Wednesday, October 31, 2007

A Bad Day. . .

Last night I took a fellow home from church to his house way out in the country between Shipshewana and Middlebury. As I pulled out onto State Road 120 from the little dirt road that this fellow lives on, just a little ways ahead I saw a van on the side of the road with its emergency flashers on and a man doing something in the weeds by the side of the road.

I got out to see if he was having trouble and if I could assist in any way. He was cradling a young buck deer in his arms. His arms were around the little guy, trying to support the little deer, trying to keep it from falling over. I assumed that he had hit the deer with his van. I asked if he wanted me to call someone to come tend to the deer and he replied 'Yes, that would be appreciated.'

I called 911 on my cell phone and talked to the Lagrange County Sheriff's department and they said they would send someone out. I went back to the man and the small deer. He was searching for an injury on the animal. There was no obvious blood or broken bones.

This man maybe in his late thirties or early forties, with a blue knit hat covering his head and a beard from sideburns to chin covering the lower portion of his kindly face, was gently stroking and tenderly talking to this little deer in the weeds. He said that as he had come up upon the little fellow a larger buck with a impressive rack had run off and he noticed the little one here disabled in the tall grass.

We looked and probed the little deer and could feel no broken ribs or saw no other indication of injury outside of a fresh small bloody wound, maybe the size of a quarter just behind and below the little spike bucks left ear.

It is impossible to say for certain what happened, but being in the midst of rut season, the little one probably got too close to a female (maybe even his own mother) that the much larger and powerfully mature buck was interested in. . . its only speculation, but it appears that a fight ensued and the little buck was mortally wounded by a chance blow to a vulnerable area. . .

The little buck was not recovering at all. We both hoped against hope that he would shake off whatever fog he was in and come around, but that did not occur. I took out my oil and anointed the little guy. I send up a prayer for him to God. I don't know if my anonymous companion in the weeds along the side of the dark road joined me. God's word says that He cares greatly for sparrows. . . I don't believe that excludes little buck deer in the last moments of their life. I don't know what he thought. I wasn't really concerned with that. . .

Of all life. . . the first and the last moments are by far the most dramatic. We all have questions. I have faith. I love my God and I really do believe that death is a doorway to something much better than I've ever known. . . but. . . but. . .but. . . notwithstanding all that. . . that day that looms ahead with so many questions. . . with so much fear. . .

A number of years ago, I was walking in a very large woods and it struck me (this was before I knew God) as I reached the crest of a hill and looked out, that every one of the trees that I was looking at, for as far as I could see into the dwindlingly distant green horizon, would one day die and fall. . . For as permanent and as solid as a tree seems each one has a life with a beginning and an end. . .

How so very much as certain for us. Our life here on this earth has a starting point and an end point. Look around you. . . drive down the street. . . go to the mall. . . look at a huge crowd at a sporting event. . . it holds true for everyone. . . for all of us. We will all have a day where our prayer or our loved one's prayer for us is not going to be answered in the way we would wish. . .

For some reason, I don't know why, but I have trouble comprehending that. Maybe I don't want to understand. . . But the fascination is there, the wanting to understand is desperately there. I look at the little buck. I wonder. . . I want to know. . . I can only assume this, but in all likelihood he started out this morning, as just another day. He was young, energetic, apparently in good health. . . circumstances crossed his path and what started as just another day turned into something very different. . .

The questions. . . what thoughts go through your mind as you close your eyes for the last time? What memories will I have of this life? Who greets you on the other side? One day through storm, or fire, or just termites and old age the tree that is me will surely fall. . .

Dear God please send someone to caress me and hold me. . . hug me and give me comfort as I lay in the weeds on the side of the road. . .

I love you Lord. . .

Dave

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