Follow the Lion
Articles Inspirational articles from Hay House authors
Follow the LionFeeling lost and afraid?
Minister Jan Milburn tells the story of meeting his totem animal in the woods of Los Gatos, California:
I was 11 years old, and it was almost dark and was snowing by the time I got up into the hills. The whole world had turned white and looked totally different. I was lost and scared and freezing to death and really upset that my mom had left me once again to walk home by myself. I had no jacket, and I’d run most of the way so I could keep warm; and now I was tired and out of breath, and the sweat on my body was beginning to freeze. I wanted to cry, I was so frightened, because I just knew that I was going to die. But then as I was walking across the meadow where I figured the dirt road to our house should be, I was feeling so lost that I was ready to give up all hope . . . when suddenly I had the strangest feeling that I wasn’t alone, that something was beside me off to my right side.
I turned and just a few feet away from me, at the foot of a gigantic redwood, stood the largest mountain lion I’d ever seen. I mean, it looked to be the size of a horse! My heart leaped into my throat, and I closed my eyes and said a quick prayer, hoping I was only dreaming so I wouldn’t be eaten alive. But when I reopened my eyes, I don’t know how to explain it—everything was different.
The lion wasn’t that huge anymore, but she was still very large. My heart came down out of my throat, and I could see that somehow even the snow had changed and wasn’t falling down so hard anymore. Now each snowflake seemed to be almost gentle as it came gliding down past my eyes to the earth. I was suddenly very happy and I began to smile, and for some strange reason, I also wasn’t afraid anymore either. This was when I looked at the huge lion again and I saw it in her eyes that she, too, was happy—that she didn’t mean me any harm. In fact, I now felt blessed to be in the great cat’s presence.
The cat and I just looked at each other for the longest time, and her large yellow eyes sparkled like golden stars. Then she turned and started walking away from me through the snow and great redwood trees. I don’t know why, but I decided to follow her; and I’d sometimes lose sight of her walking ahead of me in the falling snow, but I wasn’t frightened, because I could see her huge, deep paw prints in the fresh snow. I was no longer cold. I was warm, in fact, and the great cat led me home, right up to our front door.
It was miraculous. There was no other way to explain it, and I felt blessed and so happy. Of course, I didn’t want to tell anyone in my family about this. How could I? My mother wouldn’t even wait ten minutes for me if I was late meeting her in the parking lot at school; and my brother, who was ten years older than I was, was an engineer, so everything had to make perfect sense to him or he didn’t want to hear about it.
Anyway, something miraculous happened to me that late afternoon when I got lost in the snowstorm. The storm had turned gentle, and I wasn’t cold and frightened anymore. I was actually warm, and I felt a trust for the whole world that I’d never felt before. And the lion’s bright yellow eyes, which had looked so fierce before, looked—I still didn’t quite know how to explain it—golden and not kind, not gentle, but I guess, neutral and calm and indifferent; and I could clearly see that she meant me no harm. So I followed her and she led me home to safety.
This was when I first began to understand that there are no accidents in life, that everything is a blessing and a gift straight from Heaven when we just keep calm and neutral and have complete trust in God. But I didn’t know how to put all this into words back then. All I knew was that I’d felt lost and all alone . . . and then suddenly I’d had this strange feeling that I wasn’t alone. I’d closed my eyes; said a little, quick prayer; and reopened my eyes . . . and the whole world looked totally different.