Yerlaz was a guest in our home for a week. He was from Kazakhstan. He visited at the invitation of US Congress via a program called Open World and through the International Services Council of Alabama. It has been quite an honor to host such guests and has always been a delight to discover new personalities.
Yerlaz came to breakfast one morning expressing, through an interpreter, that he sometimes has dreams that come true. This particular piece of information was offered because he received a message that simply said, “On this trip you will find Nigel.” He then inquired whether I knew anyone by that name. I assured him that the only Nigel I ever knew was safely in another realm having left our world a few years ago. However, I agreed to hold the intention that Nigel would appear, as his dream indicated, at some unexpected yet perfect time.
A couple of days later I noticed that Yerlaz was carefully observing some of the items displayed at various locations in our home. He would sometimes ask what certain objects meant to me. One morning while standing in our sun porch, he gave special attention to two palm-sized painted rocks, one a cat and another a rabbit. He asked about the cat in particular as it had piercingly bright blue eyes. His questions made me pause to appreciate the history and meaning of the painted rocks. I happily recounted them for him.
Years ago, I had a neighbor whose sister often painted animals onto rocks as a hobby. The animals were revealed to her based on the size and shape of the rocks and through her ability to see how the rocks actually could become animals. The results were of artisan quality. They were delicately and meticulously completed until the eyes seemed to really see. Even the very hair on their body were lifelike and discernible. These two rocks, under examination by our guest, were gifted to me by our neighbor. I had discovered these plain rocks and was inspired to give them to her. Her heart filled with gratitude, and in turn, she decided to paint life onto them.
It became a weekly ritual for me. While walking on a gravel covered country road near the farm where I grew up, I would search for these mostly smooth rocks. I had to carry them by hand along my walking route. I could only transport two at a time because of their weight. It became fun for me to walk and look for which rocks might “want” to go home with me each week, knowing their destiny was to be transformed into something as yet unknown, fancy, and delightful.
Appreciating my story,Yerlaz ran his fingers fondly over the cat. I decided then to gift it to him. So, on his last evening with us I presented the gift just in my bare hand. To see his surprise and delight was indescribable. When he joyfully held it as his own, he told me that this cat would now become his traveling companion. Wherever he traveled, it would accompany him, and he would take their picture together in various places and e-mail it to us in Alabama. He then requested that I take a picture of them together. While preparing for the photo, I suggested that such a special companion would surely need a name. Instantly, our eyes met as we gleefully and decisively announced his name would be “Nigel!”
Yerlaz and Nigel safely returned home.
Wanda has served thirty plus years as a healthcare professional. Currently, she serves as a Minister of Peace ordained by The Beloved Community. In July, 2007 she completed her PhD in Philosophy focused on Intercultural Peacemaking. For her own spiritual nourishment, she enjoys reading both contemporary and ancient spiritual writings.