Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ANNOYED (04/05/18)
- TITLE: Jaycee
By Dennis Gallemore
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Each of the animals that stayed, including Wilbur, the traveling pig, had a unique personality. One dog, named Tuff for reasons that I don't remember, loved to climb stairways and ladders. If my father was working on a roof on the house or on one of the farm's buildings, Tuff would often be up there on the roof with him. Another quirky dog, Rambo, loved to ride around in or on just about anything: pickups, tractors, wagons, even wheelbarrows.
One cat, in particular, stood paws above all of the rest: Jaycee Yowler. Why my brothers and I selected the first name, I don't recall, but I certainly do the last name. Jaycee didn't meow or hiss; he yowled at the top of his feline lungs, usually during the night when I and my family were trying to sleep. The most memorable thing about Jaycee wasn't something he did, however; it was something that happened to him. A dirt road ran in front of my childhood home and, on the other side, an ancient barn built, oddly enough out of walnut lumber, rested. Home to a plethora of rodents, snakes, and insects, it was also the residence of a few resolute birds. Barn swallows built their nests in that barn, and they considered all of the surrounding area their personal airspace. Those birds, much to Jaycee's chagrin, detested cats.
Whenever poor Jaycee would cross the road from the house to the barn in search of mice, he was at the mercy of the barn swallows. One after the other, a squadron of two or three swallows, “Death from Above” stenciled on their wings, would dive-bomb the hapless cat as he made his way through “no cat's land.” Flying down, they would slap the cat with their wings, and then fly back up into the wild blue yonder. The avian sorties would be repeated for five, even ten minutes at a time, while poor Jaycee flattened himself out on the dirt road, hurling feline curses skyward. A photograph of a yowling Jaycee as he lay on the ground, humiliated by barn-dwelling birds, would have had a simple caption: “Annoyed.”
Even today, decades later, when vexed by the latest irritation, the image of that wretched cat being pummeled by those barn swallows will often flash into my mind. I've found that, like Jaycee, seemingly insignificant events, when in combination, can often be more troubling than large ones. Small problems don't seem to arrive one at a time, instead, like Jaycee's avian nemeses, they often fly at us in clusters. When the clothes dryer goes out, a tire will go flat, and then the Wi-Fi goes down. Each one not very troubling in the grand scheme of things, but together, they trouble us to no end.
Crossing the dirt road of life on our journey from our earthly home to our eternal one, just like poor Jaycee, we're all out in the open, all vulnerable to attacks. Satan doesn't always hit us in big way; he can sling a volley of arrows of frustration and annoyance our way, not taking us out of the fight, but knicking and bruising us.
How then do we protect ourselves? In the final analysis, on our own, we can't, but as followers of Christ, we can. We can arm ourselves with the written and spoken words of God. 2 Thessalonians 3:3 reminds us that the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen us and protect us from the evil one. That protection isn't just for the catastrophes in life; it's also for the daily irritations that vex us. We will make it across to the promised land beyond someday, but not before enduring our share of attacks, both large and small. By studying the Word, by praying incessantly, by listening and watching for the Holy Spirit's guidance, we can navigate across the land to reach the other side, intact.
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