Sunday, February 21, 2016

How the Geese Touched My Heart

It was one of those winter days in the U.P. that was rather ordinary, as winter goes.  Cold, but not bitter; a bit on the gray side; not much snow but a forecast of a coming storm was hitting the news cycle.  The bay coming in from Lake Michigan was frozen….enough that there were ice shanties and vehicles out there.

That Tuesday was my weekly women’s Bible study and afterwards, I looked forward to a friend joining my husband and myself for lunch in our home.  (We had some delicious homemade tomato soup simmering, and Charlie put together grilled cheese sandwiches.)  All in all, a lovely way to spend a winter day.

Charlie had gone out for a walk around our area and he asked if later, I would head down to the harbor with him.  He had something he really wanted me to see.  Jokingly I responded it must not be a sailboat since the boats were in storage for the winter. (He once owned a sailboat and I sometimes wonder if that “bug” might hit him again.)  I was intrigued but definitely game for whatever it was.

After lunch we got in the car and headed to the harbor. (Could have walked but that would have required bundling up.)  Charlie parked the car close to the water; as we got out of the car he pointed me to something moving.  We got closer and I could see it was two geese.  The closer we got to them, the more they moved out onto the frozen ice, obviously keeping their distance from us. 

There was a chilly breeze blowing and I hugged my winter vest, attempting to capture a bit more body heat.  At that time, we were the only people moving about with just those silent fishing shanties looking desolate out on the ice.

As I looked at those geese, it finally dawned on me that they were not supposed to be there.  Geese fly in those lovely V formations at the end of the summer/ early fall, energetically announcing their departure, as they fly south.  There was something amiss here. 

My husband suggested I take a good look at one of the geese and, sure enough, it had what appeared to be a broken wing.  Oh sadness….  Then I realized why they were there and why they kept waddling without taking wing.  ONE OF THOSE BIRDS WAS UNABLE TO FLY!

Did you know that geese are monogamous and stay with each other until one dies?  Also, when something happens to a goose that forces him/her to drop out of formation, always the other goose goes with the “disabled” one.

My first thought was, those geese are never going to survive the winter. They would encounter predators, food shortages and severe weather issues. As we were leaving we saw a woman, obviously aware of those two misplaced geese, dump a bag of food for them and walk away.

I felt so helpless; but even if I could somehow make it all better, my husband reminded me that it would be difficult to get close to them.  Their ability to walk allowed them to move farther and farther out on the ice (there is a limit for me when it comes to walking on that ice!).

While I was feeling so sad for Mr. and Mrs. Goose, my husband reminded me of something beautiful in that scene….the commitment we can observe even among the animals/birds. 

God gave us a beautiful picture of what marriage should be as we watched the geese hang together.  Their commitment involved leaving the gaggle behind, protection of the wounded one and a willingness to enter unknown territory.  It may even result in the “protector” losing his/her life along with “Mr. or Mrs. Goose.”  Wow.  Who knew this day would offer so much?

I love how my husband saw all of that on his walk. Better yet, I love that he wanted to share the experience with me.

This picture is still incomplete, however. To take this to the ultimate place, I believe we see the heart of our Father, God.  There are no limits to His protection, commitment and love for us.  He gave us life in the first place, set us on this beautiful earth, provided for our care…and when we messed up, He sent His Son to provide cover for us. 

When we are injured, He brings healing…either in this life, or the ultimate healing when we go to live in Heaven.  He walks with us through all of life’s “wintery places” and goes with us into the unknown.  Psalm 23 says, “even though I walk through the valley of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.”

I am thankful to Charlie for sharing “Mr. and Mrs. Goose” with me.  I am thankful that God continues to reveal Himself through His creation, if only I stay tuned in.  May God bless YOU with a peek at His heart today…and every day, as He reveals Himself through the ordinary moments of life.

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