Cole was dreading the transition from summer vacation back to school, while I was dealing with unexpected expenses, writing checks for school tuition, and feeling sad and weary. During transitional times, Cole and I miss Joe more than usual. Cole misses him because, in his words, “Dad always seems more gone when the seasons change”; I miss him more because he would have the barbecue fired up, the guacamole and chips made, the cocktail shaken, and we would have sat out on the patio together and fought about all the things I was worried about. He would have reassured me that all would be well, and I would have told him he lived in a fool’s paradise. But by the time the dinner dishes were done and Cole was ready to say goodnight, I would have felt a deep gratitude for my family and fallen asleep curled up next to my fool.
I hadn’t felt Joe’s presence recently…and it ticked me off. While I was paying water bills and finding ways to reassure our anxious teen that the hardest part of starting back to school was starting, I imagined Joe sharing a cocktail with Carl Jung and discussing dreams from an ethereal point of view or talking about the upcoming Chicago Bears football season with Walter Payton. It seems, dead or alive, men need to be told directly, in as few words as possible, what you want. So I told Joe I needed a cosmic wink, a sign that all would be well.
The Tuesday before school started, Vickie, our friend and camp helper, took care of my campers while Cole and I ran back-to-school errands, and so she was still at my house when we arrived home. In the course of chatting with her, I mentioned that I had some Corning Ware I wanted to give to a good home. I was thrilled to find out she had been thrifting for Corning Ware for months. We both felt lucky. The Corning Ware went home with her that day.
As Vickie left with the Corning Ware, I held the front door open for her and followed her outside to see if she needed any more help. She turned to say she was fine but instead said, “What is that?” as she pointed to a hairy thing hanging by the front door. I stepped back and let Vickie take a closer look. It was a bat, later to be named Warren Batty. I have to admit Vickie was the braver of the two of us; she talked me through my fears as she shared her genuine appreciation of bats. I warmed up to Warren and agreed he could have the corner of my house as a temporary bat cave as long as he remained an outside bat.
After Vickie left, I immediately shared about Warren on Facebook. There were lots of eeeks and cools, but my friend and fellow blogger Sendi, who just lost her father to a sudden heart attack, left a comment saying she was going to check with an Indonesian elder about the symbolism behind bats.
Here is what we learned from Sendi’s elder and a few others. Bats are highly social creatures with strong family ties. Eastern cultures view the bat as a symbol of wealth, good fortune, longevity, peace, good health and a good death. In China, the symbol for bat is fu, which is also the symbol for good luck. The Maya culture of Central America considers the bat a type of guardian god—a god of fire. Images of bats are used to decorate pottery and funerary urns. According to Native American Indian lore, bats often show up to reassure you that all will be well.
Could it be, or was I was bats? Was the bat a cosmic wink from Joe, wishing Cole a happy first day of school and reassuring me all would be well? As I ponder the possibilities, I heard a voice inside my head say, “Follow the synchronicity.” Allow me to share the synchronicity with you.
- A bat shows up and hangs outside my front door. A house gets its chi, or energy nourishment, through the front door. So the stronger, healthier and more balanced the front door is, the stronger and better the quality of energy available for those who live in the house. A bat symbolizes good will, good luck and good fortune. I had asked for a sign that would reassure us all would be well.
- Vickie had been thrifting for Corning Ware, and I had Corning Ware I wanted to give away. I gave her the Corning Ware immediately and followed her outside. When she turned to thank me again and tell me she didn’t need more help, she noticed the bat. I rarely use the front door.
- The bat showed up the day before school started for Cole. Joe and Cole both shared an experience in a bat cave on a school camping trip together.
- Bats are called “pups” when they are young, and the name of my business is Camp-Run-A-Pup.
- Bats are blind, and Joe had terrible eyesight.
I decided it was time to head outside and greet our bat.
The bat blinked and looked at me.
I looked back at him and said, “Thank you.”
All will be well.