I turn off the ringer on the phone, curl up on my side for a late nap, driven by desire and need. I send up a small prayer, to wake before the moon sets behind our mountains, before the last of the light leaves the sky. Anxiety has my fingers moving against the pillowcase. I hear their noise and stop. I let my angst sink back into the earth. The scritchery noise again, callouses against cotton. Again I let my anxiety seep out of me. I do this over and over, and then I sink into sleep. I go deep. I’m surprised when I wake in only half an hour, already this swift shortening of our days. But, oh, when I wake. The ridge of our mountains a clear silhouette against the last light of the sky, palest amber tint. The fat waxing crescent moon hanging just above the ridge, the first thing I see when I open my eyes, bright greeting, dear companion, answer to prayer.
Last week I had an aha moment. It dawned on me the challenges I’ve been having with my work are the universe’s way of helping me. So, my aha, my belated realization, was also a “Duh!” moment. I knew this, right? I’ve known this for years, haven’t I? I pray for help often, but I never ask for trials. I don’t say, “Please send me some really hard thing so I can learn and grow.” I ask for help—in healing, in changing—as though the powers that be might reach down, brush me with a stroke of feathers. Voilà. I am a new person. I forget I am required to do my share. I forget that healing, that changing, can be hard work. I’ve asked for help, for guidance in getting through a troubled time. And I never doubt I am receiving that help. But somehow I missed the whole part about how these challenges at work are the help. I forgot I asked for this. The trouble I am having is the answer to prayer. “Duh,” I say out loud. Sable’s ear twitches at the sound of my voice. His expression remains deadpan. And here I thought you were smarter than that, he thinks at me. “Duh,” I say again just for fun. But I am smiling now.