it’s the first day of school, or it’s a team-building exercise at work, or it’s some cheesy church function, and it’s time to get to know one another. and the slip of paper before you asks:
if you were an animal, what animal would you be?
[i’ll give you a second to think about it…]
ok, now. show of hands: how many of you chose SHEEP?
not me, you’re thinking. smelly, bleating sheep – that’s baaaaad. (sorry – couldn’t resist).
but guess what? you’re a sheep. a baby one, at that.
you – the tough guy in the Harley Davidson tee and the faux-hawk hairstyle
– you’re a sheep.
and you — the primped lady with the perfect highlights
and the shoes that cost a car payment?
better buy a second pair – you’re a four-legged, wooly, lamb.
and me, too.
and we ought to drop to our knees in gratitude … for our sheepdom is nothing short of a miracle.
there are days when i roar like a lion – when the dishes get done and the bills get paid and the world runs exactly as i have commanded it to. and these days are dangerous … because they lie. they leave me thinking that i’m standing on my own two feet … when, really, i have four. hooves.
and so, typically, only on the days when the bills are piling up and the dishes are piling up and the snow is piling up and i feel lonely and powerless and scared – only then, can i see truth.
for the truth of my sheepdom guarantees me the protection of a tend-er. did you catch that? a tender.
and he is there with me then, my Jesus. he invites me into his lap. he pries open my fingers and gently removes the anxieties that i clutch, the grief that i carry so heavy. he strokes my hair. he calls me by name. his sheep. most fortunate of creatures.
i am woman, hear me baaaa.
“He will tend his flock
like a shepherd;
he will gather the lambs
in his arms;
he will carry them
in his bosom,
and gently lead
those that are with young.”