Yes, we have bears on Bearwallow, and bobcats and coyotes. The bears have not come by this spring, but if they do we will hear them outside, poking through cans and containers looking for food.

Bobcats are like shadows. They sneak in late at night when most of the world is asleep and go fishing in the pond . We might catch a glimpse of them just at dawn, but mostly all we see is the pale grey droppings they leave behind.

But coyotes are another story. Occasionally we will hear a small pack yipping just after dark. Coyotes remind me of wolves,. Wolves run in packs and when they are hungry they will kill and eat anything that is not protected. We don’t have wolf packs here in our part of Appalachia. Unless I consider my mental wolves!

My thoughts are often like wolf packs, and sometimes me thinks my thoughts are gonna kill me. They circle, snarling, just outside my small fire of consciousness, and will devour me if they can get close enough. Their names are branded in their foreheads like tattoos. Self-pity is the leader of the pack. He is followed by Anger, Hate, Resentment, Revenge, Unforgiveness, Selfishness, Discouragement and Despair, destroyers from the pits of hell. The circle tightens. I shout and lunge forward just outside their reach, my arms flailing like a maniac. They stagger backward for only a few seconds then rush in again.

I scream, “My thoughts, my thoughts, oh God!! They’re gonna kill me!” I turn my face toward heaven and beg, “I can’t stand it any longer. Please help me.” I drop my head and wait.

Soon a gentle voice whispers. “Come closer child. I am the Light. The destroyers can’t touch you if you stay in the Light. They fear the Light. Make the firelight stronger. “

I toss a song of praise onto the waning fire. The blaze surges up. I quote a scripture, “The Word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two edged sword”. I remember my blessings or intercede for others. The fire becomes a blazing inferno. As the wolves back away and disappear, a song of rejoicing pours forth from my throat. Victory!

Will the destroyers return? Yes. Just as soon as I move away from the light, the battle rages on. So, if I want them to stay away, I must keep the fire blazing and stay in the Light.  “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8–Rebecca Somoskey