For quite sometime I was wanting to check out The Gentle Barn. www.gentlebarn.org. I had read an article in the local newspaper and I learned they are a safe haven for neglected and abused animals – once the animals are healed and learn to trust humans again, they in turn heal neglected and abused children. Every animal has a touching and heartfelt story of recovery. Horses, goats, pigs, chickens, llamas and cows.
Powerful and important. I must be a part of this healing and recovery.
Finally, a couple of weeks ago I was able to push myself out the door. This particular Sunday was a day I could tolerate my physical discomfort.
After I parked my car in the dirt lot, I noticed with my first few steps how weak and heavy my body felt, then the depression started to follow. I am quite clear that the pain comes first, then quite often, depression follows. In that moment I told myself it would be ok if I only stayed a couple of minutes in the barn yard and then went back home. I won’t be like this for ever – I’ll just do the best I can today. My private thoughts were kind, gentle and accepting towards my lack of physical strength – not my usual frustration that I am no longer my long-lost vivacious and energetic self. The grounds were more beautiful and comforting than I had expected – I was unaware of the power of its distraction. Step by step the safe haven of the sanctuary lightened the weight on my shoulders. The sun warmed my face.
Blue sky. Slight warm breeze. Joyful children of all ages. As I continued down a path all became quiet and still. I was alone for that moment and the solitude was empowering. As I continued down my personal path I saw two goats. These were the goats I had read about. One was rescued from an abusive petting zoo. Quietly, I stopped and watched him through the fence – he was at peace and content. I felt the years of healing, kindness and love that had been sprinkled upon the goats, fall on me as well. My personal empty bucket was being filled up again. It was unexpected, magical and greatly needed. Strength in the simplicity of such an honest and pure moment.
I took a picture and when I checked it out in my camera I could see the rays of sunlight on the goats – the thing is – when I looked back to the goat the rays were gone. They only showed in my picture. I was quieted and energized in that healing moment.
I felt compelled to fill out an application to volunteer at The Gentle Barn. I didn’t want to leave. The following week I would return for orientation but I only made it for half of it. I have good moments and not so good moments. I have to postpone being able to volunteer for now. I want to be a part of this goodness more than I can explain. I need and want to be a part of this family.
The next day I wrote an E mail that I had some health challenges and as soon as I could I would be there to volunteer. I think about the animals constantly. I think about how I literally felt their journey of their powerful healing fall onto me as well. This is so important and powerful. Looking forward to being a part of The Gentle Barn fills me with hope once more. I know for me, my healing first starts with hope.