I meander down the trail, trying to clear my mind of the fear that clouds my very vision. My jumbled mind jumps from one image to another, brimming to overflowing with questions. But I know deep down that it is not my mind that I need to listen to right now.
Seeking a place to still my body and soul, I come upon a quiet stream bordered by rocks worn smooth over time as if in preparation for my need for rest.
Irene is right that I am stronger than I acknowledge. I would never have believed I could have faced my fears – and seen others face them – and walked right out of that room. And I still get a bit queasy when I think about the thin plank that kept me from crashing into the cleft below. So I can do things that are hard.
But do I really believe I have a gift? What could possibly be special about me? And could I honestly expect a group of gifted people to welcome me as one of them?
Sighing, I look down into the stream and let my focus move beyond myself. The rocks lining the river bed are multihued, no two exactly the same color. But this is only apparent when I look closely. From a distance of even a few feet, the riverbed looks grey, the individual rocks merging into a seamless whole. But up close, each rock shines its cobalt, jade, mauve, amber, and yes, grey.
Maybe the people Irene wants to take me to are like these rocks – similar from a distance, but unique in their shape, in their hue, in their gifts. What’s one more rock in the river bed?
Knowing that my decision has been made, I decide it’s best to go straight back to Irene. The longer I hesitate, the more I will question what I know to be the right path.
As I walk to rejoin Irene, I savor the quiet of the woods. I’m definitely not surrounded by silence, but the crunch of the leaves under my feet, the high pitched avian communications and the rustling of small animals is soothing rather than jarring. I see Irene ahead, sitting quietly where I left her. Her eyes are closed and her face is thoughtful. As I approach, I see small changes in her face – a fleeting smile, a wrinkled forehead that smoothes, a tensing and relaxing of facial muscles – and I know she is not alone. Her prayers are almost visible as they leave her and soar up to the trees and beyond.
Saying my own silent prayer for boldness, I sit down beside Irene and wait.
I don’t have to wait for long. With a satisfied sigh, Irene opens her eyes and looks straight into my own.
“Let’s go.” I say as I stand.