Tag Archives: Zechariah
Wrestling with GOD is not easy – – – especially when you don’t know you are wrestling with Him. I had no clue – no comparison on which to logically understand any of what was going on inside of me. The restlessness. The questioning. The internal tsunami that seemed to continually wash over me without end. I only knew that today as I broke the communion wafer and drank the “wine” – wisdom managed to bridge all the barriers I had erected and showed me the face of it all.
I was angry. Not angry at life or the people or the circumstances which presently surround me. But angry all the same. Angry with my Father. Angry with my GOD. Angry about the fiery lesson that seemed to be burning all around me. I don’t like fiery furnaces at all.
What are YOU thinking?
What possible glimmer of goodness can come out of this bog?
You know I HATE this, right?!?!
“There is no one holy like the LORD; there is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.”~1 Sam 2:2
It is a hard thing when you realize you have been wrestling the One who loves you best. The One whom you love best. The One who is beyond knowing and yet known. The One who is I AM. The One who is Abba Father.
Hannah wrestled with this same anger in the Bible. She wanted a child in the worst way. She prayed and prayed. Her husband tried to give her material things to make up for it. The priest accused her of being drunk with her sorrow. When in reality, Hannah was praying out her anger and sharing it with the only One who knew the depths of that anger and pain of the situation. The only One who could understand the depths of all her emotions. The One who would be the Rock beneath her feet until the wisdom of the time could bridge the anger barriers and restore her peace.
That was her wrestling.
That was when I AM met her. Lifted her out of the miry bog and put her feet upon Himself.
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.“~Matt 7:13-14
Our Father is so good. Wisdom manages to break down the barriers eventually when Truth is spoken. A fire quenched. A deep breath drawn. A trail of tears dried.
The mind was – and is still – boggled with the illuminating presence of peace. And yet – as if to confirm that it is of Him – He sends at least two or three confirmations in quick succession to reassure my stumbling mind. A video devotional. A big brother’s phone call. Anger is okay. God understands it. Our Father reaches out to reassure in response. The Son smiles and holds the trembling hands. The Spirit nudges.
Righteous anger is something a Christ follower has trouble with in this life – – especially when one has spent a lifetime avoiding “anger” and “out-of-control” situations. However, righteous anger is the exact opposite – it is total control. It is that realistic,
“no-blinders-on” look at a situation and responding in the most simple, basic, organic way possible with the only One who knows every side, every word, every action, every thought, every motivation that led to this point in time. A totally honest – if angry – conversation with the Father who loves us best.
And that is what happened today.
I’m not sure if any of this makes sense. I’m not sure why I am sharing these thoughts – except – that inner nudge that says – “Share”. So here it is. The rather focused thoughts on the wisdom of my day. Just let it be known that wrestling with GOD is not my favorite thing in the world. The last couple of days have not been fun. Yet as I cuddle this new Wisdom Baby close tonight, and as my eyes grow heavier, I can feel two hands pulling a soft, pink blanket up around us both. (Why it is pink I have no idea – but pink it is.)
We are warm.
We are safe.
We are at peace.
And tonight, I realize in that hidden fount of life deep within me
that I need –
I must rejoice in ALL things –
“Even before they call, I will answer, and while they are still speaking, I will hear.” Is 65:24 and “This third I will bring through the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say, ‘They are My people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'”~Zech 13:9
“Sleigh bells ring, are you listening…”
Quiet day – – Jingle Bells happy!
Koayah – – – finally ate a normal supper and begged for more – – – Jingle Bess thankful!
Christmas 2017 update started – — Jingle Bells dancing.
House completely decorated – – – Jingle Bells attitude!!!
Eyes lids drooping – – – Jingle Bells sleepy!!
It is time says my Gratitude Attitude to: “Never miss a good opportunity to shut up.”~Roy Rogers.
Blessings!Be! Sweet dreams! Dreaming of a winter wonderland and jingle bells ringing softly in the distance.
“In that day there will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, “HOLY TO THE LORD ” ~Zech 14:20a
We have a cast iron pan that Hubby loves to use when he cooks breakfast. I have to admit, I love having him cook breakfast since I have never learned to cook eggs (mostly because I don’t like to eat eggs). Reality check – I don’t like any breakfast foods, so not having to think about cooking first thing in the morning makes me one happy camper. The main thing mom and I totally agreed on when I was a teenager was that Hostess cupcakes or ice cream make one terrific breakfast.
