Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Message of the Hedgehog

A friend wrote and asked if Asherel wanted a hedgehog. Her cousin had a hedgehog that she needed to get rid of.
"Well yes," I told her, "But then Asherel goes to college and *I* have a hedgehog. And I don't want a hedgehog."
She sent me the picture of the hedgehog, and suddenly I wanted a hedgehog. I looked on the internet about hedgehog care. They are really pretty care-free, and are friendly. They also look like a big ball of prickles with a soft fuzzy face and gentle eyes.

My son Matt's bunny had died recently, and he told me that they missed it, but felt angora bunnies were too fragile, and it would be best not to get another. They wanted a pet, but they needed a "hardy" pet, that would require little care. From what I could tell, hedgehogs are quite hardy.
So I wrote to Matt, "Do you want a hedgehog?"
He wrote back instantly, "Karissa and I were just talking about getting a hedgehog last night. We might want the hedgehog."
How often do newly married couples discuss the need for a hedgehog in their lives? And how often am I offered a free hedgehog? If that isn't serendipity, I don't know what is!

Some people call such an event "coincidence". I don't believe in coincidence. I believe that everything happens for a reason and our job is to discern the messages that God is constantly transmitting. Why might God be sending us a hedgehog? I think the message of the hedgehog is to help us understand each other and perhaps even God. A hedgehog has a fierce, even dangerous looking exterior. The quills are actually not as sharp or dangerous as they look, but they can be off-putting to a predator. If a hedgehog feels threatened, he rolls into a prickly ball, and few predators will mess with him. But in reality, he is a placid and quiet creature, with a soft belly and furry face. He prefers to be alone, but he likes to be held. As soon as he relaxes, he unfurls, his quills sit peacefully still and he will explore his human friend's hands.

I am often a hedgehog. When I feel threatened or attacked or misunderstood, I roll into a symbolic ball with my quills sticking out like knives. I think many of us do. And underneath that terrifying display, we are really just vulnerable, lonely creatures that will peacefully unfurl to expose our true nature when we feel safe. It might be useful to look at prickly characters as hedgehogs, and consider what it is in our relationship that makes them feel unsafe.

God has certain hedgehog like qualities Himself. He certainly has the power to be quite ferocious, and even dangerous. But inexplicably, He lets us see the tender, loving, gentle side of Him, and we are safe in His presence.

I hope to go visit the hedgehog tomorrow. Matt and Karissa may or may not decide they can work a hedgehog into their overbusy law school/new lawyer lives, but I think I can work in a visit to hold one. I want to see if she will feel safe in my hands.

Psalm 138:6-8 (NIV)
Though the Lord is exalted, he looks kindly on the lowly; though lofty, he sees them from afar. [7] Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me. [8] The Lord will vindicate me; your love, Lord, endures forever---do not abandon the works of your hands.

Psalm 27:4-5 (NIV)
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple. [5] For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.

-save a dog-


  1. Thank you, Vicky! Katelyn adores hedgehogs. I am going to share your blog with her. She is up to her neck in papers and finals this week along with her wedding one week from today. I think she will truly enjoy reading this. You writing blesses me! Therefore, YOU bless me! Love you, friend!

  2. My friend always handled hers with oven mitts on....