The Nature of Animals
By Allen and Linda Anderson
Most of us have had memorable experiences with pets who
show us love in unmistakable ways. We form spiritual connections with animals
who share our homes and enrich our lives with their friendship. In the course of
gathering stories from around the world and reviewing our own experiences, we've
found that animals in nature are also "angels" or messengers who help humans
accept that love is, indeed, all around.
In a previous article we wrote about an entrepreneurial
squirrel who found his way into our house and helped us realize that if only we
could trust, Spirit would guide us through our fears to freedom. We had another
spiritual connection with animals in nature which deeply affected us.
On the day when we first thought about starting the
Angel Animals Foundation, we'd just attended a wonderful event where Bishop
Desmond Tutu had spoken about his initiative in South Africa. He'd formed a
system for bringing healing and forgiveness to those who had opposed apartheid
by shedding blood or who had fought violently to retain racism as a way of life.
Bishop Tutu's visit and the delivery of his message had been made possible
through the efforts of a local nonprofit organization.
After hearing this awesome peacemaker speak, we sat in
our car outside a coffee shop and started discussing an idea which had popped
into our minds while listening to Bishop Tutu. We began to wonder if forming a
nonprofit foundation would help us fulfill our dreams of bringing more love and
peace into this world. A nonprofit foundation might encourage people to donate
their inspiring stories, skills, talents, and money to support our efforts at
increasing love and respect for all life, one story at a time.
This was a cold autumn day, inching soon into an even
colder Minnesota winter. By then, most of the birds had flown south for the
winter. As we talked about the possibility of a foundation, we noticed an
amazing display of nature. Right in front of our car, a bush, barren of leaves,
had filled with chirping sparrows who should have been long gone from this
We immediately saw a gift from Spirit in the bouquet of
sparrows who were serenading us as we discussed starting the Angel Animals
Foundation. Whatever we decided, we knew we were being shown that we'd be loved
and our needs would be met. For God watches over the sparrow. The sparrows had
served to catch our attention and open our hearts to divine guidance. We
realized that no matter which direction we took, we'd experience spiritual
growth from the journey as well as, or maybe even more than, from the outcomes
of decisions we made that day.
Dorothy W. Weiss, a writer and motivational speaker
from Orlando, Florida, wrote to us about her angel animal experience in nature
when she encountered a very determined turtle. Dorothy says that one day she was
driving home when a turtle began crossing the street in front of her car. She
slowed down and swerved so she wouldn't hit the little creature. After she'd
gone around him, she looked into her rearview mirror and noticed each car behind
her also slowed and avoided hitting the turtle. Yet no one collided; there were
no screeching brakes or road rages. Traffic resumed at a normal pace as the cars
cleared the turtle's path.
Dorothy says that she found herself comparing this
turtle crossing incident to other times in her life when she'd faced a temporary
obstacle. She'd found that if she made adjustments or tried other options, she
was able to creatively solve problems with minimal disruption of her life or the
lives of others. She writes, "A turtle, focused on achieving his goal of
crossing the street to get to a grassy embankment by the river, gave me an
opportunity to pause and reflect on how I could face the difficult challenges in
my own life."
How often have you been annoyed by the actions of
people or animals who seem to be getting in the way but may be giving you the
opportunity to stop, look, listen, and reflect? Are there any angel animals in
nature who might be bringing messages which prompt you to consider how to be
more persistent, patient, and creative?
Reverend Gary Kowalski wrote to us with a story from
his wonderful book, Green Mountain Spring and Other Leaps of Faith
(Skinner House Books, 1997). Reverend Kowalski is a Unitarian minister who
also wrote The Souls of Animals, one of our favorite books. He says that
he received a letter from Mrs. Peggy Carter of Landrum, South Carolina. She'd
written to him about a pig she had on her farm in Mississippi. When this pig
gave birth to her piglets, the jonquils were in bloom in Peggy's yard. The pig
bit off the flowers and carefully placed them in a perfect circle with their
stems pointing toward the center and blossoms pointing outward. She'd lovingly
placed her baby piglets in the middle of this flower circle. It was as if the
mother pig had welcomed the miracle of life by creating a beautiful yellow halo
around her babies.
Reverend Kowalski writes, "If a pig can find such an
amazing way to celebrate new life, surely we can be equally creative." What
amazing and creative ways could you find to show your gratitude for life and the
blessings all around you?
Are there angel animals in your backyard, along the
pathways you walk, the rivers and oceans you swim, or the sky you gaze at who
are demonstrating how to appreciate the fullness of life?
We welcome your stories about angel animals in nature.
Has a wild or farm animal helped you understand something more about the
interconnectedness of all creation? Or has an animal in nature brought a message
of love, peace, and hope when you needed it most? Write to us so we can inspire
others with the spiritual experiences you're having with angel animals.
Remember to tell your stories to others. In as many
ways as you can--through the written word, art, photography, music,
theater--share the messages angel animals express in your life.