Taking a step back into the archives here..... Once upon a time, I took this picture in my backyard. I thought it was a great picture, but it was especially special because of the story behind it.
At that particular time in my life, April and May were e.x.t.r.e.m.e.l.y stressful, because at that time of the year, we would have to redo all of the IEPs on our caseload. While still maintaining our normal teaching routine with kids who were ready for summer to begin. I think at one point, that I had figured it took me an hour or so to gather the info I needed and schedule the meeting, another hour to type it, and then another hour to hold the meeting. So every year, I would psych myself up. I would do my best to avoid having any outside drama and trauma in my life during those two months, because I knew I would barely be able to survive with the IEPs/End of the School Year paperwork crunch. The stress would creep into my shoulders and neck. It would be hard to sleep, because I was afraid of forgetting something while I slept.
But this particular year, the stress reached epic proportions, in spite of my plans. I had a "situation" going on with the principal at my children's school. My then-fifth-grader was having a very difficult year...all of the fifth graders were having a difficult year. And I was just about over the top. Then came the news that our priest was being transferred. It was not expected, and I'd gotten to be quite fond of him. I had a much-loved priest transferred before, and while I tried to like his replacement, I just never could. I knew I would miss this one, and I was afraid of "what" we would get this time. That was just "the straw".
I felt like a rain cloud had found me and was following me around. One afternoon, I was working in my backyard, and I asked for something to lift my spirits. And I asked for God to let this change work out for all who were involved - for my dear priest who was leaving, for our little parish, for the parish where he was going, and for "whoever" we would get as a priest. I was moving some branches when I heard a sound behind me that sounded like puppies, I turned around, and there - in a tree - were the cutest little raccoons! I think there were 4 or 5. I had my cell phone with me, so I called my child in the house and had him bring my camera!
I snapped a few pictures.
In the end, the dark cloud disappeared. I did survive. The priest who was leaving helped me to deal with the "situation" with the principal. I survived the end of the year paperwork. As I always do. I think my dear priest did go to a better place, in some ways. He had a gift for individual counseling, and he says he gets to do a lot of that where he is at. Our "new" priest has different gifts, but is every bit as wonderful. And the raccoons....they were gone the next day. I never again saw animals in that little hollowed out part of the tree! But they had served their purpose.
I was reminded that - without a doubt - God does hear and answer prayers...sometimes more quickly than we expect!