The Rescuer's Quilt
As I arrived at the Bridge, I faced all the animals who had gone there before me. Before each of us go to the Bridge, we live our lives like the squares of a quilt in many piles, mirrored in the eyes of the animals awaiting us. An animal Angel sits before each of us sewing our quilt squares together in a tapestry that is our life. But as my animal Angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares was. They were filled with giant holes. Each square was labeled with a part of my life as a rescuer that had been difficult, the challenges I was faced with in my quest to save lives and the times I had been tempted to take the easy way out and avoid the controversy rather than speak for the animals who could not speak for themselves. I saw hardships that I had endured for the sake of the animals, which were the largest holes of all.
I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Other than a tiny hole here and there, the other tapestries were filled with rich color and the bright hues of worldly fortune. I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My animal Angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air. Finally, the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light, the scrutiny of truth. The others rose, each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been with the riches of the Earth. My animal Angel looked upon me, and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn't had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life, and laughter and the sweet kisses of the precious animals who honored my life with their presence. But there had also been the trials of illness, and death, and false accusations that took me from their world as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I spent many nights crying and praying that somehow the strength would come to go on, asking for help and guidance as I tried to help the helpless. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully, each time enduring it for the sake of the animals who looked at me with trust and love in their eyes.
And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it was. I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the animals gathered there, who stared at me with wide eyes. Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded the many holes, creating an image of an animal who had depended on me. All the animals at the Bridge stood before me, with warmth and love in their eyes. They said, "Every time you gave over your life to help us, it gave us life. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let us shine through, until there was more of us than there was of you."
May all our quilts be threadbare and worn, allowing the animals to shine through.