Posts Tagged ‘Encouragement’

Searching for Freedom

May 19, 2017

TruDee had told me she heard noises for several nights. Noises like the wind blowing an open door or window. When she would investigate, there was nothing to be found. One evening we were sitting in the living room and I heard it as well. My thought was it must have been a bird hit a window, it was just a short, “Thump.”

I had gone to bed early one night later and when she came to bed she said she thought something was in the basement probably in one of our window wells. She had heard the thump again and then scratching. We have had bunnies fall through the wooden slates that cover the opening to the window wells in the backyard before. I did not check it that night.

The next morning, I went downstairs to check out what kind of creature we had in the basement thumping and scratching around. The window well in the bedroom seemed to be clear as near as I could tell with the flashlight on my phone. When I checked the larger well in the family room it appeared there was nothing there either. That is, until I final saw movement, a dark gray rounded creature burrowed in the corner under some leaves and yard debris that had blown into the well. It was an armadillo. I suspect the cornered creature found itself in this predicament after being chased across the yard by our two dogs, I don’t know that for sure… but, well, it is highly likely.

After researching online and doing a Facebook Hivemind request I was still unsure what to do. Armadillos are not easily captured. To try and catch one by hand is difficult as they can jump, they have sharp teeth, a hard shell, and an attitude. All of this and the fact they can carry rabies as well as possibly Hansen’s Disease, i.e. leprosy. After learning government animal control only deals with domestic animals, I knew this was not going to be an easily resolved problem. The last thing I wanted to do was be in an eight foot deep, five by four foot hole with a jumping, armored, sharp toothed, possibly disease toting, armadillo with an attitude.

TruDee gave me the idea when she suggested a large tub with some food to coax it in and put a lid on it, it had to be hungry after being in a hole for several days. That got me to thinking, it was confined, armadillos are nocturnal, it had nothing to eat or drink for at least three or four days… surely it would be lethargic. I went home, retrieved a large plastic tub, threw in some dog food for good measure, opened the large window for access to the well, and sat the tub on end opposite our guest. I took a four-pronged rake and just nudged it gently to see how it would react. It stood up and turned aroDillound in the corner and just looked at me. I reached beyond it with the prongs of the rake and pulled it just a few inches toward the tub to see what it would do. Nothing…just sat there and looked at me. So, I placed the prongs of the rake firmly against its side and gave it a quick more forceful jerk and pull… it basically rolled right into the tub, I sat the tub up, snapped the lid on, taped it shut, loaded it in the car and drove our guest armadillo several miles south of town and set it free. The armadillo, I imagined, and I were very pleased with the outcome.

Sometimes I tell stories because they have taught me a deeply profound lesson about life and faith. Sometimes I tell stories because they are simply good stories and they make me smile and feed my soul.

This story I think was as much just about the story as it was anything else. And at the same time, it might have something to say to me, to those for whom it resonates, there are times in our lives we might find ourselves trapped, unable to see our way to freedom, and sometime through no fault of our own, it can just happen. It can be lonely in those places, dark, body and soul sucking places and spaces that drain us and leave us huddled in a corner wondering what more could possibly go wrong.

And then something happens, someone happens along the way to coax us out of our corner with a little nudge, and little shove, a little nourishment, and a reminder that this hole we have found ourselves in is not where we belong. It is the truth of who we are that sets us free. Free to be our authentic self, just as we are, unconfined and unrestricted by society or even the church, but rather acknowledged for the wondrous creature we are, remembering whose we are as children of the Divine with a crucial and irreplaceable place in this community, in this world, in this humankind.

May the walls and holes you encounter be few. May there always be a little nourishment for your body and soul. May you always have community close by who are willing to risk themselves to help set you free. May there always be community nearby willing to give you a little nudge or even a firm shove to remind you to be who you are.

You Are Beautiful! You Are Enough! You Are Not Alone!

Peace and Light for Your Journey!

Pastor Kent.

Simple Pleasures

May 15, 2017

The story I am about to relate is true, though it is filled with assumption and speculation about facts which may or may not be accurate, let alone any of my business. But I tell the story because the vision I saw moved me and made me smile.

TruDee and I were eating at a local establishment recently and enjoying conversation and the atmosphere. I noticed a woman, perhaps about my age, wheeling an elderly gentleman in a wheel chair through the front doors. The host helped direct them to a table where another joined the two. My assumption was; an elderly man and his daughter, perhaps granddaughter, and his wife, or another daughter. It appeared in addition to his obvious different ability regarding the wheel chair, that he had perhaps had a stroke. His expressionless face held steady and his left arm bent in a right angle at his elbow with its hand clenched in a gentle fist as she navigated him up to the table.

I did not notice much after that and resumed my conversation with TruDee as we waited on our order. Our server brought our dinner and we began to eat. Out of the corner of my eye I caught movement once again of the three gathered at the table. The two women were conversing and laughing and the elderly gentleman for all intents and purposes appeared engaged in listening. And then he did, what I deemed to be, a curious thing.

beerWith his right hand, he reached to the table and picked up a glass, it was filled to the rim with beer. Very deliberately and gently he brought the glass to his lips, took a sip, and smiled. He continued the ritual, and with each deliberate and gentle action and sip of his beverage, he smiled. As we were leaving I took note once again, and just as I stood from our table he finished his beer, held the glass a few inches from his face, seemed to peer into its depths, and…smiled, as did I.
The vision this night moved me. This man, obviously in diminished ability, sat in the company of family, immersed in the moment, and savored the simple things of life. I sent my boys a text shortly after that and told them, “When I am old, in a wheel chair, perhaps unable to communicate or converse, please take me out and have a beer with me.” Let me relish in your company and enjoy a simple pleasure.

In this culture and environment, not only in society but even in the church, when things can seem to be so difficult, so opposed to justice, compassion, and grace, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Find a gathering of family, of community, of friends, and immerse yourself in the moment and savor the simple gifts of life and faith. Take time to immerse yourself in grace, in compassion, in soul food, in love. Jesus knew the importance of such self-care. That self-care is what fueled his passion and compassion for social justice of his day.

Give a son, a daughter, a brother or sister, a mom or dad, a friend a call this week and be together. It is one of the many ways we find the Way Forward in this journey of life and faith. Until next time, know you are loved, you are not alone, …ever.

Peace and Light for Our Journey,

Pastor Kent