The unfortunate thing about cooking is that the pans do get dirty. We established early on in this retirement routine that Hubby would also clean said pan. I learned early on that greasy pans make scratchers get very dirty, not to mention germy and sticky, very quickly. Cleaning them was a pain until I discovered that Dawn dish soap works on scratchers just as well as it works in rescues of oily birds.
“Rejoice in our Lord always, and again I say, rejoice.”~Phil 4:4
Strange as it seems, my Gratitude Attitude started cropping up almost immediately this morning as I went about cleaning up the kitchen (after the “cook” semi-destroyed it) It seems only fitting that I clean when he cooks, so that is how I usually start my morning. It also gives me a chance to think. A chance to organize my day as I go about the mindless, busy work of wiping down the kitchen.
Liberally apply dish soap to scratcher, scrub the sink with it, and the dirty, greasy, germy stain on the scratcher has pretty much disappeared (as well as the dirty sink and counters). Never to be seen again. Well – – at least until breakfast tomorrow morning when the scratcher will be clean enough to help out in the kitchen once again.
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”~Is 1:18
It “dawn”-ed on me this morning that there was a huge metaphor in today’s cleaning of the kitchen. A Gratitude Attitude. I just needed to “ferret” it out a little more fully. So here is what I discovered after a long day of messing with a frustrating dog brace and feeling my sinus cavities fill up with the impending cold front on its way. I am a scratcher in this life.
I am still meandering out of the pan into the fire occasionally. I don’t mean to do it, but sometimes that ol’ sin-nature gets the best of my intentions. When that happens, I get a little sooty and dirty – – again. Of course , at some point, I still try to grease my way out of it and whine deep in the heart of me with all sorts of excuses. Thus, my covering does show the wear and tear of multiple scrubbings over the years.
Lucky for me, I have a Savior who isn’t opposed to hugging a dirty scratcher close to his heart. His blood washing out the stains as He puts me back on the sink so I’m ready to help clean a few pans that He might need me to help Him with in this birth-pang filled world. Life is not easy. Kitchen cleaning is a chore I really don’t like. Yet – with the right Gratitude Attitude, I just may learn something new every time I do it.
“This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'”~Zech 8:23
I for one am grabbing on to the hem of this one Jew’s robe and shouting to the world, “Let me go with You, Yeshua Christus, because I know that you are the Son of God. Blessings!Be!
“Children wade in the water,
God’s gonna trouble the water…”
When you have water behind the ear, ya just feel like you are wading in water that has definitely been troubled. The boat tips and rocks while the thunder booms – it just happens all inside your head instead of on the outside. Bright side – I can stay dry when this happens. No jumping in the water for me.
I keep trying to look past these troubling waters waiting to see the bridge that I know is out there. You know the one – the “bridge over troubled waters”. The bridge that is sturdy. The bridge that will lift me out of the waters. I know it is out there, just waiting round that next bend in the waterway. All I need to do is get a hand hold on it and pull myself up.
Seems like there are lots of “troubled waters” in this world. The days of just enjoying the Land of Milk and Honey seem far away. The days when I could just focus on me. Then I remember that is probably what got the world into all these crazy waters in the first place. Me vs. we.
I remember back in my college years feeling much the same way. I just wanted to focus on me – what I wanted – where I wanted to be – the happy ending at the end of the fairae tale. Sitting on The Oval, singing with friends from choir, picnicking with a special fellow on a hillside or losing the watch my father gave me in Mirror Lake during the traditional dunking – contrasted sharply to those of dodging protesters, plugging my ears to the sirens, hiding behind cars, cancelled classes, May 4, 1970.
“Look over yonder, what did I see?
God’s gonna trouble the water
The Holy Ghost a-coming for me
God’s gonna trouble the water.”
Troubled waters exist in every generation. During the Civil War, this song was often associated with Harriet Tubman [Moses] and the escape route to the north. It was not a Land of Milk and Honey then, it is not a Land of Milk and Honey now. Land masses are made up of humans who tend to choose sin-of-me first and grace-of-we later.
I like to think that God troubles the water to remind me that He is still there. When I have calm waters, I tend to just cruise on the surface of that easy current. Gently rocking to and fro. Drifting wherever it seems to carry me. Not looking beyond the next bend. Relying on my physical sight instead of my spiritual sight. Until – the storm arises – the cascades appear – the water dries up – or – scary thought – the boat develops a hole.
