So my delightful, darling (spoiled) geese have resorted to chasing old ladies down the street! It happened early this morning while I was in my office attempting to polish a few essays before the distractions of the day took over. Instead of writing, I was (painfully) running up and down the gravel driveway in my bare feet, retrieving the naughty puppy who kept practicing her Houdini act and escaping the yard. I enlisted all the tricks of discipline (she gave multiple opportunities so I could try every one) and with each scolding, her sweet little honey-bear face would convince me we had an understanding. Her understanding usually lasted long enough for me to trek back up the hill, sit down at the computer and look out the window in time to catch her disappearing through the fence again. I finally gave up trying to write and donned my muck boots in order to be close enough to catch her and hopefully accomplish some training. I sure wasn’t accomplishing anything else.
Suddenly, I heard my feather brained babies honking like mad as they raced down the driveway and took flight over the gate! They require quite a runway distance to get airborne and had never flown that high before. While taking in the scene, I noticed three older neighbor ladies walking by, as they do most mornings. Without warning, my crazy adolescent geese began madly chasing and squawking at them! Bright red embarrassed, I apologetically retrieved the geese, but the ladies acted like I didn’t exist. As usual. In the five months we have lived here they only paused once, and that was to make unkind comments about my house (apparently I have too many windows) and briskly invite me to church (my excessive windows must be so dirty we look like heathens). Since that not-so-nice conversation, they have never acknowledged me again. Still feeling the sting of this insulting interchange, I found myself rather pleased with my naughty birds as I herded them back up the driveway and pretended to scold them:)
That surprising scene looped in my brain all day long, and I’m a bit ashamed to admit that every single replay made me smile. Maybe they were right. Maybe I am a heathen.
I had all intentions of ending this story right here at its humorous conclusion, but it continues to nag at me. I keep reliving the shock of watching my geese fly over the fence in order to bite the back sides of my bad mannered neighbors- as if they somehow knew I had been offended. (I brought the geese to our farm because they are known to be good guardians for the chickens. Never did I dream they would guard my pride!) In Matthew 15:18 Jesus says, “But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these things defile a man.” I see an interesting parallel between harmful words that spill out of my mouth and the surprise goose attack. Offense, anger, fear, jealousy- if left unchecked, these emotions can bloom into systemic infections, overcome the heart and spill out of my mouth. I can keep making my gate taller, but sooner or later those geese will grow strong enough to escape. The real solution is to clip their wings, just as the solution to hurtful speech is a “clipping” or cleaning out of the heart. Honestly dealing with the sin and/or hurt in my heart frees me; keeping it stuffed back (by building bigger fences) is much more work and leaves me vulnerable to a surprise attack. I don’t know about you, but I would rather not experience goose bites in my behind.