November 18, 2016
To honor the birthdate of Saint Francis, Patron Saint of Animals, our Spiritual Friday topic was on nature as a Higher Power and the blessing of animals as teachers and a constant source of unconditional love. Regardless of our inability to love in our addictions, our pets ALWAYS love/loved us.
Patients – especially those who have had little exposure to the idea of spirituality/G-d growing up – often use their pets as their Higher Power in the beginning of recovery. This is a safe and familiar love that works for them; it’s beautiful. We offered our gratitude and love in the form of words of appreciation and prayer. We passed around a "Prayer List" which ended up being two full pages of pets' names. One of the patients read each and every name aloud and as a group, we silently held onto the gifts of love, comfort, loyalty, joy, and peace that we receive from these precious loved ones who are either still with us or who have parted.
We then shared a few really beautiful readings:
"The more we allow for the changing circumstances of life, the more stable and easy we become. There is no greater teacher than Nature: one moment, a storm, the next, stillness. If we allow ourselves to listen and receive when in Her Presence, we will eventually give birth to balance, patience, endurance and surrender. By embracing Her teachings, we mature into wisdom." - Ann Mortifee
"The world is holy. We are holy. All life is holy. Daily prayers are delivered on the lips of breaking waves, the whispering of grasses, the shimmering of leaves." - Terry Tempest Williams
"There are times when we have outgrown a situation, when there is no further nurture to be gained. This is the moment we must be willing to let go. For like the snake whose skin has grown to tight and worn, we need to shed what belongs to the past to move into the new possibility. We may feel vulnerable for a time, but greater ease of movement will assuredly come." - Ann Mortifee
We then shared a few videos:
There was a lot of heartfelt sharing on this day. Nature is such safe and beautiful concept of G-d for so many of us. We all realized this through the sharing, the prayers, and the photos we placed on the walls of some of our pets.
The photo below is of Manny, our employee Lyndsey McMillan's beloved dog; his picture was hung on the wall for our Spiritual Friday. He is wearing a blessing scarf, from the Blessing of the Animals at my church, that says "Loved" – and he is!
Reverend Laurie Durgan