Lambs and palms

“In the divine Scriptures, there are shallows and there are deeps; shallows where the lamb may wade, and deeps where the elephant may swim.”
― John Owen

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(a little woolen black faced sheep holding an old palm cross from a long ago Palm Sunday / Julie Cook / 2015)

Palm Sunday.
A Spring day associated with newness, freshness and arrivals.
A day Christians remember as a day of holy joy and triumph.
The marking of a celebration–as proclaimed by the ancient prophets, the remembrance of Jesus riding into Jerusalem. He rides on the bare back of a young colt as the masses enthusiastically greet him, laying giant palm branches before his retinue.

He is welcomed, honored and proclaimed as King, Messiah, Savior.
A miracle worker whose benevolent and kindhearted ways were oddly unfamiliar and foreign.
A liberator who had finally come into the impoverished lives of those living in the dry,
barren and forsaken Roman outpost, as Jews were still living under siege and occupation.
For this man Jesus, had come to set the captives free. . .
Or so both wise and misguided solely believed–for each,
their idea of freedom was to be a double edged sword. . .

As the palms waved. . .

Sheep and lambs–
Is there anything seemingly more simple or docile?
The epitome of blessed peacefulness.
Nothing like a beautiful green field dotted idyllically with a flock of such easy going grazing animals bahhing and bleating til their heart’s content.

For some odd reason, I had always proclaimed that I would one day be a sheep farmer,
a shepherd of sorts.
A bucket list since I was a wee lass.
Tending and caring for the sheep and lambs.
The black faced ones, in particularly, seemed to call out to me much more so than
their all white or black counterparts
What do I know about raising sheep?
Absolutely nothing.
I was raised in a city with the closest sheep being at the zoo.
There was no 4H in my urban school affording this would-be shepherd any opportunity at the whole herding dream.
It was to the way out, miles out, another life out, out to the fleeting countryside where there were only cows upon cows with nary a sheep to be seen.

Yet sheep called.

Bach’s pastoral cantata, Sheep may Safely Graze was and continues to be a favorite.
Melodic, light, lulling, soothing. . .
Visions of an ancestral home in either Ireland or Scotland, depending on the side of
the family I was currently fantasizing about,
sweetly beckoned as I knew there were fields full of sheep each awaiting my care.

As the sheep called.

Yet as sweet as sheep and lambs appear, age has taught me that sheep are no pushovers. They can be a stubborn lot. Refusing to be guided yet needing constant direction.
Left unto their own devices, sheep can quickly wander into trouble.
They need to be coxed, prodded, and herded. They need to be watched as being almost entirely defenseless, they fall easy victim to any and all cunning predators. Running is about their only means of defense. They need shearing, feeding, protecting and lots and lots of space as they are voracious grazers.

Yet sheep called.

Maybe because I always saw myself as the 1 out of 99.
Maybe because I love the Little Drummer Boy, who had nothing to lay at the feet of a king but his tender lamb.
Maybe because I understood all too well the whole not being the brightest of the animal kingdom and needing lots of oversight and protecting as wandering lost was very real. . .because all of that hit too close to home.

And the lambs called

Maybe it was because I saw Abraham with his hand held high balancing his heart between love and obedience, as a single knife reflected the light from the heavens above. Obedience was set to slit the throat of his young son Isaac, love being almost crushed and silenced.
Tears flowed, a heart was breaking, young questioning eyes, frightened, stare into his fathers, as obedience was set to act. . .
When mercifully a substitute was graciously found.

And the lambs called

Maybe it is because of the words of Isaiah. . .

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.

(Isaiah 53:3-9)

Still the sheep called.

As the sheep continue to call.
As a lone woolen sheep magnet triumphantly clutches a long ago discarded palm cross, worn on a long forgotten Palm Sunday. . .

And the sheep calls as the palms wave

Yet it is to the Shepherd who tends His flock that my ear is attuned. As the sheep whose shepherd calls their name and they respond, I too respond to the call of my own name being called.
Misguided
Lost
Wandering
Stubbron
and even defiant
The Shepherd patiently calls,
as the sheep knowingly responds. . .

as the sheep continue to call, the palms continue to wave. . .

Taking one for the team in the company of loons and voodoo dolls

Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.
Vince Lombardi

Skylark, Have you seen a valley green with Spring Where my heart can go a-journeying, Over the shadows in the rain To a blossom covered lane? And in your lonely flight, Haven’t you heard the music in the night, Wonderful music, Faint as a will-o-the-wisp, Crazy as a loon, Sad as a gypsy serenading the moon.
Johnny Mercer

Great Northern Diver/Common Loon
(a beautiful image of a loon found on the web and belonging to Ignacio Yufera photography)

Ok–
I’ve always said let me be the example. . .
Allow me to be the one others look to in order to learn from life’s mistakes.
I’m willing to take one for the team, hoping that others will see. . .
what not to do
how not to do
when not to do
While learning from my
miscues
misfires
misgivings
mishandlings
misinterpretations. . .

