I am back on the floor of the canyon and see the path as before. I begin, again, to walk the path, not sure where it is leading. I walk and walk, but I seem to make no progress. The scenery around me is so much the same, from step to step.
This sense of futile movement only increases as I enter a bank of fog. Indeed, I worry that I might inadvertently step off the edge of the trail and fall into a ravine. A sense of fear joins my sense of futility and I am tempted to stop altogether.
But then, I am joined on the path by a wise and gentle donkey, who just appears beside me, as I walk. His step is sure and he seems to know this path well. His presence strengthens me and quells my fear. It is good to have this bit of companionship. Occasionally I reach out to touch him; resting my hand upon his back as we walk; steadying my step.
I continue to doubt that I am making progress, but there is really nothing else I know to do but walk. And so we do. At last the donkey takes me to an overlook, where we can catch a larger view. To my surprise, we have actually progressed quite a long way from the floor of the canyon.
Later we stop to rest. I ask the donkey who he is – he is so wise and benevolent. His name, he says, is Jesus – and, indeed, he is.
I am mortified that my meditation has cast him as a donkey. But he only smiles: that is the best I can do right now, and he does not despise the role. He is willing to lead me through the canyon and carry my burdens. Someday I will grow to the point where he is no longer a donkey.
[photo by Laura Wolf per cc 2.0]