BLOGWORDS – 27 February 2017 – NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – JANE LEBAK
NEW WEEK NEW FACE – GUEST POST – JANE LEBAK
Back in 2009, while digging us out from two inches of snow that had somehow turned into a foot, my Patient Husband heard a crack. He looked up to see a pheasant fall to the ground at our garage doors. It had flown straight into the side of our house.
Note to pheasants: the house is bigger than you. It will not care that you are coming, and it will not get out of the way.
Note to readers: pheasants are stupid. There’s no way to gloss that fact.
It landed about two feet away from my Patient Husband and his snow blower, but it didn’t move. Eventually he turned off the machine and chased it away. It half-wobbled, half-flew to a cluster of trees in front of the house, near the road.
When he told me, I said, “It’s concussed?” He thought so.
And my first thought was, if it’s dead (because birds have light bones, and that kind of impact might have broken several) maybe I should go get it.
I mean, that’s what Ma Ingalls would have done, right? She’d have gone out, cleaned and dressed the bird, and everyone would have dined on Providence-Delivered Pheasant, the best take-out meal. God gave Moses quail in the desert, and our family would have received a pheasant.
I procrastinated. Even though I live in the Swamp nowadays, I’m a city girl, and the idea of eating something that wasn’t shrink-wrapped and slapped with a sell-by date…well, that’s just weird.
I still had no idea what to do an hour later when I looked out the window to discover a pheasant poking around in the trees at the front of the house. I didn’t need to go retrieve the pheasant carcass because the pheasant was still using it! This made my decision a lot easier. Or at least, it made my cowardice a lot less noticeable.
(Okay, everyone, go ahead and make the pun you’re dying to, about how I chickened out. Do it. You’ll feel better. Really. See now? Isn’t that better.)
I feel a kind of kinship with that pheasant. I imagine my soul, cruising along, and God’s saying, “That big thing, the thing in front of you? Avoid that? Like, turn…? Avoid it? Because it’s a house and you’ve got hollow bones…?” and then WHAM! I slam right in to whatever sin I should have been avoiding and which would have been reasonably easy to avoid had I been paying attention. Spiritually speaking, I’m just not that smart.
But we’re made stupid by our own sins, and we’re surrounded by a sin-filled world. Jesus redeemed us, but the devil is still wandering around like a lion, a predator who would love to devour things that are small and stupid, things that are broken and didn’t come shrink-wrapped from the meat counter.
The writer Mark Shea is fond of saying, “Sin makes you stupid.” Therefore I would suggest it’s reasonable to pray, “Help me, God! I’m stupid.” He puts up with a lot from us, so He already knows.
But we aren’t done yet with the pheasant. The next morning, coming back from the school bus stop, I passed the same stand of trees and found the pheasant still there, and only about six feet from me!
And then I realized it was sitting in a pile of feathers. Oh dear, I though. It must be sick and it’s shedding.
And then I realized that wasn’t a pheasant. Oh dear, I thought. It’s a hawk.
And then I realized it wasn’t sitting in a pile of hawk feathers.
Oh dear, I thought.
It was a beautiful hawk. And, I would add, smarter than the pheasant. For, you see, hawks do not dither about wondering whether the pheasant has parasites or a sell-by date or was raised on organic corn. They’re entirely pragmatic. And pheasants are tasty.
And from this, I also derived a very important lesson: the world is a dangerous place when you are both stupid and tasty.
For years afterward, whenever I felt I was under spiritual attack, I would pray, “God, please help me. I’m stupid and tasty.” rem: too hilarious and oh-so-universal!
Live and learn. Or, don’t do either. I guess. Sometimes God gives those of us who are especially stupid a hands-on demonstration via Nature’s School.
Jane Lebak talks to angels, cats, and her kids. Only the angels listen to her, but the kids talk back. She lives in the Swamp, writing books and knitting socks, with the occasional foray into violin-playing. You’ll also find her blogging at QueryTracker.net, a resource for writers seeking agents and small publishers. Enjoy!