“Jewish mystical tradition teaches that divinity flows into the world through desire, ours as well as God’s.”~Rabbi Marcia Prager
in times of troubled waters, I pull out the WORD and look at passages that remind me that when God troubles the water good things happen. I especially like the story in John 5 where God sends an angel to “trouble” – stir up – the waters in the baptismal pool. It reminds me to be aware – strong enough in my faith to recognize the differences that exist in troubled waters. Some are meant to be jumped into – and others you look for the bridge or rely on the Captain of the boat.
“For an Angel descended from time to time to the baptismal and moved the water for them; whoever first descended after the moving of the water was cured of all sickness whatever he had.”~Jn 5:4
The good news – troubled waters don’t last long. Just long enough to get one thinking and searching out those bridges or jumping in to grab the miracle. However – there are days when my head feels like it is taking a pounding on every side of the boat – slipping and sliding with the rollicking motion that makes my stomach roll even more – when all I really want is to curl up and read Zechariah 14 over and over. Where everything and everyone will be inscribed with the words: HOLY TO THE LORD.
“On that day HOLY TO THE LORD will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite [deciever] in the house of the Lord Almighty.”~Zech 14:20-21
In the mean time. troubled waters exist. The boat rocks and I bury my head in the WORD – not the sand – the WORD. Don’t want to miss my chance at grabbing that miracle or the bridge that will give me a handhold out of these troublesome waters. The good news – Christ is actually captaining my little boat with me and even if I miss the bridge – miss the miracle, He holds it all in the palm of His scarred hand. He calms the water, turns the wheel in the right direction, and points the way home. Ani Lo.
“If you don’t believe I’ve been redeemed
God’s gonna trouble the water
Just follow me down to the Jordan’s stream
God’s gonna trouble the water.”
I. Did. Absolutely. Nothing. Nada. Zero. Zilch.
Well – – – that is probably a tiny exaggeration. I did the usual devotional time. Wrote my daily letter for Lent. Cleaned the kitchen. Threw sticks for dogs. Mowed the tiny bit of grass that we call a yard. Visited with my egg lady and her daughter with the broken ankle when they delivered my huge duck eggs – even got some extra eggs for the Grands to color next weekend. (Can’t wait to see their faces as they color these huge eggs) Cooked super. Yawned and climbed in the hot tub.
Seriously though – didn’t read books – didn’t plant one thing – didn’t pitch any mulch – didn’t research any of those things that randomly popped up during the day – didn’t walk the dogs on their usual hike – didn’t run to the store – just didn’t do a lot of things that I usually do. Just a lazy, stretch out kind of day.
Not only a lazy day – but a day completely misnamed in my head. I kept thinking that today was Sunday. Ever do that? A computer glitch in the brain labels the day and there you go. It is SUNDAY – even if you aren’t doing all the things you normally do on Sunday. Not once did I think it was Saturday until I got out of the hot tub tonight and turned on the TV. Then it dawned on me that not only was today NOT Sunday, but tomorrow was not just any Sunday.
Tomorrow is Palm Sunday.
“This month is to be for you the first month, the first month of your year. Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb.”~Ex 12:2-3
The Western Easter calendar and the Jewish calendar do not always mesh. Sometimes the dates are just off. This is one of those years. Passover starts Monday at sunset on the 10th of Nisan – April 10th for us. The 10th of Nisan is important to Passover. It is the day families would walk to all the pens of sheep around the Temple Mount. Pens full of Lambs that the priests had declared pure and without blemish. Lambs that waited for be chosen as a Passover Lamb. Families would choose the lamb that would atone for their sins on the 10th day in the month of Nisan.
Guess what date it was when Jesus rode into Jerusalem?
“They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.”~Matt 21:7-9a
Yupper – the 10th of NIsan. Rabbi Yeshua – declared pure and without blemish by John, a priest of Aaron’s line – climbed upon a donkey – just as Issac climbed on a donkey – just as prophesied by Zechariah – and was brought into the home of all Jewish people with great celebration and acclaim. Jerusalem. The holy mount where a stumbling man named Abram looked up and finally gave his heart in faith completely to El Shaddai.
The 10th day of Nisan.
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”c
“Hosannad in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Yeshua, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”~Matt 21:9b-11
This has been one BEEEEE-UUUUU-TI-FULL day. Full of absolutely nothing. Well – we did hang some drapes, cook some food, play with the puppies, and open all the windows for the wonderful fall weather to drift through. Oh yeah – I did pick up stuff for my little robot maid to run around on our floor. But other than that – totally lazy, stay inside, veg-type of day.
