There was once a man who didn’t believe in God.
Born into a family of priests, he felt out of place.
He believed only in what he sensed with his senses.
And God, he theorized, did not exist in those places.
One day his father fell gravely ill.
His family gathered to pray for his father.
As they prayed, his father took his last breath.
It was God’s wish, they said to his sobbing mother.
A melancholy overcame him that day
He left home and wandered into the hillside
He was angry with his father, his mother – with God.
He was angry that everyone saw God except him.
As he lamented, a bird’s nest fell in front of him.
He looked up to find a hawk mauling a dove.
Feathers rained down from the disturbed treetop.
In the nest were two cracked eggs and a baby chick.
The man quickly picked up the chick onto his palm.
Its eyes were barely open and death had taken its mother.
So the man sat beneath the tree, cradling the baby dove.
He picked insects from the ground and fed the chick.
In its care, the man lost track of time.
Weeks went by as he sat beneath that tree.
One day the chick turned into a dove and flew away.
An unexplainable feeling overcame him that day.
In euphoria, he skipped deeper into the woods.
He would have danced his way to heaven’s gate.
Except, all of a sudden, the sloth bear that stood in his way.
She was dining on a honey comb when the man pranced in.
Enraged, she charged at him; her claws grazing over his chest.
His dusty robe turned red as he wheeled from a nervous quake.
Gathering all his strength, he desperately ran away from the beast.
Where he was he no longer knew, as he came upon a rivulet.
At the bank, he collapsed – his brows drowsed.
Then his senses blanked; a darkness overcame him.
In the heart of that darkness he heard a dog’s bark.
Then, a point of faint light appeared.
The light got brighter and brighter.
A chattering got louder and louder.
Then suddenly, he opened his eyes!
He was surrounded by his family.
His mother had bloodshot eyes.
His brother had grown creases.
His cousins huddled by his shoulders.
Their dog had nestled by his feet.
To him, it all happened so fast.
Just a moment ago he was running from a bear.
But in the universe outside him it had been weeks.
Then he heard a unison of gasps, cries and weeps.
The dog began barking and short-pacing on the bed.
The man had a dull pain in his head; his chest ached.
But he was thankful he had lived through his trek.
He did not know how, but he had been saved.
And just then, the dog darted out of the room.
On the umbrella tree in the courtyard, a dove had perched.
The territorial dog began barking, pawing and clawing the tree.
And the man’s brother said, “Oh, it’s that blasting bird again.”
“What bird?” the man asked.
“The one that’s been harassing Dover for weeks,” the brother said.
“That’s how we found you.”
“Dover chased it into the woods the day we found you out there.”