GoodGirl and I spent some extra time together this week. I enjoy her company and thrill to watch her run the lots and pastures at lightening speed for the sheer joy of running. I also enjoy watching her interact with all the other animals.
GoodGirl and Hero chat between passes.
True to her breed GoodGirl instinctively herds the livestock. Fence or no fence, hot wires or cold she needs no help getting the attention of the sheep or steers. The way she even directs the neighbor’s animals – on the other side of the wire fence fascinates me.
Again this week I noticed how this girl-dog especially loves to dash up to the chicken run, kicking up dust, scattering the hens into a squawking flurry and stop with her nose micrometers from the chicken wire. She’s clearly demonstrated how, let loose and unchecked, she could pull at that wire and have a tasty snack in no time, so we scold her for chasing chickens.
GoodGirl resists (mostly) her innate desire to harass the chickens. She adores the people that liberally pour love, food and comfort on her. Even at three years of age she desires her human’s praise and approval even more than she likes chasing chickens.
Under her steady gaze, I tend the hen house every day. She reminds me of my relationship with God. As much as I may enjoy ripping and running around the countryside, let loose to run unchecked I’d be a poor, broken, sick mess in no time. Although I get lonely for my offspring, siblings and friends now and then, I’ve learned that our Heavenly Father knows best when to reign me in and when to let me run if only for the sheer joy of it.
Just like GoodGirl.
“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)
Honestly, I’m not fast or graceful. Imagine Phoebe Buffay, only wrinkly, silver-haired in cut offs, tank top, loud electric blue Sketchers running shoes; that would be me:
In my quiet time today, before I checked my inbox, among the many other things clamoring around in my head I’d been thinking about the circumstances at home; Erin and I are as similar as a desert and an iceberg: a devout liberal and a hard-core libertarian. Comical. Right?
Arriving here this past April, the work necessary to fit me into the property seemed to loom above us like a tidal wave. We’ve made progress in our relationship, but the property is another story. Sometimes I feel like we’re trying to turn the Titanic on a dime!
Challenges trip me up daily – hourly stirring the longing for order and my usual routines.
Determined, I reflected on Paul’s words in today’s study of Galatians’ second chapter:
“I went there because God revealed to me that I should go… I wanted to make sure that we were in agreement, for fear that all my efforts had been wasted and I was running the race for nothing.”
I’m not a missionary like Paul in the traditional sense, but if I’m not reflecting the love of Jesus, I’m wasting my time and energy.
I’m not fast nor graceful. Uncomfortable in public, finding a smooth pace is sometimes laborious. Occasionally, I feel embarrassed as youngsters whiz past me, chuckling out, “on your left…”
I’m sure Erin and the cats sometimes see me as an alien. I don’t expect them to understand my need for an allergen-free environment. They don’t feel my constantly congested sinuses and the pounding inside my head as I grope around the kitchen for food, tea, coffee, etc. or my need for order and routine.
As I read on, the study led me to Hebrews (again with the running);
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.”
Sincan be an attitude. I can only imagine the so-called Entitled Generations miss the joy of serving others. I too must constantly be on guard against negative attitudes that can so easily overshadow my purpose here, love for my crazy family, my friends and gratitude.
Eyes on the goal, I’ll keep heading toward the finish line. Love endures.
“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way.” 1 Corinthians 13:4
 I notice the entitled mentality, a habitual behavior, is not exclusive to Millennials. Members of several current generations tend to behave as though they are more entitled, spoiled, and essentially self-serving.
I have an amazing gift for screwing up, and I’m especially good at misidentifying words. Yeah, I’m the writer that once saw the word flagellate and somehow worked flatulate into the context.
Weaving my literary tapestries, I must frequently check and double check that my words say what I intend. I practice reading sentences, formatting them in my head to ensure I understand correctly. But even so, stuff happens.
Not long ago, I wrote a lovely piece inspired by a quote. As I tweaked the media in the document, my last step before posting, I suddenly realized I’d incorrectly committed the message to memory from the start.I had read one word wrong, resulting with wrong imagery.
I had keyed the quote from the book exactly as it read, exactly how it was printed – and yet in my mind that one word was entirely different. But only in my mind. Days later I noticed how that one word changed my whole story line. Metaphorically speaking that one word changed a waterfall into a lawn sprinkler, for cryin’ out loud.
