Back in 2018, almost exactly a year after my mother transitioned and entered into the Halls of the Ancestors, I was sitting on my front porch reading, and out of the corner of my eye I caught glimpse of a young deer. This deer was unlike any other I’d ever seen because he was missing the bottom half of his back right leg. He had a unique gait for a deer as you can imagine - sort of a dipping of his hindquarters as he moved slowly through the grass looking for his next snack.
Over the years I continued to watch this young deer mature, grow a full rack of antlers, learn to leap and run, and — with the number of young fawns that would come to be born — I watched him become a father. It always seemed like when he would come to my mind and I’d start worry about his wellbeing, he’d show up and make himself known to me again. “Stop worrying. I’m living my life’s purpose. Get on with yours!” he’d say.
His life and spirit being part of my own journey helped me through many of my own struggles and taught me many things.
“All is well, you are not broken, and you are perfect.”
You, in your beautiful existence just as you are, do not need anyone’s approval to live your life to the fullest. Live your life unabashedly as yourself. Whatever you are going through, you are whole and fully equipped with everything you need to make it. In that same token, advocate for what you need because you are worth it. Speak up. You are worthy. Take up space.
“Surround yourself with a community that loves you for who you are.”
Whenever I would see this deer, he was rarely alone. His family was always there to alert him if there was any threat. When it was time to move — whether it be walk or run — he was never the last one to exit the scene. Surround yourself with folks like that. Surround yourself with people who don’t view you as burden, but who would rather go at your speed to get you where you’re going with gentleness and deep love. Surround yourself with people who see you as the incredible being that you are.
“Take your time.”
This life is bustling all around you, and you have no requirement to get caught up in the panic of it all. Slow down! Graze in the grass and wildflowers of life taking in every single element of its flavor: bitter, sweet, salty, sour, and even umami. When we take our time, we are more likely to live in the present moment, which is where gratitude exists. When we take our time, we have the time to notice our blessings.
“Give yourself grace.”
You’re not going to have the right answers all the time, and you will make mistakes. When this comes around, stop, take a breath, and know that there is a way forward. Give yourself the grace that you as a human are doing your best. Giving yourself grace also includes treating yourself with respect and being sure you’re tending to your self-care. Lie down when you need to, tune out of drama, and good grief, have some water.
And so now as I come to the end of writing all of this, I feel like I have maybe given that three-legged deer, to whom I gave the name Grace, his platform for more than just me to be inspired by him. I have since heard that earlier this year, 2023, he entered into the Halls of the Ancestors himself, maybe even to be greeted by my mother who loved animals in her own right. He is in good care.
May his memory always be a blessing, and may the Spirit of Grace-Deer trot, leap, and gallop into the hearts of any who read his impact on my life, and settle into a special place there.
*In memory of Grace-Deer, my Three-Legged Soul-Friend.*