Reprinted with permission from ANGEL ANIMALS BOOK OF INSPIRATION, pp.39-41 (New World Library 2009, softcover, $14.95 retail, ISBN# 978-1-57731-666-4, 235 pages). All rights reserved. www.angelanimalsbookofinspiration.com
One afternoon, while visiting a farm and standing in its pasture, I was bursting with anguish over a personal relationship. My head drooped. My shoulders were crushed with a ten-ton block of grief. Tears flooded my face and soaked my shirt. I pleaded silently, “Somebody please be with me!”
Then, though my watery veil, I saw a herd of about fifteen cows and calves coming out of the woods. Feeling cut off from all human support, I welcomed their presence. Slowly but steadily, the whole herd advanced. At first I feared they were going to chase me out of their pasture, but then I realized that they didn’t seem menacing. Some cows walked a wide berth around me and came up from behind. Others ambled straight toward me.
I’ve been in a pasture with cows before, but none had ever approached me. They’d usually wander timidly away unless a farmer with feed was nearby. But these cows completely encircled me. They each stopped when they came within five feet, seeming to sense what would be comfortable for me. I felt no panic. Instead, I found myself being strangely consoled.
To my surprise, a white-faced cow halted directly in front of me. I watched, transfixed, as a tear formed in one of her eyes and spilled down the side of her nose. At first, I wondered if the cow might have an infection, but when I looked into her eyes I saw that they were perfectly healthy. I concluded that this cow could be empathetic – sympathizing with me as I shed my own tears in her pasture.
Gradually my heaving sobs subsided into noisy gulps. Eventually I cried silently. Meanwhile, the cows seemed to form a barrier between the cause of my turmoil and me. I’d fruitlessly hoped that humans would comfort me this way. In answer to my plea, I’d been visited by a herd of cows. After they moved away, I felt a peaceful calm wash over me.
A year later, in the midst of praying, I suddenly remembered the farm animals who had so unexpectedly visited me in the pasture. I realized that God had been answering my prayer. God was saying, “Don’t you remember that collective cow hug I sent you a year ago? I directed my creatures to you, but you didn’t recognize my touch, my love. Today you do. But then I ministered to you in your isolated agony through the cows.”
I felt gratitude for the bovine hug that had relieved my sadness and reassured me that I’m never alone.
“Monica O’Kane lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is a wife, mother of eight, grandmother of sixteen, and great-grandmother of one. She is the author of HEY, MOM, I’M HOME AGAIN! Strategies for Parents & Grown Children Who Live Together (Marlor Press, 1992). She is a child-rearing activist who focuses on childbirth and breastfeeding. In 2001 Monica traveled to Romania to work in a soup kitchen for two weeks because the homeless children there had caught her interest.”
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT:
“Has an animal used an unusual way to help you feel less alone or abandoned?”
Allen and Linda Anderson
Angel Animals Network
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