Once I realized what I’d done, I literally did cry out loud, “[colorful expletive!] Really? God, what’s wrong with me?!”
Maybe God spoke. I’m not sure, but I remembered – yet again – I’m a whole new brand of special. My brain doesn’t work like everyone else’s, or anyone else’s I know for that matter.
Health care professionals can diagnose and define all they want, but I learned ages ago I must approach some areas of life differently, like reading, writing and sometimes speaking. I’ve practiced this my whole life, and developed a workable regime. Once in a great while I will be late. I may need to rework a few projects, but I’ll eventually get them as I want them, in good time – or close enough to call it.
And yet, there I was, an hour from my self-imposed deadline, I stepped away from my desk, made some tea and walked a bit. Still wanting to cry from frustration, I had a chat with God.
In that conversation I remembered, it’s not the first time I had to tweak an entire article a degree or so. And if I must trash it and start something new it won’t be the first time for that either. And then it dawned on me I haven’t done this sort of goof in a very long time – possibly years. At least not an instance that lasted more than a minute – and those are always entertaining; no harm no foul.
Strangely, as I worked to clear my mind, the image of a toddler learning to walk came to me.
In nano-seconds I recalled how my firstborn, Iain began walking at nine months of age. Motherly pride quickly gave way to exhaustion. By ten months he loved to run – urging anyone to get him. With so many monstrous end tables, door jams and thresholds lurking around… Suffice it to say abstinence of stimulants was mandatory. I now recall developing a fondness for wine as Iain found his sea legs.
Already bigger than most two-year-olds, Iain was remarkably fast; often too fast. Despite his adorable pudgy bulk he was also remarkably agile. Still, when he stumbled and fell there was often blood shed. Fortunately, being the first of his generation, a host of doting aunts and uncles were usually handy to entertain – and spot him.
Among my fondest memories is my two brothers developing an obstacle course for Iain in the grassy yard behind the house. They set out a cardboard box to crawl through, a lawn chair cushion to pounce upon, a coiled garden hose turned into a tunnel and such. In no time Iain wore them down, and yet they both patiently kept close guard while the toddler squealed and bounced along with delight, rosy cheeks glowing in the patchy sunshine beneath the orange tree.
Iain couldn’t get more than a foot from both men, but I’m certain in his mind he was footloose and fancy free. Entirely forgetting his nearby sentries he ran, crawled, stooped, rolled and toddled until finally he sat down.
I doubt I’ll ever forget the image of the three of them sitting quietly, backs against the tree trunk until Iain’s head slid slowly onto Seagh’s lap, sound asleep. Or that these were the same guys that would catch farts in their hands to release them in my face. Don’t get me started on other things they taught my sons…
Peaceful, calm assurance restored, I wiped my eyes and got back to my desk. The rework actually went remarkably well and I posted the story in a record five hours later than I’d planned that day.
I sometimes imagine Father God like my brothers in that scenario. As we grow into the various stages of our lives, we often go so fast, too fast sometimes and want to run before we master walking. He gives us healthy obstacles to challenge us and yet, He is always close enough to stop us from running into harm’s way.
Sure, bad things happen. We all fall sometimes and occasionally face harsh consequences after landing. Especially when the pressure’s on it’s good to remember that despite the bumps and bruises, no matter the scars or how deep the wound is, for those who know and trust Jesus, the cross has made us flawless.*
“For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.” James 1:3-5 (NLT)
*I do not own the rights to Flawless, MercyMe. No copyright infringement was intended in the making of this video.
With all our advancements, as much as things change, some things haven’t.
Why can’t people identify people in lite conversation as people, like, “this guy,” or “a girl I know”… Must we start a conversation with wedges such as specifying skin color, ethnicity, gender inclination, political orientation, etc?
What are your thoughts?
If you don’t vote, quit yer bellyachin’. If you did, trust God.
“Books are like seeds. They can lie dormant for centuries and then flower in the most unpromising soil.” (Carl Sagan); “Nothing ever dies on the Internet.” (anon.); “This is not your father’s Oldsmobile.” (Madison Ave. [m]adman). My posts amalgamate these three philosophical elements into one novel experience; they champion critical thinking, human dignity / equality, levelheaded / even-handed / liberty-based governance and solid environmental stewardship. C’mon in!