Girl Scouts, I applaud you. I think that, if possible, the Carmel Delites are even better this year. Five stars and high fives all around.
So, here’s something. I love spring, but what I don’t love is that it seems as though the small, furry creatures in our midst become stupider with the warming of the weather. I have not seen this many dead animals on the road since I made the mistake of driving up to Minnesota during open season for deer hunting two years ago. That was scarring.
Story time. When I was ten, I thought seriously about becoming an animal roadkill prevention activist. I thought perhaps if we gated off all of the land around all of the roads, that would be the end of squirrel fatalities. Although a tad insane, this was still a great deal more feasible than my other option, which was to force everyone to return to horse and buggy transportation. Oddly enough, neither of these ideas ever really lifted off the ground. This bothered me until the day I turned eleven; the day I got my ears pierced, and became obsessed with Claire’s, Icing (does anyone remember that store?), and all sorts of other junior high girl-isms. I’m pretty sure I lost a lot of my compassion in junior high, because now when I see dead animals on the side of the road, I don’t really care.
Or at least, I thought I didn’t care. That is, until yesterday. My drive home from work consists of a lot of hilly, two lane farm roads. As I was driving on said road yesterday, I saw a possum run towards the center of my lane. I did exactly what they tell you NOT to do in driver’s ed. I swerved into the other lane, right into on-coming traffic. I don’t know what happened; I lost my mind completely, and all I could think about was my ten-year-old self, empathizing with the wounded, martyred rodents on the shoulder. I quickly swerved back into my lane, and just in time, too. But still. It was a mind-boggling, uneasy experience for me, knowing that although I hold onto my life and the things in it with great ferocity (sometimes too much), my gut-reaction yesterday was to give it all up for a rabies infested possum.
I wonder if that was how Jesus felt about the cross. If He saw it as His own version of swerving into harm’s way in order to save the measly possums that we, as humanity, indeed personify. Was it a gut-level reaction? I know it was more than this. I know that it was a plan, a perfect plan, and that Jesus and His father worked this all out together before the world was made.
But even so, I’m curious. Was Jesus’ desire to save the lost such an integral part of His nature, that it was also a knee jerk response? If He had been surprised by this plan of sacrifice… if it was a plan hatched in moments during His time on earth…. if He had to decide in a second what He was going to do, and there was no swerving back from the painful death on a cross… Jesus still would have decided to go for it. God’s love for His creation is a gut-level reaction. It is immediate, even though we rarely allow Him to show it to us, and we even more rarely ever show love back.
Is my love for God and others a gut-level reaction? Or is the only immediate, sacrificial side of me geared towards my ability to swerve away from rodents?
Good heavens, I hope it is something more than that.