I Am Not Alone

"I decide to drive to the park and go for a walk. It is a lovely late morning in early September. As I pull into the parking lot, I notice there are no other cars around. I walk across the wooden bridge that leads to the path that goes around the lake. Before I set off, I pause and scan the area. I see no one — no one walking a dog, no one jogging, no one fishing from one of the docks. 'I'm alone!' I say with excitement. 'All alone!'

"But as soon as I utter those words, I smile. Although I may be the only human being in the park this morning, I am certainly not alone! I am not the only being. There are countless other living beings with me in the park — for example, the birds I see flying around — a few sparrows, goldfinches, and swallows. I spot a couple of ducks swimming along the shore of the lake and a group of geese sitting out in the middle holding some kind of a meeting. I see bees busily visiting the small white flowers growing along the path. I hear the steady hum of the cicadas from the trees and underbrush. And I'm startled by a couple of grasshoppers — masters of the broad jump — who show off their incredible athletic ability for me as I walk along the path.

"And what about all the living things I don't see? The bluegills and bass in the lake. The large turtle I've seen on occasion who I know calls this lake home. Then there's the brown and white snake I spotted a few weeks ago skimming the water along the shore. And don't forget the elusive deer, the squirrels, rabbits, and raccoons, and the bats that are probably hanging upside down asleep in the bat house that the park rangers erected for them. And how could I forget all the worms, beetles, snails, slugs, and other small creatures hiding in the grass or burrowing beneath the ground? And let's not forget the flora — the bushes of all kinds and the trees — the willows, oaks, dogwoods, and maples with their leaves already turning orange and brown.

"No, I am not alone. There are thousands of other living things here with me today in this park. And why should I limit companionship to only living things? What about all the so-called inanimate things that are with me as I walk — the earth I tread upon, the rocks along the shore of the lake, the sun and clouds above me, the air I breathe as I walk, and the beautiful lake itself. Aren't these all beings, too?

"My realization today as I walked alone in the park: I am not alone. Ever."

Companion God, make me more aware today of all the beings who accompany me as I walk through life.