Śraddhā

Hail Mary, Full of Grace

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A Hail Mary Pass, they are calling it.

A last-ditch effort, but instead of a Superbowl win on the line, it was a life.  A beautiful, precious, sacred life.  A life that mattered dearly to the one who lived it, and to the ones who called him family.

The skinny, frightened, bruised and scarred pig was not ready to die, but the smells and sounds around him assured him that was the plan.  So, when the transport truck opened, he leapt and made a break for safety. The humans went after him, yelling scarily. He scrambled, dove, spun and ran for all he was worth. They were in hot pursuit, but somehow, Grace intervened.  

He lost them.

Trembling, he hid under a pile of hay, exhausted and out of options. A silent plea rose from his trembling body. “Save me,” he beseeched mutely, “Please.”

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Hiding from the “kill pen” when found by Kelly Young, Founder, Omega Horse Rescue

And Grace, in its unfathomable majesty, responded.

An angel whose job was to save horses found him quivering in fear. She begged the “kill buyer” in whose custody the pig had fallen, to spare his life. He heard her, and took mercy. “I’ll tell you what,” he said, “I’ll give you a grace period.” She had 24 hours to find him sanctuary.

But now what was she to do? Angels who save horses don’t necessarily know where to bring lost pigs, and 24 hours is not a lot of time to find those places. And it was Superbowl Sunday evening.  Who on earth was even going to be around to answer the phone?

But Grace does not take time off for football, as it turns out. Grace works all the time. Outside of time.

On her first call, she got through to another angel, this one at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary. They were not able to take any more pigs, but the Poplar Spring angel was eager to help find this little pig safe haven.

She called more angels, from New York to Canada, and one by one, they joined in the search.  Soon, the little pig had a whole army of angels working on his behalf. Safe haven was found for him at Indraloka, where we all cried with joy at adding another beloved to our family.

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Finally, he arrived. Under the bruises and wounds, every bone was visible.  And yet, his eyes were filled with hope. I cried at the beauty of it– this pure, unadulterated Śraddhā .

Śraddhā is the intersection between faith and mindfulness.  To me, it embodies the notion that we need to take action for our own well-being, but also to remember that we are not acting alone—that there are strong forces of love that work with us and protect us even as we work on our own behalf.  So, Śraddhā is faith, hope, love, and action all in one.  And this pig, with his light-filled eyes, and his leap towards freedom, was the perfect example of this. How, I wondered, in tears again, had this pig managed to survive such brutality and still remain so beautifully pure and hopeful? The thought of it filled me with awe for this wise little soul.

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He leapt from the trailer and ran into his quarantine pen without hesitation, needing no guidance to find the right pen.  After drinking several gallons of water, he munched happily on a big, fresh salad and some sweet hay before greeting us, one by one, with a sniff and a smile. As I write, he is sleeping contentedly under a big pile of hay, snoring peacefully.

Dominic, we named him, and he is full of Grace.

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Many, many thanks to: all of you who make it possible to rescue and care for our beloveds, Kelly from Omega Horse Rescue, Terry from Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, Monica from Esther’s Army, the person who chose to spare his life, and to Cameron O’Steen from the Yoga Animalia Project for his beautiful photos, and to Grace.

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