The Easter season is always a busy time for the donkey boys. Churches hire them for various children’s events. Apparently biblical donkeys have somehow created a job for them in present day and since their hourly rate is higher than mine, I am happy to go along.
The first couple of years Chester had an unnatural fear of little girls in Easter hats. Ernest was always steadfast and tolerant in spite of his history of abuse. Now they are both unflappable through songs and costumes and waving palms.
My favorite church gig is one where we all stand on a 10’ by 10’ rug in a gym for two hours while groups of about eight kids come by. Lisa and I are required to wear period costumes. Someone from the church tells a donkey story, the kids try to listen, and then we invite the kids to pet the donkeys.
Some kids aren’t too interested, some pose for pictures smiling broadly at the camera, and some scratch ears and learn about hooves. Invariably there is a need to give the “everybody poops” speech. Many kids give our very tolerant donkeys neck-wringing hugs.
There is always at least one child, (usually a girl) who sees magic. Their eyes don’t blink and even the tiniest ones stand very close. They whisper into long ears and ask the names and ages of the donkeys. Then later, they break away from their group and sneak back for more eye-to-eye whispering. Some of us are just born this way. The donkeys and I recognize this little girl, so I ask if she will hold my donkey for me. She takes the lead rope proud and solemn with the happy responsibility.
Without fanfare, animals share with us a celebration of life, and we are connected with the Infinite through them. That’s one reason therapy with animals is so successful. Whatever else your holiday includes, may I recommend a bit of animal time as well?
(By the way, I first met my husband in church. I was the one with the donkey.)