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Thursday, July 14, 2011


Our New Tasteful Green Fence
A blood curdling scream broke forcibly into my lost thoughts, as I was sitting in my art studio dabbling with color on a canvas. It was one of those “lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer,” when everything is moving deliciously in slow motion. I was jolted out of my state of self induced limbo, and brought consciously back into the present reality of a world full of misfortune and difficulties.
It was the cry of a young child, either hurt or bitten but definitely dying. I waited for an eternity of two seconds to hear if there was any sound of Noline rushing like a 911 call to the scene. Nothing! Again, another anguished outburst rang up to the second floor rafters of the art studio. It was that unmistakable shriek; like the realization you’ve slipped and fallen off a cliff and are freefalling swiftly into the canyon below. I thrust back my director’s armchair from canvas and easel and hurtled my 58 year old frame down the stairs. I found new abilities I thought were long gone. I was contorting to the distinctive twists and turns of the staircase as I sped to the aid of the distressed. Our German Shepherd, who had been asleep in the coatroom, was sitting up wild eyed having been alerted by the high pitched yell. Whew! At least he is not the culprit or the source of the problem. He becomes easily excited when the grandkids come down to play and he does not always realize how big he is. He has a tendency to rough house the little ones while intuitively herding them.

There it was again, a definite death squeal! They were coming now in greater rapidity. Every bit of adrenalin within me forced my thinking into a fight or flight mode; I swung open the back door and literally dove to the source of the cry, all the time expecting to find the worst. As I took my first glance around the corner of the house, I was immediately confronted by our youngest grandchild, gripped in a panicked fear. He was clinging on for dear life, clutching white knuckled to the top of the gate, while his small body dangled limp underneath.

Taking Our Dog Buster For A Swim In The River

The gated and fenced yard is relatively new. We were obliged to put up the fence or place our dog on a chain. Since Psalm 36 says, God takes care of both people and animals; I had no heart to restrict him to a two meter chain. Our neighbors seed beds of summer vegetables were springing up everywhere with vibrant life, and our dog was not being very neighborly about them. His adventurous spirit took him across grass and garden alike, without concern for the tender and delicate shoots. My choice, much to everyone’s delight, was the tastefully green wire mesh fence. (See the top photo of our back yard.) It is two meters high as are the gates. It was the perfect but costly solution. Unfortunately, for the little gradkids, we have to keep the gates keyed because ‘Buster,’ has learned how to depress the handle and open them. Why didn’t anyone tell us just how smart German Shepherds are?

Noah, our grandson, decided to climb up the locked gate, instead of waiting and doing his usual calling for grandma to come and unlock it for him. His four year old sentence goes something like this. “This is Noah grandma, at the gate.” His baby pitched voice penetrates any and all household gadgets, which might be ‘whirring,’ ‘buzzing,’ or ‘whining.’ Since the gate is directly under the kitchen window, grandma responds immediately to his requests with; “Grandma, is coming Nobie (that’s his nickname).” Having reached the top with his tiny hands gripping the bar he had nowhere to dig in his shoes. He was hanging down with arms totally out stretched and his feet clawing to find some kind of a foothold. With a fountain of tears cascading down his face, he now bemoaned this unfortunate fate.

At The War Memorial
  Noah’s inquisitive mind must have painted a picture of scaling the gate like some well trained and disciplined soldier. Probably no one will ever know exactly what he was actually contemplating, not even himself. But his adventure sure had gotten him into this perceived and precarious life threatening predicament. With death knocking at his door, he did what every child is adept in doing. He screamed!

A Happier Noah!
 Children are well skilled from birth and by natural instinct to let their needs be known by “Screaming.” I remember when Noline and I brought home our first child from the hospital; we would hover over Deborah’s crib with bated breath, making sure we could see her tiny chest moving up and down as her lungs filled and exhaled with air. We noted and listened to every little whimper, squeak or grunt. And we, as proud and dutiful new parents, doted on her every whim and desire. She soon learned that with every half hearted moan, she was immediately picked up and cuddled until she fell asleep again. She had us well trained and when we did not respond quick enough she screamed. However, with our second daughter, Heather, we were much more discerning. It had to be the definite cry of “OK! I’m starving parents, how about feeding me!” And then by the time we had our third child, a son, we were at the point with Deryk where it had to be a near death experience before we moved from a deep sleep to attend to him.

Within a nano second of my keen observation, I had assessed the right response to this critical situation. I simultaneously reached for the key with one hand and turned the lock; my other hand was immediately on the handle, and with lightening speed I gently swung open the gate. On a different occasion, Noah might have enjoyed the ride. My words were loud enough to override the noise of his crying, but soft and reassuring for him to know, he was in good hands. “Papa’s got you Nobie,” I said, as I reached out and undergirded him and lifted his minute weight off the strain on his hands. Instantly, after being relieved of the gravitational pull downwards and feeling the strength of Papa lifting him up, his yells turned into gentle sobs. I then enjoyed what all grand parents live for. He instinctively put his arms around my neck and rested his head on my shoulder. I loved every minute of being Superman to him.

But it was at that same moment, I could not suppress my smile and internal giggle. You see, Noah imagined a demise of falling into a deep canyon hundreds of feet below, when in actuality he was only 5 inches away from the ground.

It was then the Lord spoke to my heart. He said, “This is just like my people. They scream blue murder, fearing they are going to die, when from heaven’s perspective they are just like Noah, just five inches from the ground. They look at their circumstances from a human point of view and see nothing but problems. The truth of the matter is that my people don’t trust me.” Wow! I felt personally convicted. Only God can talk about His children and you get convicted. I repented for all the times I have bawled like a baby, only to find out He had the answer all the time. He told me to learn from this experience. God said He comes to our rescue (Jeremiah 33:3) all the time at the instant of our cries. But more than His immediate attendance to us and our so called pressing circumstances, is that He gives us the constant assurance that nothing will ever separate us from the love of God. Every incident in life, including physically dying, is just 5 inches from the ground as far as He is concerned, and heaven is the reward for our believing. Life and resurrection power are always available to us in Christ, and that is throughout our life time. His word to me was to trust God in everything. Trust him. Period!

The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms (Deut 33:27 KJV).   

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