I sat here at my desk as I often do, writing. Let me rephrase that; I was sitting here thinking–about writing. I spend a good bit of my time doing that, you know–thinking.
It’s not that I’m such an intellectual. No, I just sit and turn over a simple idea in my mind. First, I turn it this way and consider what to say about it. Next, I turn it that way and decide that my first thought is of little merit in communicating the whole truth about the idea. Flipping it to the other side again, I begin anew, frequently arriving a second time at the original conclusion, only to decide shortly thereafter that I really cannot say that. These arguments can go on for hours.
I was in the middle of just such an disagreement with my inner self the other day when my reverie was disturbed by a ruckus outside the back door. If you’ve followed my posts for long, you know that I keep a couple of furry black monsters in the back yard, partially because they help me so often with my stories. The help is unintentional on their part, but is nonetheless frequently useful. There are times when it is more of a distraction, but I like to give credit where it is due.
Stepping outside the door, I noticed that both dogs were nosing around a stack of articles against the exterior wall of my office. A dog house, an unused automatic feeder, and a stock tank (used for bathing the rascals when I’m up for the tussle) sat close to the wall, but they seemed convinced that there was something of interest to them behind the stack. I leaned back and quickly saw the object of their attention.
A small sparrow, obviously injured, was hidden in a void between the feeder and the tank. His movements were keeping the dogs’ interest piqued and I knew they wouldn’t soon relinquish their quest to capture the little fellow. Still, hopeful that they might leave him alone, I tightened the jumble of objects a bit to discourage them, and came back inside to wrestle with my own dilemma for a bit. I was thinking about numbers, and you may remember that math is not my strong suit, so it was an argument that needed my full attention.
It was a lost cause.
The racket of the black monsters began anew, almost before I was seated in my chair. I ignored it as long as I could and then, exasperated by the incessant barking and scratching, determined to make this interruption the last of the night. I went outside, shoving both of the ninety-pound mutts aside and, reaching down into the void between the tank and wall where I had seen the bird when first I looked, attempted to clutch the little waif. My intent was to carry him outside the backyard fence to safety, placing him on a lower limb of one of the trees there–out of reach of the snapping jaws on those slobbering hounds.
What actually happened, to my dismay, was that the little bird saw my hand coming down from above and, terrified, fluttered through a small space between the dog house and the wall and thus, out of his protective sanctuary. The dogs were on him in a second, and just like that, he was no more. With the crunch of powerful jaws, it was over.
I didn’t have the heart to berate the dogs; they were only doing what nature designed them to do. I did berate myself for some time. Walking back into my office, I sat and thought about what had just happened. I only wanted to help. Why couldn’t the stupid bird have just sat still and let me help?
I merely wanted to make things better!
Sad story, huh? I wish it had a nicer ending. But not all stories end in happily ever after. I want them to, but they don’t.
I’m puzzled though. I almost feel a sense of deja vu’. Why is it that the circumstances seem so familiar to me? Somehow, I think I’ve been here before. Perhaps, I really have been here.
The more I consider it, I think that I’ve been exactly where that bird was. I’ve been backed into a tight spot–trapped like a cornered animal. I’ve eyed that little slit of light over there myself, and wondered if I could escape my dire circumstances through it. I also, have thought that I might just be able to elude the hounds that had caught the scent of injured prey and had congregated outside my door.
Oh sure. I might have been safe there temporarily, but I still had to resolve the situation sometime. Prayers went up. I made promises.
I’ll never come here again; I’ll never ask for anything else ever in my life. Just GET ME OUT OF HERE!
I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who has prayed that prayer. I’m also pretty sure that it has never been answered in a way that we expect. When the Hand of Heaven begins to descend, we cower in terror.
Hey! This is not what I asked for!
We have a choice to make.
Stand still–and see the deliverance of a loving Creator.
Run–to certain destruction in the jaws of the hounds of hell.
Many, like the little wounded sparrow, have made the latter choice to their lasting detriment.
You think it odd that I should speak of deliverance and terror in the same sentence? It is odd, but we are strange people. We wish to devise our own escape; we desire to be in control of our own destiny. Answers to prayer are unpredictable; they require us to give up the reins of events. We are frightened when we aren’t in charge anymore. It requires faith.
For myself, I know my own history. I remember my choices and their consequences. I’ve heard that crunch before.
Time for me to be still and see His plan in action.
Mine haven’t worked out all that well.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
(Psalm 46:10a ~ KJV)
“We experience moments absolutely free from worry. These brief respites are called panic.”
(Cullen Hightower ~ American political quip/quote writer ~ 1923-2008)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2013. All Rights Reserved.
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