By Mike Yakawich

These incidents really happened. How I interpret them are mine. 

Wham! A Golden Eagle slammed suddenly into my front van window while driving down I90. I was traveling to pick up my wife who was visiting someone in another city. This bold and majestic Eagle blew a hole about the size of a football in the passenger’s side. Glass shattered into splinters blowing all the way to the back of the van. We were very fortunate that it occurred on the passenger’s side and no one was riding with me at the time or they would have felt the full impact of glass shattering into their face. I stopped, I evaluated, I caught my breathe and slowly moved on to the nearest town to patch up my damaged window before ever more cautiously driving on to pick up my wife. 

I was sharing this story with a Native American elder and friend. The Eagle is very sacred in their culture. He thought, he reflected, he wisely shared, “The Eagle slowed you down to prevent you from encountering some other serious accident.”

Ouch! Stung by three ornery hornets in one day in my back yard while clearing out a hornet’s nest. It took me all day to get a shop vacuum to suck the hundreds of hornets from an entrance way where these insects had made their nest in the siding of my home. It was a brutal day of fighting and aggressively dealing with these unsavory, brash insects. Yet, I reflected that they made me think about the amazing life of insects and how determined they are to survive. I therefore again slowed down, reflected and thought that I should have that such determination in my own life of faith.

Bitten on my ankles and on my hand! The neighbor’s dog did not know what obedience meant. As soon as I would get close to this four-legged neighbor it would nip at my legs and my hands with uncontrolled emotions. He slowed me down to think precaution and care is needed with dealing with some of creation as with life itself. Since then, I say hello to that dog with leather gloves and special care.  I need to slow down and control my own emotions was perhaps another lesson I received from “Clover” the dog.

Mooing down the highway! Driving down a dark highway dodging a black cow. This type of encounter happened more than once where cows and horses would be loose on the highways where I was driving.  I found to especially slow down at dawn and dusk and be more careful and alert of my surrounding when lighting is most precarious. Wearing a seat belt, staying focused and not being distracted. I was reminded to slow down more when I am preoccupied, busy and too much on my mind.

Smashed! The deer appeared out of nowhere as I slammed into it at 65 miles an hour going down the country road. This was not my first encounter with a deer (maybe my 5th). Yet, this final encounter was one night while I was on my sales trip. I hit this lone deer head-on and it flew 6 feet into the air. It landed on its side, brushed itself off and ran away to my surprise. My front hood was smashed in, scratched and broken. It could have been worse. Alas, I was slowed down to think maybe after 23 years of sales I need to do something else and I did.

Was it the eagle, hornets, dogs, cows or deer that slowed me or was it heaven’s protection guiding me? I felt that heaven had much to teach me and need to slow me down, encourage me to reflect, pray and count my blessings ever more. Perhaps, just maybe, there is a lot more for me to learn about creation in the years to come. I will tell you more of these stories but for now, I need to slow down.

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