Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: FOLD (10/08/15)
- TITLE: Follow the Leader
By Pat Small
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“Hey, Albert, isn’t this cool?” I love the early mornings when everything is fresh and bright, and ready for whatever we set our minds to do.” Albert just hunched his shoulders in an agreeable type nod. He wasn’t given to much emotion. Usually he just went along with me and whatever I planned.
The smell of the fresh air changed as the sun slowly warmed the day. I breathed deeply and sighed. It thrilled me to think how God makes every sunrise different.
I was being careful not to damage the flowers as I shuffled along, but I can’t say that my friends took the same precautions. They seemed oblivious. One hoof in front of the other was the ruling emotion. Oh, well, each to his own – that was my mantra.
I noticed a bunch of purple violets. Purple is the color of royalty, I mused. Maybe that’s why the Christians have draped a purple robe over a wooden cross every Easter. After all, Jesus is the King of Kings. It is only fitting, I decided, that we imagine Him clothed in purple when he was led to the cross. Red has always come to my mind though because of the blood he shed. I couldn’t help but wonder about God. Certainly He knew people would sin, given the opportunity, and that would require the sacrifice of his only Son. My little mind has pondered the problem frequently, to no avail.
I knew the shepherd was leading us to the greenest pasture, and I was anxious to get there. It seemed like it would take forever, just shuffling along like we were. I knew that he knew best, but that didn’t mean I was always content to just follow my buddies’ behinds to get there. Off to my left, I spotted a shady spot where the grass seemed to be greener than anything I had ever seen. It was taller too. I could just taste it! There was just enough for two of us.
“Albert,” I whispered as I sidled up to him. “Take a gander off to your left. See that patch of grass under the elm. Manna from heaven, I’m guessin’. What do you say we lag behind a bit and sneak off when nobody is looking?”
“I don’t think so, Sylvester. It does look good, but you know what happened the last time we tried something like that.”
“Oh, don’t be a scaredy cat. We can be over there, have a nice breakfast, and be back before we’re even missed.”
“Well, I don’t know,” he grumbled. I knew he’d go along though. He was already dragging his feet so we’d get behind the crowd. Albert always came around even though he made a show of being so goody goody.
It happened just like I said. We got our grass with nobody the wiser. I guess that emboldened me. Later on I was getting hot and thirsty. We hadn’t been sheared yet. I smelled water, and heard a faint gurgling. Again, I egged Albert on, and he followed. I slipped on a rock, and I felt my leg break. Oh, no. Now what was I going to do?
“Albert, get me some help,” I pleaded. I suppose he tried, but sheep don’t speak “human”, and probably he was afraid he’d get in trouble. I was in agony, and getting worried. I had no idea what to do. What if an animal came around? I would be “fast food” for some lucky beast. I started praying and pleading and making promises to God if He would only rescue me.
I won’t prolong the suspense. That night our shepherd counted the flock as they entered the fold. When he reached ninety-nine and there were no more in sight, he turned right around and headed back to find me. Was I thankful when he reached down and lifted me onto his shoulders. He never said a word, but the look in his eyes made me vow to myself never to do anything like that again. He laid me gently down on the hay, set my broken leg, and patted my head with his loving hand before he went to his own rest. That’s a real shepherd!
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