Dealing With Unexpected Guests

by Amanda Petersen

This week has been an interesting one for our household.  We have had a family (a mom and babies) of raccoons who have made our roof and yard their nighttime home.  An injured dog due to chasing the raccoons, a damaged roof due to their playfulness, and concern for their safety led me to a decision to call Arizona Wildlife Control to catch and release them.  Sounds simple right?  Well, what I thought was 4 or 6 raccoons turned into 9.  The first night we caught mama so all the babies stuck around.  There was lots of wailing and gnashing of teeth in my backyard!

I am not comfortable with the uncomfortable which is why staying in it is such a major contemplative practice for me.   This experience brought forth all the coreissues too. Guilt, fear, worry, not pleasing, etc. were coming at me in full force.  At the same time trust, hope, faith and compassion were equally present.  Both spun equally amazing stories, all in an attempt to make the discomfort go away.  In the teeter totter of these experiences, I felt called to practice living in the center of the teeter totter, or as close as I could get.  This Center is where reality and love dwell and a place that honors both sides.  Reading the Psalms, one can see how they practiced living in this center place.

This was not easy, as I heard crying animals all night.  Brad did a great job and we had all nine in two days.  Over the next couple of newsletters, I will share some of my tips, reasons, and noticings around staying in the uncomfortable places in a hope that it may bring comfort or spark some stories or ideas of yours.  Please feel free to share how you stay in these places and why.  This is important as we live in a world that holds so much pain and so much joy.  

One of the truths I have come to over the years is one goes into the painful places because of Love.  The temptation is to turn and run away, find a way to fix it, or ignore it; yet one stays because there is a connection.  The truth I have learned from Jesus is a person goes into the pain of racism, poverty, ecological awareness, illness, suffering not because they want to, or because they should, or because it’s expected;  they go there because they love and are connected to places that hurt.  

Pathways of Grace is a place where we remember connecting to ourselves, the Divine, and each other.  We practice embodied knowing of what that connection is about.  If you want to learn more, just let me know.  This week, notice where you are willing to stay in the painful places and which you are avoiding.  Practice just noticing the reasons you have for both.

Click HERE to see pictures of the raccoons and the process.

Amanda PetersenComment