Archives, Biography, Orlando, Pondering

Those Little Beasties (A Theology of Ticks)

Samwise at the beach

My rescue puppy, Samwise, is now a year old. His coat has grown into something between a Poodle and a Maltese-very thick and curly. His personality is marked by much creative mischief and an insatiable desire to roll on his back in our backyard.

I can deal with the missing slipper and the occasional unbidden romps to visit the neighbor’s golden retrievers. But the rolling near the marshland in back has got to stop. I returned from my anniversary trip last week to discover that Sam was not only living in a community, but that his little, thickly furred body had a community living on him!

I discovered the first tick at 12:30 am one night, and worked on removing inhabitants until 2:00. The next day my mom and I became a team and worked on bringing Sam back to his solitary existence by the end of the day. The process was rather grueling. A week later, I still have funny little bruises and scratches all over me, reminders of moments where Sam was particularly unhappy with my ministrations.

I love this animal with all the passion of a smitten dog owner. So when I realized how uncomfortable my little dog had become, I forgot all about sleep, and started in on a painstaking project that my rather squeamish sensibilities would never have envisioned attacking. (Wyatt was in Chicago. I was out of options.)

Even in the misery of the moment, I found myself pondering the extent to which love goes to rescue the beloved. No thought of the time or discomfort involved-all that matters is that the object of affection is freed from his tiny enemies. Although Samwise fights me with all the strength in his little body, hold on. Anything less would betray my love and his need.

I am having my own rather “ticky” season. My soul keeps picking up parasitic old memories and annoying new fears. I don’t know where and how I rolled into them but they suck the life right outof me and, fight as I may, I have no success in permanently removing them myself.

How often does the Holy Spirit painstakingly do Christ’s work in me as I struggle against him? He holds on when I don’t understand his intentions and want to escape. He keeps removing resentment and fear, bitterness and that oh-so-insidious self-righteousness from my soul. Christ has a firm grasp on me, and he won’t let go until my soul is restored to its right mind, and I again can taste clarity and freedom.

I watch Samwise with extra vigilance these days, keeping short accounts with those tiny beasties that want to feed upon him. He doesn’t like it, but in the end, he yields—and his deep little eyes even bear a bit of “thank you” in the end. So do mine.

Lord, I know that you keep the most intentional vigil against the enemies of my soul. Deliver me from them, Lord. Show me how to stop fighting you as you continually restore life to me. Help me be quick to see that which drains life from me, and thank you for the reminder that you do not care for me reluctantly, but with passionate love. May not one spiritual parasite drain out the life that you pour in and through me this week. AMEN

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