It’s funny that even on lazy days the mind continues to turn things over…especially in a terrible election year. It is like a constant informal prayer day when I’m lazy. I have these running conversations in my head with Abba that is – more than likely – totally inappropriate – – – especially when there is news about the election.
Comments like – ‘Seriously?’ ‘Can’t you do a miracle or two?’ ‘Why?’
And then -that little nugget verse He placed in front of me yesterday pops back up, and I stand convicted. I remember the phrase I wrote about yesterday, “Yahweh said, I am the God of your fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”~Ex 3:6
Faith, sacrifice, struggle.
Zechariah was a Hebrew prophet. His name in Hebrew is “The LORD Remembers”. Today’s Ration reminds us the leader that the LORD has envisioned is so much different than the vision we have for ourselves – even those back in 1942. The author of today’s Ration seems to be thinking pretty much the way we are thinking in 2016. Read his first paragraph under the Bible verse, but as we head into the last month of this election year, remember God’s vision for our leader:
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
And the horse from Jerusalem;
And the bow of war will be cut off.
And He will speak peace to the nations;
And His dominion will be from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth.”~Zech 9:9-10
1942 Daily Ration: ” ‘He is just, and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass…and he shall speak peace unto the heathen; and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.’~Zech 9:9,10
“Read: Zechariah 9:9-10
“Powers that be in politics make it difficult for rulers to govern righteously. Individuals and groups clamor loudly for favors and selfish advantage. Even the best nations are concerned more for their own than for another’s good.
“Zechariah envisioned the coming of a different sort of king than men had yet known. He would be just, not given to the practice of favoritism: he would have salvation for the people, not defeat and slavery; he would be lowly, within reach of the humblest; he would bring peace to the nations, not discord and strife; and his reign would be universal, not for one nation or race or class.
“Is this the King we delight to serve? Are we willing to be no more highly favored than others, including people of so-called inferior races and of totalitarian state? We want salvation, of course, so lowly that he took the form of a servant?…If he must depend for the extension of his Kingdom on such subjects as we are, will he ever have dominion from sea to sea?…
Prayer: Eternal God, teach us the truth that righteousness is better than wickedness, and that love is stronger than hate. Deliver us from the temptation to discriminate unfairly between people because of class or color or race or privilege. Endue us with wisdom and goodness that we may serve the cause of justice and peace. We pray in the name of Christ. Amen.”
The Passover moon was hidden deep in the clouds. Those that He loved were scattered, scared, weeping. Primal screams lodged in their throats, trapped tightly since that last night with Him. Had it truly been just 48 hours past since their peaceful sleep under the soft whispers of the olive trees’ leaves? Two nights since – just like their ancient ancestors – a release from the known for the unknown. Alone, they sat with their backs against their own known walls and wept – afraid of what scary things might lie beyond in the unknown..
“I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.”~Matt 26:20/Zech 13:7
Deep in the recesses of this darkness, a torch burned. Words that circled with a brightness of promise – renting the veil as surely as the curtains ripped in the temple just one day past. A promise that grew brighter as they wiped the tears with the back of their hands and managed to push their knees under their quaking bodies. Facing forward, they craned their head to catch a glimpse of that which was beyond the known wall.
“Verily, verily, I say unto you, That ye shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice: and ye shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.”~Jn 16:20
A familiar voice. His voice. A voice that was different, yet the same. “…weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” Morning. A promise to capture. A promise that burned now within each of them – alone – yet together in His light.
Clouds scattered intermittently – at first – slowly – hesitantly – just as their doubts assailed them over the passing hours of the night. The Sons and Daughters of Israel warred with themselves with what they had known over the last three years and what unknowns lie ahead. Would He? When? How could He? When? How would they know? When? Over and over and over.until the black turned to purple then to a pale blue.
Just as the clouds gave way to the brightness of His word torch, so too did their doubts scatter Standing, the threshold of faith waiting to be crossed, each, in their own way, just as their forefathers had crossed out of Egypt, took the first step into the unknown – releasing their fears and then – their joy adding wings to their feet – running after the pillar of God that swirled before them into the unknown.
” Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’ ” Then they remembered his words.”~ Lk 24:5-7
It is Easter Morn. The darkness has been released once again and joy comes with the morning. Blessings!Be! on this Easter Morn. May your darkness be released. As Esther freed her people from the threat of Haman – as Moshe released his people from their captivity in Egypt – so too,did the Son of God release all people who choose to follow Him from their dark night to eternal joy in the morning.
