By Judith D’Amico, Sydney, Australia
Twenty-five years ago I was living in Libya. In response to some painful experiences during the seven years before, I had closed my heart and hardened myself to love.
The desert around me seemed to echo how I was feeling—dry and lifeless inside.
Then a six-week-old puppy came into my life. Cinque was a mess—full of fleas, ticks, and other assorted desert insects—but a look in his eyes reminded me of my father, whom I had loved very much.
One day when Cinque was about four months old, I noticed that my son’s sandal was missing from the kitchen shoe rack. I searched everywhere, to no avail. Suspecting Cinque had taken it, I set about training him to stay away from the shoe rack. But not long after, I came into the kitchen and saw him gnawing away at one of my son’s slippers. I managed to free it from his mouth and then pointed to the front door, ordering him out to the terrace for the night.
“Think about what you’ve done,” I said.
The next morning, I opened the door. Cinque was waiting there abjectly, ears down. “Please forgive me,” the look in his eyes seemed to say. Between his paws was a greenish brown lump.
It looked like a rock. I knelt and picked it up.
It wasn’t a rock at all! It was my son’s old sandal—completely petrified after months in the ground!
I realized that Cinque had dug the sandal up and brought it to me as a gift. It was his apology for the slipper—proof that he had understood the reprimand.
I looked deep into his eyes. Suddenly, the hard place inside my heart began to melt. Tears ran down my cheeks as warm love began to flow through me.
Hugging my dear, furry friend, I heard the inner words, “You have been living without love for seven years.” From that very moment there was a change in me.
The gift of the petrified sandal was the catalyst that softened my heart. Cinque had thawed my frozen, petrified heart and prepared a home for divine love in my life.
Three years after my desert dog passed on, I found the teachings of Eckankar. I was now ready for the greatest love of all.
—Illustrations by Rebecca Lorio
A Contemplation Seed
Animals do some marvelous things, not by instinct, but because they know things.
—The above story originally appeared in the 2005 Eckankar Journal.