Saul didn’t start out being a bad guy.
He was, in fact, very loyal and apparently extremely persuasive.
I think he loved his religion.
He loved it so much that he convinced himself it was alright to kill for it.
The Lord appeared to him and asked why he was persecuting Him.
Saul had no idea who He was.
And Saul asked Him,
Who art Thou, Lord?
And Jesus said, “I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
Then after Saul saw the light literally, he was made blind. A disciple healed him, he even changed his name to Paul, and the rest is history. One of the greatest men in the history of the earth.
This week I found myself kicking against the pricks and in need of conversion–just like Saul. (A prick was a sharp spear people used on animals to make them move. Often the animals would kick back when pricked, which made the spear hurt them even more.)
Ugh. It’s so hard. It hurts, but when I am kicking against the pricks, I am 99.99% convinced that the pain I feel from the kicking is better than the pain I am feeling when I am being prodded by Heaven to move in the right direction–in directions I never dreamed of moving!
Maybe I’m more like the cows I used to watch in Tetonia.
The cows that tend to make people swear.
You want them to move over to the next hillside that’s covered in deliciously yummy green grass and dotted with shady trees that you saved for August because it’s cool and refreshing rather than stay in the barren, icky, dusty already picked over and eaten brown hill that’s hot and sweaty and has maybe three blades of grass left, but they don’t want to move.
They think they’ve got it made.
I don’t know why.
You’ve never steered them wrong before. You’ve always taken them to beautiful places and treated them so kindly. Yet, they never believe you that what’s around the bend is better. They just want to stay there, chomping on dirty, dried up, nearly dead grass.
Oh my goodness. I’m having another Bessie moment.
Okay, well, maybe I’m not Saul. I’m Bessie. Because I”m also still mostly in my pajamas.
But, you get the idea.
Heaven gently (!?!?!?!) (for me, it didn’t feel very gentle!), prodded me this week to do some hard things.
We are changing some things at the ranch and I am terrified that I won’t like it.
I had to say goodbye to some things that remind me of Joy. Things that I was hanging onto because I thought if I had them I could continue thinking that it was all a dream–that I could somehow make it a dream and I would wake up in my home in Tetonia in that beautiful summer and all of this would have been a dream.
(I’m not kidding you, here. There have been dozens of times I’ve convinced myself.)
I just didn’t want to say goodbye.
After she died, I still knew what I didn’t like, but I had no idea what I liked anymore because I didn’t really care. After all, I was in a holding pattern of sorts, just kind of biding my time until I woke up from the dream. So, who cares? Mostly, I didn’t. Whatever. That was mostly how I felt.
Does that even make sense?
Well, this week, Heaven gently prodded me to understand with the spear of truth that this is not a dream.
This is real. And I have to find out what I like in the post-Joy world. Because the world is still a good place, and there are things I will like about it.
And in kicking against the pricks of reality, I am hurting myself the most.
And hurting my family second, I think (Heaven didn’t tell me that, because, presumably, Heaven knew it was already making me feel bad enough, but I am guessing that one all on my own.).
I am so happy for Florida.
It’s so never a place we ever would have lived, but so lovely in a way I never would have imagined.
Just perfect for someone kicking against the pricks who needs to quit.
So, I need to be converted.
I read in a teacher’s manual about Saul’s conversion that they compared it to water converting to ice or vapor. Scientists call that conversion because it alters its state completely.
That’s what I need to do.
I thought about that–how we need to be converted over and over, not just one time, but frequently–sometimes we need to be converted to ice and sometimes to vapor.
Let me explain…
Water, unlike other substances, expands when it freezes and expands when it changes to vapor.
So both ways cause expansion!
And when water is water, if it doesn’t change or move, it becomes stinky and smelly. So, like water, we need to be converted, and if we are not converted, we need to be moving.
Lest we become stinky and smelly and stagnant.
I think sometimes I have judged others based on what conversion stage they are in, and I shouldn’t…because both are needed and right. And we are, in the end, all water. We are all made of the same substance, after all, even if we look different.
We are all little droplets going along our way, and whether we choose to go on paths that lead us to the ocean, to babbling brooks, great glaciers, snowy hillsides, or crystal lakes, dewy meadows, or icy rivers…well, we all have to keep moving, changing–all leading to conversion, over and over until we move on to where Joy is.
We need not be jealous of the the snowflake for its beauty because at the moment we are a dewdrop. Someday we will be snow.
Right now, I am vapor. (After all, this is Florida!) Or maybe the froth on the tips of the waves that turns into condensation and wafts into the atmosphere.
I need to be able to go far and easily without being so bulky. I need to carry my children with me without feeling burdened.
And I need to be able to feel light and airy.
(I know this probably makes ice sound clunky and unattractive, but it’s not. I love ice. Cool, soothing, comforting–expansive. Big enough for everyone. Stationary. Safe. Something you can count on….A refuge…I love ice.)
There is nothing wrong with ice or vapor. I’ve been both. The trick is to know what I am supposed to be and when.
I was stuck wanting to stay ice.
I love ice.
I think ice is my favorite.
I like ice skating. Long winters. Hot cocoa. Log cabins.
Moose (from a distance). Yellowstone. Tetonia. Quilts. Blizzards. Being snowed in. Christmas. Fall.
Ice doesn’t really work in Florida.
I need to be steamy…
And I do love the ocean. Sunny days.
Lemon infused cucumber water. Hibiscus. Palm trees. Jasmine. Honeysuckle.
There is more, of course.
Big changes coming. I need to lighten the load and simplify. And I am sure you all want to know the details.
(Maybe not, but it helps me to write about them.)
It’s hard to say good-bye. Especially when I feel like if I let go, I’ll never be able to go back.
But just like the cows, I’ll be back.
One spring someday, I’ll be back on that beautiful hill, and it won’t be all brown and barren and dusty.
It will be verdant and beautiful and there will be a little brook and bluebirds…and I will wonder why I kicked against the pricks. And maybe then, I won’t be such a stubborn cow, and I will start to trust Heaven a little more and realize that change is good and change is necessary.
That the only way I can go back is to let it go.
I am not really leaving Joy behind. She will be waiting on that hill, laughing, picking wildflowers, wondering why I was so worried about moving on in the first place.
And I will laugh with her. And everything will be better than I could have imagined.
Please, wish me luck. For this be-pajama-ed Bessie cow, the next hill is still a scary, unknown place!
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