[google images and youtube]
“I will sing the LORD a new song –
To praise Him-
To bless Him –
To bless the LORD –
I will sing His praises while I live
All of my days.” – Simple Song from Bernstien’s Mass
Today, November 10, 2015, I am thankful for a new day. A new day to sing a song to my LORD. A new day to offer praise that bubbles over in Joy. A new day in my walk of faith, stumbling over rocks others have place in my path and falling into pits that I have dug myself. A new day to pull myself upright once again and stand upon His rock. A new day to bless Him with all that is in me. A new day to gaze upon all that is around me. A new day of reflection, gleaning wisdom where I can. A new day to bend my knees (as painful as it is at times) and wonder, “I Can Only Imagine”. A new day in Christ who has forgiven me over and over and over…..
“Lauda, lauda, laude, lauda, lauda di da di day
All of my days……”
“…the LORD Almighty says: ‘Return to me,’… ‘and I will return to you,…’ Do not be like your ancestors…”
Today is one of those days that warm my heart. The posts supporting our current and past veterans brought a smile to my face and tears to my heart. I love looking at my father’s photos from his time in China during WWII. I love looking at the pictures of my uncles and the elders of the small rural town where I grew up.
The “Greatest Generation” are the men and women that set a standard before me as they wove the stories of their lives into my mind around the Thanksgiving table. They are the ones that showed up for every volunteer community program – built youth buildings, led scout troops, played Santa, inspired my brother, cousins and classmates to serve our country as well.
Today has been one of the few areas where our country appears to still be united. For the most part – on this one issue – we are not Hyphenated Americans. For this one day, I am thankful to feel that rare concept that used to be the fabric of our everyday life: We are all Americans – united.
This was the miracle of the day. God granted me a second miracle of the day as well. I got to play with the Grands all morning. Teach a little piano. Teach a little math (see, God, I got the hint). Walk the land with the pups and get home to find a third miracle – God has already answered a prayer – in an “impossible” manner, natch (as my mom would say) – that had been at the back of my mind all day.
Today, November 11, 2015, I am thankful for 3 miracles. God is moving. Believe. Blessings!Be!
“…this is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘Turn from your evil ways and your evil practices.’ “…”Proclaim further: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.’ ”~Zech 1:3a, 4b, 17
A TWELFTH BLESSING OF THANKSGIVING
“We gather together to ask the LORD’s blessing…”
2 weeks from today will be Thanksgiving. The football games will still be on the TV. In many homes, the bellies will be way over-filled. In others, the bellies will be a little fuller than usual. Churches or community centers will be cleaning up after feeding many of homeless and heading home. Cell phones and/or video games will be whirling away in hands of children and adults alike. People will be crowding into the theatre to see the newest release. Others, like the family I married into, will probably be still playing cards. While Christmas music and movies will appear on a more regular basis – except for Hallmark station which is already playing them non-stop. And some overly excited shoppers will be adding to their personal debt, supplynng more totals of early “Black Friday” stats.
It just makes me sad. Somewhere, our culture has lost the history behind the day. I still remember when every story, gas station, and banks were closed on a holyday. For that matter, they were closed every Sunday. The roads were empty unless you had gas in the tank and wanted to visit family or just go for a drive. I don’t remember the TV being on at any of our Thanksgivings until I was in high school. After all – it was cousin time. Games to be played. Plays to produce. Music to sing and elders that sat around playing guitars and banjos. It was Thanksgiving. People remembered.
I was lucky. I grew up in a family that knew history and told stories. I wasn’t wise enough to always listen. My brother was much wiser that way. But thanks to a couple of marvelous history teachers, including my dad, I learned the basics and began adding to those as I grew wiser. History points the way if we are smart enough to remember.
Today, November 12, 2015, I am thankful for Thanksgiving. A day set aside to remember. A day when two different races — two different cultures — sat down to eat a meal together. Each honoring their Creator. Each coming from a differnt space and finding each other. For a moment in time, the gates of the Garden were thrown wide open, so that we might learn and remember how to give thanks to the One that breathed into our nostrils the breath of life. It is time to remember.
Silver was the first dog in my life that I remember. Even though I didn’t name her, her name suited her. She was an all-white, medium sized Alaskan malamute type of mutt. And…she was my best friend. When your only brother is nine years older than you, you don’t have close familial playmates to occupy your time. Luckily, I grew up in the 50’s. Extended families tended to live close to each other. Cousins were abundant, and even a an almost 4 year old could walk by herself around the neighborhood to find a playmate. However, there were days when Silver was the only one around. In hindsight, I was lucky to have her. After all, she taught me life lessons that no one would ever teach me half as well.