These past three weeks have been jam packed with shining examples.
Despite any luck of the Irish that may have befallen the planet this past week, I was sadly passed over.

Almost three weeks ago I found myself living the life of a voodoo doll.
A cute little stuffed stick like figure, arms stuck straight out, hair looking like a result of an errant finger poked in an electrical outlet, blank faced, quasi puppet who’d quickly became a pin cushion at the hand of the malevolent and loon alike.
I was placed,
forced,
stuck,
covered in a situation (or four or five)
in which I was knocked upside the head,
dealt a terrible hand,
hit broadside with a triple whammy,
bamboozled,
and dumped within the middle of one nasty sticky wicket.

In order to protect the innocent or actually my own behind, we won’t use names.
Nothing to identify anyone but my poor misguided self and of course good ol Dad.

And before we proceed and lest we forget, a loon is not just another name for a lovely red eyed lake bird possessing a haunting tune, but rather the name for a psycho, sociopath or crazy individual who I seem to attract like a magnet. . .

–First to the current moment at hand. . .
If a medicine reads PM and or Nighttime, do not think that suggests AM or Daytime.
That is unless you enjoy feeling rather “outer body” during the waking hours
want to / need to drive
operate heavy machinery or something as simple, say like, the washing machine or hair dryer
wish to be productive–such as shower, dress, cook, eat, clean. . .
need to stay awake, as in not sleeping. . .
enjoy feeling drunk,
or think it’s a good idea to drive home from the grocery store with eyes that won’t focus. . .
PM and Nighttime are for just that—nighttime—even though it just may be the only option
in the cabinet, simply wait for the sun to go down before taking.

–Never ask “what else can wrong”
For it will be at that very moment the sewer pipe bursts.

–Never assume when presented with two different scenarios,
with one being tolerable and the other being the onset of Armageddon,
that you will get lucky, escaping with the better scenario hiding behind Door number 1. . .
Armageddon has your name written all over it.

–Never think that the other people you will find yourself dealing with are like minded, sane, rational, nice, or friendly. . .
There is a 50 / 50 chance you’ll get like minded–we must remember that since you usually get Armageddon, that 50 /50 percentage thing will be more like 80 / 20 against you. . .enter the loons.

–Never think that if you leave Atlanta at 4PM on a Friday afternoon, for your average hour drive home, that you will arrive anytime before midnight–thus making you the loon.

–Never think that if you are standing in a room with a loon and about five other folks that the loon will ask what you would like for lunch. . .the said loon, who has you in its crosshairs, does not consider you present, only the five other folks.
Trust me, you will be the only one without a sandwich.

–Never assume that age is essential when expecting people and loons to act mature. A 55 year old loon can act like a 12 year old junior high age kid any day of the week.

–Always remember, evil does walk the planet and sometime enjoys stalking you.

–Voodoo dolls are real and they look very much like me you.

–There comes a time when you need to be your parent’s advocate. The torch mysteriously passes from them taking care of you and your needs to you taking care of them and their needs. Don’t forget to step up and speak up.

–Which brings us back to likeminded. . .never assume you’ll be working with those who possess a “team” mentality when meeting a crisis head-on especially with a loon nearby.

–Never assume that if you were once a childhood friend with a loon someone that they remember it having been a nice friendship, a good time, or even remember at all. . .

–Never assume or figure. . .you’ll always be wrong, especially when it comes to loons.

–Never trust your “confused” 87 father with a “touch of alzheimers” to tell you that he will pay his bills and keep his records organized and don’t even mention the taxes—the witness protection plan may be the only open option when dodging the IRS

–Never remarry if you have grown kids. . .trust me.

–Never give in when the loons first approach you wearing smiles offering some sort of “great idea.”
Keep that whole Armageddon thing in mind.

–Never assume savings will always cover long term care for the elderly.

–It’s okay to now ask your dad what he was thinking when he thought getting remarried at almost 70 was a good thing. Trust me, he will now wonder with you what he was thinking.

–It’s ok to change your dad’s doctor.

–It’s ok to ask your dad if his idea of shaving is that of his entire face or just sections. It’s also ok to ask if he’s shaved in the past week or finds a beard with one long hair here and one long hair there his idea of no shave November in March

— It’s ok if your 87 year old dad asks you over and over “ok the doctor told me to speak my mind right?” “Yes dad, find your voice”

–It’s not ok when your dad starts calling you from a cell phone you thought he’d lost years ago and never knew how it worked.

–It’s not always a good thing getting step siblings at age 40

–Siblings. . .step, half, whole, or otherwise are like that whole 50 / 50 thing. . .
with that whole Armageddon thing hiding in there somewhere.

–Remember loons of a feather flock together, often attracting like minded loons.

–If you get rundown and stressed you will get sick—and then you will take nighttime meds accidentally in the daytime and wonder how you’ll get home from the grocery store

–there are no frequent flyer miles for traversing Atlanta’s interstates

–And lastly remember, when Life and loons come calling with crises and haunting calls—
it’s best to hold on, pray hard and look for the humor in between the tears. . .