You never know who might be looking up to you
As a youth I never thought of this question – Who might be looking up to me?
I probably never gave it any thought. But I looked up to my older brother, not only because he was taller, but because of what he was already accomplishing. But for the most part I looked up to adults like my dad and others in the community who had an influence in my life. Then there were the others. Professional athletes and professionals, those in the news.
But I never thought that there might have been younger kids or others in our class, looking up to me. Possibly that is because I grew up in a larger community and multiple schools.
But with our smaller schools, youth may certainly be looking up to our young men and women in high school. When they see or hear about them doing something they may think it is cool, while in all reality it may not be.
There is tremendous pressure on youth today. Stay away from drugs. Get good grades. Be the top in your sport. Do this, don’t do that... I am sure there are some kids in school right now who might be saying yep.
As parents we do want to see our kids excel and be the best they can while staying on the right side of the law. But being young, mistakes do happen. It hurts. Our youth need to be reminded that actions do have consequences and one of those we might not think about is how it affects younger students who may have or continue to look up to that person.
It is what they do after the action that can even have a bigger impact. Taking a stance or being a voice for others and letting them know what they did was not right. Not a bad lesson for adults either.
What it means to have a broken spirit
My favorite animal is the horse.
I’ve heard it said that man’s best friend is a dog, but a woman’s best friend is a horse. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know the horse is the one creature that has the ability to stop me in my tracks and cause my breath to catch as I stare in awe. His beauty, in my mind, knows no rival.
They are proud, majestic beasts, full of power and grace.
Picture the sheen of a horse’s flanks as he strikes the ground with his hoof, pawing and stirring up dust, his neck arched as he does so; he tosses his head and shakes his flowing mane, then snorts to share his feelings. He longs to put his powerful hindquarters into action, to do what he was made to do. There’s nothing prettier than a horse running headlong across the open prairie with his head held high and his tail flowing out behind.
To ride upon the back of such an animal is to be alive. Author Helen Thompson described it thus: “In riding a horse, we borrow freedom.”
There’s a certain kind of romance surrounding the horse. It’s the central figure of books, films and legends. Think Black Beauty, War Horse, Spirit, Secretariat.
Even in scripture, God acclaimed the horse to Job: Did you give the horse its strength or clothe its neck in a flowing mane? Did you make it leap like a locust, striking terror with its proud snorting? It paws fiercely, rejoicing in its strength, and charges into the fray. It laughs at fear, afraid of nothing; it does not shy away from the sword. The quiver rattles against its side, along with the flashing spear and lance. In frenzied excitement it eats up the ground; it cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds. At the blast of the trumpet it snorts, ‘Aha!’ It catches scent of battle from afar, the shout of commanders and the battle cry. (Job 39:19-25)
Yes, my favorite animal is the horse. Perhaps that’s why last Sunday’s sermon analogy left such an immense impact on me.
Pastor was exploring the topic of brokenness, pulling scripture from the 51st Psalm. Verses 16-17 stood out, specifically.
“You do not desire a sacrifice, or I would offer one. You do not want a burnt offering. The sacrifice you desire is a broken spirit. You will not reject a broken and repentant heart, O God.”
Thinking once again of the horse, you see that in all his independent majesty and romantic loyalty, we have the perfect image of what is described here as a “broken spirit.”
A trained horse was once wild, but after being “broken,” he renounces his personal will to the direction of his master, willingly, because he knows his good master does not mean him harm and takes care of his needs.
Jesus is the ultimate example of this kind of brokenness. He submitted his entire life to the will of the Father, even as far as dying on a cross. He did that for you and me, not as a trained animal but as a broken spirit, humbly submitting to the will of his Father.
Pet alert update
This column has been running again for awhile now and I don’t think there has been an update on our animals yet. Unfortunately, when you get a puppy or kitten, you know at some point your heart will be broken. Their lives just aren’t as long as ours usually are.
Angel, our beautiful white lab/Samoyed cross is still with us. She will be 13 in November and has finally settled down. She was such a rambunctious pup for 7-8 years! But kind hearted, sweet and a good running partner for a long time. She has never been an only dog, and when Sassy and Maggie left us she moped until we found her a new friend.
Enter Higgins. Our first dog back in the 80s was a spaniel. She was wonderful in every way so we went online looking at area shelters for anything spaniel. Higgins is a cross. The rest of him, the part that shows, is St. Bernard. But he does have the habit of barking common to a cocker spaniel. With St. Bernard vocal chords. We try to get him out the door before he hears a train because he will always announce them. He’s a big, dirty, messy, slobbery bundle of joy though. And while he sometimes pushes Angel around she’s pretty devoted to him too.
Larry is still a staple around here. He’s the cat we got as a kitten when Angel was a puppy. Quiet and friendly, he enjoys sitting on the edge of the tub while I shower. He just loves when I drip water into his mouth. Weird, but we’ve never claimed to be a normal household.
The last of our pets is not really ours. He’s a loaner from Betsy, a cat named Brick. He’s been staying here for five years now and is probably the loudest cat I’ve ever been around. He runs to hide whenever a stranger visits. Pat has come over many times to take care of our cats when we’ve been gone and she has yet to see him. Most of the time he thinks he’s a dog. He begs at the table, follows the dogs when they go outside and cuddles much more like a dog than a cat.
Yes, there is some pet hair and dander around here. And our furniture has scratches from when their nails get too long. Once in a while a stick of butter will go missing if Angel is in the kitchen alone.
But all in all, our zoo brings us a lot of joy and entertainment.
John insists that he is going to choose our next dog, and it will be ceramic, but what fun would that be to write about? Maybe he can choose that one and I’ll pick out its companion.
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