straight across the road in front of our car. It missed the passenger-side tire—rabbits are fast. “Please…” and then that sickening thump on the driver’s side.
The day had started so well, with coffee and flowers from my daughter Jessica and son David. Then this. “On the way to church—again,” I moaned to Keith as I glanced at the road kill in the rearview mirror, “and on Mothers Day.”
About a year ago, I had run over a squirrel on the way to church. So my mind followed a familiar winding path from self-blame to self-pity: Maybe I should stop going to church. Maybe I should stop driving. Maybe I should stop getting out of bed.
Two weeks ago, our church hosted its annual Women’s Retreat in the same location as last year’s retreat. The afternoon featured breakout sessions including a contemplative walk. Here was the prompt, based on a Richard Rohr reflection:
Being in a hurry or impatient for some particular outcome creates sensations in our bodies. Notice what this impatience feels like, where it shows up—your jaw, neck, chest, hands, or gut. Be present to the feeling. Then slowly expand your awareness to include what your senses are taking in from the outside world.
While you walk, see, hear, smell, and touch. Touch the living earth with your bare hands. Feel the breeze and listen to the birds. Be present to this moment. Celebrate the beauty and mystery of our universe. Give thanks for the abundance of air, water, food, and shelter we receive every day.
I loosen my grip on the steering wheel. Then I opened my heart to the morning’s mystery and beauty. I praised the Creator.
“Well, I guess I just provided breakfast for the turkey vultures,” I said to Keith.
“You kept the car on the road, Carole, you didn’t swerve or land us in the ditch,” Keith said. “Even when you stay on the straight path, these things can happen.”
It is what it is. And all is grace.
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