Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The deer in the yard reminded me......

One of the advantages of waking up many times during the night is the joy of seeing unexpected critters in the yard.  Last night I was up about 3 times between 10 pm and 3 am, when I was up to stay. All three times, I looked out the living room window to see deer in the backyard about 15 feet from the window. This picture was taken a bit earlier in the evening but pretty accurately describes the scene throughout the night…..one of the perks of living in this cold, north woods.
I’ve been putting out extra food for the animals because these harsh conditions are hard on them as well. I counted eight deer when this picture was taken, and there may have been more lurking in the darkness. It’s not unusual to see more than that at a time during the winter months.  No matter how many times I see deer, I still marvel at their beauty and feel the same excitement as I did the first time.
I stood there and watched them for a while and I wondered what I could “learn” from their presence; for me, there’s almost always a ‘lesson” and God speaks to me in all sorts of ways.  While watching them, I wondered how they were able to endure this brutally cold weather. After all, the wind chill was about 35 below zero.  I wondered how they were able to maneuver through the deep snow. I wondered how they were able to find food when everything was frozen. I wondered if they “worried” about survival or “had a back-up plan” or just wanted “give up on life.” (Of course, not; they don’t have a human mind, nor do they share my thought process, but they must have some sort of thinking that goes on.) But yet….here they were….eight or more of them….feeding outside my window.   What was it, I wondered that helped them survive?
The first thing that came to my mind was that they were “not alone” but had herded up.  Certainly, it was easier to find food when they were all seeking it. Certainly, it was warmer when they huddled together and allowed the body heat to be shared. Certainly, it was safer for them when they were looking out for each other; one of more deer typically faces the woods and is on “look-out” for threats.  Certainly, it was easier to move around the yard when their constant traffic had flattened down the deep snow into a flatter surface with paths to walk on. Certainly, it must be more “fun” to have other deer around; I’ve watched the fawns play together in the yard multiple times. I know that animals don’t have the mindset of a human, but certainly there must be some comfort in knowing that they were not alone in their efforts to survive and endure the elements. I’ve watched a doe snuggle her fawn on many occasions and other deer laying together on the ground. Even though having ‘more of them” meant less food and resources for each of them, certainly there must be advantages to working, being, and living together.   Hmmm……. I pondered.  Was God trying to tell me something?  Certainly!
I went back to bed and pondered my life and my journey to become a healthier, better person.  I thought about all the blessing of having others to share in my life. I thought about my friends and family; I thought about all of you.  How blessed we are to have people in our life to journey with us, to help us through those ‘harsh and difficult” times! It definitely makes it easier to deal with the tough days when we have others to support us. It definitely makes it easier to solve problems with we “put our heads together”, “share our resources/wisdom/advice/encouragement”, and offer support to each other. It definitely helps to know that we are not alone on our journey through life and others face the same temptations, struggles, and trials. It definitely is more fun and a lot less lonely, to have “all of you” as part of my “herd.”  I am indeed blessed!
I have faith that those deer will survive the winter and make it through the next few months, but it will be easier if I and others continue to provide food for them.  Likewise, I have faith that I….and YOU….WE will survive and be successful on our own journeys, but it will be easier if we continue to support and encourage each other, and draw on the wisdom within the group.  The deer very likely will survive…..and we will too!  Don’t give up on your efforts, even if you are struggling.   Don’t just ‘lay down in the snow” because it is too hard.  Don’t turn and run because you are afraid that you will fail or are experiencing doubt. Don’t abandon the herd; we all need each other!  WE can…and we will make it… I know it!   Have a great day today and look around you for all the lessons that are waiting for you to learn.