When I first saw him through the family room window he was feeding at the deer feeder in the back yard. He looked normal enough, a big buck, with a full rack of antlers, standing stately and proud. But then, as he stepped away from the feeder and turned to move down the hill it appeared that he had stumbled. I watched intently as he lifted himself back up and I realized it was not a stumble but a severe limp. This big boy had apparently lost over half of his left foreleg in some type of unfortunate incident, perhaps a trap or another animal had caused it. He moved slowly but steadily, regained his balance and moved on down the hill. That was over a year ago and I’ve often wondered what happened to him.
When I was walking through the house today, I glanced out the window and saw him again. This time he was trying to bend down to drink from the fish pond. He was bent over, awkwardly, and I waved at him through the window. Then I thought, is that a silly thing to do, waving at a deer?? But at least I had his attention. I so wanted to communicate with him, tell him how thrilled I was to see him, to find that he was alive and well, how much I loved his presence, the beautiful image he made up against the trees in the woods behind my house. But, instead of letting well enough alone, I quietly slipped out onto the back deck were he could see me plainly thinking that I could better communicate with him. But, alas, it frightened him and he gracefully fled down the hill with no apparent loss of agility due to the shortened leg.
I think I learned a lesson this afternoon. I had so wanted to be part of his world, to let him know that we were feeding him and the eight or nine doe that are usually close by because we welcomed them, and to indicate forgiveness that they had managed to knock over a couple of rows of corn stalks so they could lie comfortably while eating my sweet corn last summer!!! Actually, we see them constantly in the backyard, in the garden in the summer or at the feeder, maybe eating apples from the trees in the fall or acorns or the crimson clover that we planted for them in the winter. But due to my overzealous approach, I frightened him off.
It made me wonder why I couldn’t just enjoy him through the window. I certainly had no intent of frightening him, but wanted to share a lovely crisp winter afternoon with him, just watching and admiring him. Then I wondered how many people I may have turned away over the years due to an overzealous attempt to be friendly or to share things that I hold to be important, but awkwardly like a "bull in a china shop"!! I started thinking that it is high time for me to approach life more gently, to appreciate things where they are, and as they are and not be so forward, so intent on forcing a relationship, so overzealous in sharing the things I have learned about life, God’s love and the sustaining power of spirit.
Maybe, after so many years of trying to be “In Control” of things, I am finally learning to follow to some degree the counsel offered in the Book of Proverbs in the Bible: “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”
When we are listening to the spiritual intuitions that come to us as divine ideas, we learn to move as God directs, not too soon, not too aggressively, but patiently, lovingly, intelligently. I all of a sudden thought about Jesus, a man who had so very much to share, so much love to give, such a compassionate and loving heart. When he was sharing, he did travel to different locations but usually he went to a place and people came to him when they were ready. He didn't wave at them, run after them, tackle them and hold them down to share his thoughts!!! OK, waving may be okay.
As God, who is Life, unfolds the petals of a rose at just the right time, in just the right place, even amidst the thorns, his “angel whisperings” lead us to do the right thing, the loving thing, the intelligent thing, when and as we should.
I am hoping that beautiful old Buck will forgive me for my exuberance and give me another opportunity to love him from a distance, and to enjoy that deep love of life which is proof of God’s presence.