Haunted by Hunger
In the past week, a beautiful white-tail deer mama and her three young ones began creeping closer to our house. We rarely saw them all winter but now that spring is on the fringes, it appears that the deer are hungry. Their food supply has run out and though the fawns seem healthy and fat, mama looks lean.
I watch them as they nuzzle the snow for early, tender stalks of green; taste the tips of thin branches hoping to savor a tender bud. Their search seems fruitless which explains why they stand so still, staring into the windows of our house, hoping for a handout.
I see how mama is ever watchful that nothing will harm her young ones.
I watch how she encourages them to eat the carrots we toss out while she hangs back.
I see the longing in her eyes, the longing for nourishment that could ease her own hunger but how mothering takes precedence. It is vital that her babies survive. Her vigilance, her unselfish food-leaving, ensures that they do. She minimizes her own needs so her dear ones will thrive.
And as I watch her eyes, haunted with hunger, I watch how my own mother-centric emotions rise and fall with hers.
Would I be as dedicated and courageous if I were placed in this situation? I believe I would.
Though I have often negated myself and my own needs for the betterment of others only to discover that, in time, this was not the best course of action.
It is a wise woman who knows when to give and when to hang on or to carefully apportion her time and energy.
It is a wise woman who knows how to say 'No' at just the right times, and 'Yes' at others.
It is a wise woman who knows, through deep listening, that what she is about to do will not serve her well. She has had enough of self-abasement and realizes that by giving so many pieces of herself away she does not benefit others—or herself.
It is not as easy as it seems to listen and know. It takes watchfulness, faithfulness, steadiness of mind and heart to know what to do when ...
The presence of mama deer today invites me to such watchfulness. To deeper listening. To trusting the voice of my soul that says yea or nay.
I do not wish to look through eyes that speak to the world of soul hunger. Nor should you.
If "shoulds" can be good, this, indeed, is a "good should."
Let us love ourselves enough to listen deeply ... to hear and know what our tender self, like a young fawn, needs to thrive.
(Photo Credit: http://www.nenature.com/)
"Can you give birth and still let go? Can you nourish others and continue to take care of yourself?
Can you show others the way without losing your own? Can you provide safety yet dare to risk the unknown?
Can you calm the fears of children while embracing your own?
Everything you touch changes. You change everything you touch. The process is creation."
From The Tao of Women—"Birthing" —by Pamela K. Metz and Jacqueline L. Tobin. 1995, Humanics Limited.
is a touchpoint. a resting place, a "remembering" of who we really are and how we can best live—kindly and compassionately with ourselves and others.
Janice Lynne Lundy, DMin
is an educator, interspiritual director/guide and retreat leader who has been pointing people back toward the Sacred for more than twenty years. She is the author of several spiritual growth books, including Your Truest Self, My Deepest Me and Portable Peace., and is the co-founder and co-director of the Spiritual Guidance Training Institute.