“This third I will put into the fire; I will refine them like silver and test them like gold. They will call on my name and I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are my people,’ and they will say, ‘The LORD is our God.'” Zech 13:9
Silver had an incontinence problem, so she couldn’t stay in the house all the time. Mom always said it was because they neutered her too early in life, still – if the night was really cold, she slept in the kitchen where clean-up was not too much of a hassle. In the 50’s, it was not considered cruel to keep a dog chained to a lead wire in the backyard. Silver had a long wire that ran from her doghouse to the end of the yard. There was plenty of shade where the dog house was and lots of sun further away if she wanted to walk to it. To me, that walkway was huge, but I’m sure it wasn’t as big as I remember it. There was hay in the winter, baby bathtubs full of water in the summer, and wonderful nights when we were allowed to snuggle on the old back porch couch when it was too hot to sleep inside…a mini-campout made perfect with parents singing and a guitar or banjo playing back-up.
While there are many things I learned from Silver, there are one primary lesson that comes to mind immediately whenever I see a picture of her. The first part of this lesson occurred on a hot April day. I was just a couple months away from my 4th year of life. I decided that I wanted to play “store” with Silver. Going to the store was an event in those days. Stores were not always open. You got dressed up go to the store. Most of the time, the only stores you went to were in your small town, and of course, there were no stores (not even gas stations) open on Sundays or holidays………at all…………….ever. In my mind, going to the store was special. So Silver and I walked up and down her path – many, many times. At some point, my mommy yelled at me from the kitchen to let Silver rest. She said it was too hot to be pestering the dog. I didn’t listen, and the rest was a lesson seared into my mind. I leaned close to grab Silver’s collar, and she nipped at me her answer. Unfortunately, she nipped my bottom lip and split it up the middle.
In our PC society of today, Silver would be logged as a vicious dog. Tested for rabies. Impounded by the county. Locked away from the little girl and family she loved. But, lucky for me and Silver, common sense still held sway over most things. Little girl drove dog nuts on a hot day and got what she deserved. Mommy yelled, “I told you so,” as she picked me up and hauled both of our tails to the hospital for stitches. One wise doctor who figured out how to save a lip with only a tiny bump and a scare as a reminder, and one huge lecture from my parents a few days later led me to be assigned my first chore: make sure that Silver had water every day. After all, I needed to learn that pets were not just toys. We needed to be respectful and care for them like we would like others to care for us.
Sadly, like most of the lessons in my life, I didn’t learn this lesson very well the first time round. A few years later, in a new house, Silver was still my responsibility. But I forgot. I got side-tracked. It was another hot day. She went without water all day, and when Daddy came home from his factory job, he found a very hot dog by the garage, panting and very weak. The car horn beeped three times. I came running from my “new” best friend’s house; sure it was time for supper. Instead, I got my butt warmed from the house to the garage where I got the pan for water, and then got swatted a few more times (for good measure – I’m sure) on the way back to the water spigot. It is the last official spanking I remember getting in this life. I also remember lying on the ground with Silver for a long time. Tears were falling, but more over her being so hot and looking awful than from the spanking I had just received. Most of all, I remember the talk my Daddy gave me after I finally left Silver’s side.
Sometimes lessons are pretty easy to absorb into our reality. Other times – lessons have to be repeated until they are learned. If we are lucky, we have parents who are patient and willing to help us stand back up and face our failings. As we get older, we think we are past those lessons from our parents. We become adults. We move away. We start families of our own. We struggle to become parents. Our parents age and pass away. But in reality…silently…consistently…, our other parent is still offering lessons. Minute by minute. Day by day. Year by year. Repeating them when we need them. Helping us to stand when we fall. We just don’t like to acknowledge it very often. Rabbe Yeshua called Him “Abba”. I call Him “Father” because Christ did.
I like to think that Jehovah-Shammah let us name the animals so that we could not only identify them by name, but so that we would feel for them a tiny bit of what He felt for us when He named us: “man” …… “woman”. Naming something brings the power of love more deeply into our selves and shapes our relationship with them. I think this lesson really was driven into me when I held my first new born child and felt the responsibility of “naming” them. What a gift. What a responsibility. What a chance to feel just a touch of what Our Father feels when He stands beside our “dog house” and waits to take us to the store.
“Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals.” Gen 2:19-20