Thursday, July 12, 2012

Follow the Goose

My parent's love to go to Otseningo Park along the Chenango river and feed the geese. Dad, in his inimitable way, whistles for them like they are dogs as they graze on a distant shore. They completely ignore him, and we all shake our heads. It was our last day here visiting. Dad insisted he wanted to buy me a hard body kayak, because I think he worries my inflatable one will pop and I will be left drifting down the river forever clinging to a passing log. He said it was to be my Christmas gift. I relented because it was a stupendous sale on the very kayak I had been eyeing for the past year. I think it gives Dad more joy to give me things than I get receiving them. The best part is it just a little thing, so it fits inside the van. No more ripping out my arms lifting kayaks to the van roof! But the sports store was near the geese lake, so we decided to all head to the lake and feed the geese after procuring the little kayak.

We went to my folks favorite bench, Dad following us waving the bag of crackers in the air and whistling. The geese ignored him. The guard goose looked at Dad, saw he may be crazy but was no immediate danger and continued scanning for predators. We sat at the bench awhile. Dad tossed crackers about hoping the geese would notice but they were too far away. My broken toe was hurting, but I finally said I would go entice the geese. I took a stack of crackers and hobbled to the distant geese. When I arrived at their vicinity, I tossed them a cracker. A few scurried away but one gobbled the cracker. His compatriots stormed him for crumbs. I moved closer to Mom and Dad's bench, and dropped another piece. The geese swarmed over the cracker. Now I had an attentive audience. I back stepped towards my folks tossing cracker bits, slowly drawing the geese behind me. I felt like St. Patrick leading the snakes out of Ireland, but in this case, it was leading geese to my father.

Soon all of us were surrounded by hungry geese. They ate out of our hands, and allowed us to pet them. Asherel made special friends with one and asked if we could bring it home. After finishing their feast, the geese grazed around us for a while, one mistook Mom's toe for a cracker, and then they headed back to the water. It had been a delightful interlude.

I thought of how sometimes we flock to the Father, and sometimes we must be led step by step. Sometimes, even though a feast we cannot begin to imagine awaits us, we dare not approach. We are suspicious, and fearful, disbelieving the Goodness of the One who holds all the crackers. We mill about grubbing in the dirt, while gentle hands long to reach out and offer us manna from heaven, and touch us with love and delight.

I think as the geese waddled away, not one of them grumbled to their guide for leading them to my father. In fact, in goose language, they seemed all to be saying, "Why did we wait so long?"

Numbers 14:24 (NIV)
But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it.

Joshua 14:8-9 (NIV)
but my fellow Israelites who went up with me made the hearts of the people melt in fear. I, however, followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly. [9] So on that day Moses swore to me, ‘The land on which your feet have walked will be your inheritance and that of your children forever, because you have followed the Lord my God wholeheartedly.’

Matthew 19:21,25-30 (NIV)
Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” [25] When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?” [26] Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” [27] Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” [28] Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [29] And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. [30] But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.

-save a dog-

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