Starting Point
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Issue Date:  November 25, 2005

Starting Point


One night during a rainstorm, I lay in bed mulling over what I imagined God was calling me to do. My prayer style is to converse with God as one would with an intimate friend. Without thinking much about it, I said to God, “Send me a visitation!”

Later, a sudden loud thunk against the window screen woke me from a deep sleep. I rose with some trepidation and put on the outdoor spotlight. Under the glaring light, I could see large bats darting back and forth. Frowning, I went back to bed, remembering the mess bats had made in the attic of our previous house, and I said out loud, “We just moved and I wanted to leave you bats behind!”

The next morning when I got up, I found a bat clinging to the screen. I peered at his minute claws, my face inches from him, and advised dryly, “Move on, little buddy.” I thought the sound of my voice might startle him enough that he would fly off, but I had no such luck. He stuck like glue and every time I raised the shade to check, he was there.

When my husband came home for lunch, I showed him my little visitor. He groaned, “Oh no,” also thinking of the old attic. Then we looked at each other and laughed.

Chuckling later, I couldn’t help but reflect on the life lesson brought on by the bat’s visitation. We can move away or move on, but certain things from our past follow us wherever we go. Sometimes it is a bat, other times it is a bad memory in the process of healing or renewed love. It occurred to me that humor is the best, most important thing that we should carry with us from place to place, wherever our journey of the heart takes us.

Joni Woelfel’s books are published by Acta Publications and Resurrection Press.

National Catholic Reporter, November 25, 2005

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