Half Rack, the Survivor

He stood in the backyard, his black nose flaring, sensing.  His eyes darted. He stood motionless, perfectly blendingly brown against the ravine falling away behind him.

His regal bearing halted me, held me.  He watched me, stand still in my kitchen watching this buck, who possessed . . . . it was odd trying to count his “points”.  He possessed five points, but no.  Not correct.

Maybe his camouflage worked well this early.  I again counted antler points from his side, knowing an odd number of horns isn’t impossible, but incorrect.  That was the word, incorrect.  Not five.

He turned.  Looked at me, assessed me and I stared back open-mouthed.  His left side rack was “correct”: five points, beautiful, elegant.

His right side was gone, unlike any deer, elk, or horned game I’ve ever seen.  All of them had two racks, one per side, or nothing.  Maybe I thought boys grow new antlers each year, and then drop by the Antler store to leave both sides with a valet.

Life does not come at them balanced, aesthetically perfect on both sides.  A buck can loose a side in a fight, fence, or blunt force.  I wondered if it was tricky to hold his head level, and then he ran to vanish.

Tony, doctors say, will be gone before morning, and he lost bits of himself toward the end in a fight, a fence, or an invisible force.  He, too, studied me for years while living next door, and I’ll miss him more than Half Rack.

And it’s not actually losing this capability, that speed, or these kinds of recall.  No, unlike Half Rack, I sense the end of my days here, and knowing separates me from Half Rack.  Enough like God to know my days are numbered, and yet lacking so much that I can’t dismiss all my glory at once in a place I choose, that’s right, or good.

It’s another reason I love that Baby in the manger, who identified with us, and then died to make us unlike Half Rack forever.

Inconceivable

It is Saturday between Good Friday and Easter Sunday.  What happened today?  Nothing, but today describes much of life.

We wade through a flurry of planning, spending, and staging a wedding.  We endure/enjoy the BIG day; the honeymoon and return to … quiet … close to nothing is happening.   We return to work, wondering what we weaved into our life.

We pitch, talk, ask, work and sleep on cots while launching a business and … it’s quiet.  We await people returning our calls.  We await excited customers; to finally place orders.  We await lawyers’ and CPA’s bills.  We wait to know if the market will really like us, and wonder, “Was this the right thing?”

We buy — us and friends — a ton of equipment and toys.  We hope we’ll lose “baby poundage”.  We decorate, move furniture, and attend Lamaze classes to learn to say, “Give me my epidural!”   We labor for hours (days!); deliver; and bring a little one home to start sleep deprivation, and it is not quiet, but it leaves us asking, “What were we thinking?”

Peter is kicking himself.  He DID deny Jesus three times.  John lets Mary rest.  He wonders why Jesus’ family isn’t caring for her.  Mary of Magdala wonders if demons return if the one who vanquished them dies.  Judas’ body sways at the end of a rope.

And nothing is happening.

Guards laugh!  No one has stolen Jesus’ body!   Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus get the first calls asking, “Why?”  Asking for the body of a criminal, Jesus.  In Herod’s night terrors, Jesus returns with John the Baptist.  He awakens relieved.  Nothing is happening.

Unless.

Unless you heard Jesus talk of the Kingdom.  He spoke counter intuitively of it.  He said it’s like a farmer who sows seed in a field and — goes to sleep.  The seed does what it does as he goes about life seeing nothing; and continuing after green shoots mysteriously, wondrously push out of the ground.

On Saturday, Friday’s horrors are almost echoes.  Well, still horrors, but moving inexorably toward echoes.  We hope for that.

On Saturday, Sunday is inconceivable.  It’s inconceivable twice.  Once, resurrection is too good to be true. We can’t imagine it before it happens, just as we can’t unimagine it once it happens.  Twice, it’s tomorrow.  We say we imagine tomorrow, but it’s only our sanguine safety version, or our feared folly that’s worse than what happens.

We haven’t shaken yesterday, and can’t imagine tomorrow.  Saturday.  In between time.  Where we spend most of life.

So, let Good Friday’s sorrow wash through you and take out the garbage.  Celebrate the first Sunday with wonder, tears, or stunned silence, but inbetweenthem.  Consider this.  Jesus told us the Kingdom is like seed He plants.  We only imagine a body losing heat on a cool stone slab, but far from our eyes He’s preaching in Hades; leading out those awaiting Him, and updating a conversation with Satan as to who really holds the keys to Death now.

In between Friday and Sunday, Saturday: a day to seize what He promised; said; and did to indicate what to expect tomorrow.  How to live today if tomorrow is inconceivable.