“So we confess, and most undoubtedly believe.”– from the Scots Confession
Though the Scots Confession is based in Christian faith, I find this particular sentence to be broad reaching and pertinent today. Regardless of religion, I think we all confess and we all undoubtedly believe. Daily, and especially recently, we are surrounded by anger, death, pain, worry, illness, and instability, to name a few. How are we getting by? Deep down, I think we each have things we’re clinging to inside, things we know to be real, good, worthwhile, and meaningful. We believe in them and we focus on them, whether we realize we are or not. Our bodies and minds declare certain parts of our lives to be stalwart. What are yours? When the world around you looks to be falling apart, what anchors you? Or what helps you fly above to see a different perspective? What struck me the most about this piece of the Scots Confession was it’s profoundly simple truth. Even in our darkest moments, no matter who you are, where you’re from, you have at least one thing you know in your core is real. It helps you breathe, helps you do the next right thing, helps you move forward, be still, or move back. Many of us may not know what we would confess, but its presence is no less certain. The social distancing that this pandemic necessitated has provided me with a better understanding of myself and what binds me to the bits of reality I can stomach when I feel disconnected and intangible in the shadow of the destruction beyond my front door. I’ve always known that I had a special relationship with animals. I held a lamb when I was just a few years old, and it’s one of my purest, gentlest memories. When my husband and I were still dating, he would call me the puppy whisperer. Nearly every animal I talked to talked back to me in its own way. What I didn’t know then that I know now is that animals remind me of who I really am inside, away from the anxiety, the discouragement, and the frustration. Animals are a mirror, but a mirror without the mask of life smothering my spirit and my strength. There is a stray community cat that has decided to claim our porch. Her ear is clipped, proof of her TNR experience, and she is not feral, but not unwild either. She sleeps under our rocking chairs and has begun to meow to me. In a rare moment of trust, she touched her nose to my hand. I gladly feed her, and she in turn rids our yard of various pests. Sometimes, when I write, she sits on the windowsill beside me, on the other side of the glass. When I feel anger towards those I share this world with, when I struggle to love and to have compassion, to see them as children of God, I feel like I’m losing my heart and my hope and my very being. But, then I’m reminded that a stray animal has no reason to nap on my porch unless it felt that our home was safe, our noises were not ones of danger, our hands did not harm. This is what ties me to myself and my life and to the good I feel called to do. If someone believes I mean well for them, then I have reason to keep trying. I may not be able to solve any of our current world disasters, but I can continue to give this one creature a haven. With that assurance, I’ll stop writing and go bring her dinner. She’s probably waiting for me now, and I love to hear her tell me I’m running late. I hope tonight, with all the hurt surrounding us, that you find and name that something you can confess and that your belief in it’s truth brings you even more things to believe in.