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A God-Given Mission

Jess with Durango, Denver and Phoenix.

I grew up in Farmington, moved away after graduating from FHS in 1971, and only moved back in the autumn of 2006… I came back to spend time with my aging father before it was too late, but also because life had closed several doors on me, and I was kind of forced to retreat into the corner of my hometown. I was also grieving the loss of not one but three life dreams… marriage, a musical career and living in my beloved Colorado Rocky Mountains.

But in the summer of 2009, I was utterly captivated by Eckhart Tolle’s inspirational best-selling book, The Power Of Now, which for me is about the “sacrament of living in the present”. (New Oxford Dictionary ~ “every moment is regarded as an opportunity to receive divine grace”). It hadn’t always been this way for me, but I had eventually come to believe that every moment of life is sacred and that I don’t want to waste a single one of them! So I started trying to give up regrets of the past as well as anxieties about the future. I also started trying to concentrate on appreciating what I did have instead of bemoaning what I didn’t. And I started trying to live every moment of my life in a truly meaningful way…

"God has a plan; I am a part of that plan. God is guiding me. I surrender to God’s will. Amen "

Sign and cottage.

Then… one gorgeous autumn afternoon a few months later, as I was resting on the front porch of my modest little rented house… I suddenly felt a pure, unadulterated bliss burst out of my soul. In that unexpected moment I felt totally free of my past, and totally free of the mourning that had secretly dominated my heart since returning to Farmington. The joy I felt in that split second was so precious and (I’m sorry to say) so very rare in my life… but oh, did I revel in it!

And yet in the very next instant, out of the blue, I felt somehow “struck by God”. It was not a command, not even a request… more a statement of fact or hint of intuition… “OK, now that you accept your life just as it is, you are now ready to truly hear what I want you to do for Me. Your Mission is to serve the neglected, abused and abandoned animals of this, your hometown community.”

And with that instantaneous insight, I felt myself relax into a profoundly peaceful surrender to the Truth of my life... “Yes! Yes, I will devote the rest of my life to reducing the suffering of animals… Yes, I will devote the time I have left on earth to saving their lives… Yes, I will devote everything I am and everything I have to changing the attitudes about animals here in the Mineral Area of Southeast Missouri… attitudes that range from ignorance and hopelessness, to apathy and sometimes even cruelty. Yes, I now understand why God led me back here. Yes, I really do accept my life, just as it is… Yes... Yes… Yes!”

"We must become the change we wish to see in the world."-- Mahatma Gandhi

And while I’m at it, let me give further credit where it is due…

This Mission has definitely been a rollercoaster ride… a journey full of grief (of lost lives) and joy (of saved lives)… and lots of frustration and doubt in dealing with unfamiliar territory and so many unknowns, day after week after month… (yeah, unfortunately, I’ve not been able to consistently walk Tolle’s powerful walk of the Now)… and I have to admit that I would have quit long before now if it weren’t for the enlightening DVD The Dream Giver, by another bestselling author, Bruce Wilkinson. The way he has laid out the classic stages of the Sacred Mission has given me a road map that has kept me, so many times, from feeling hopelessly lost in despair.

Two more books that for many years now have formed the rock-solid foundation of my spiritual life are… The Road Less Traveled, by M. Scott Peck; and A Return To Love, by Marianne Williamson. And let me not forget to mention Daily Word, a powerful little bimonthly magazine, published by Unity, which provides me with manna for the soul day by day by day…