Wednesday, 24 October 2012
It's all about chickens . . .
A book which I have long loved is the wonderful classic, "White Fang," by Jack London. It tells the story of an animal, who is half wolf, half dog, and how he survives life in the wild and then learns how to survive amongst men. Much of the novel is written from the animal's point of view, affording us the opportunity to explore how animals might view our world, and us as humans . . . encompassing along the way such themes as morality and the process of redemption.
I have a particular favourite story in the book. It is one which has left a lasting impression in my heart . . . one with a very powerful message. It is about chickens.
White Fang is an animal who is very fond of chickens. On one occasion he raided the chicken-roost and killed not just a few, but fifty of his master's hens. White Fang saw his master, Weeden Scott, as a man-God whom he loved with a single heart. When Weeded saw what White Fang had done, he scolded him severely and then took him back into the chicken yard.
When White Fang saw his favourite food strutting around right in front of him, he followed his natural impulses and lunged towards the chickens. He was immediately checked by his Master's voice. The two of them spent quite a long time in the chicken yard that day, and every time White Fang made a move towards a chicken . . . his master's voice would stop him. It was in this way that White Fang learned what his master wanted. He learned to ignore the chickens.
Weeden Scott's father argued with him that it was impossible to "cure a chicken killer." Weeden challenged him and, between the two of them, they decided to lock White Fang in with the chickens all afternoon.
Once locked in the yard, having been deserted by the master, White Fang lay down and went to sleep. Once, during the afternoon, he go walked over to the trough for a drink of water, but the chickens he calmly ignored. To him, and as far as he was concerned . . . they simply did not exist anymore.
At four o'clock he took a running jump, landing upon the roof of the chicken coop, and then leaping to the ground on the other side. He sauntered gravely to the house at that point. He had learned the law.
Out of love for his master and a desire to obey his master's will, White Fang had been able to overcome his natural, inborn desires. He may not have understood the reason why . . . but he had chosen to obey and bend his will to the master's will.
A simple story, but with a very important message which we can apply to our own lives. Animal stories have a special way of breaking the heart and revealing profound truths. Observing the simplicity and purity of White Fang's love and devotion to his master has taught me and helped me to realize that we all live lives which are filled with "chickens." "Chickens" are all around us and always will be . . .
What we have to decide is the voice we are going to listen to and choose to serve.
“On this upward and sometimes hazardous journey, each of us meets our share of daily challenges. If we are not careful, as we peer through the narrow lens of self-interest, we may feel that life is bringing us more than our fair share of trials--that somehow others seem to be getting off more lightly.
But the tests of life are tailored for our own best interests, and all will face the burdens best suited to their own mortal experience. In the end we will realize that God is merciful as well as just and that all the rules are fair. We can be reassured that our challenges will be the ones we needed, and conquering them will bring blessings we could have received in no other way.” ~Jeffrey R Holland
I had a lovely phone conversation with my friend yesterday afternoon. The time just melted away and before we knew it, it was time to say goodby, and we hadn't touched on even a fraction of what we had wanted to . . . a sure sign that another call is needed, and soon. I just love it when I have been able to connect with someone in such a special way as you can never run out of things to share with each other. It's one of life's great blessings.
I thought I was going to have a quiet week. I spent most of yesterday afternoon sorting out the craft room after Todd put the tables together. It was good to be working in there and making real progress . . . but that progress will have to be put on hold today as last night I was asked to give a talk in Sacrament meeting this Sunday. I normally like to have at least a week's notice, not only a few days . . . but I will do my best to pull it together and endeavor to give a talk which will be pleasing both to the listener and which will teach not only myself something new and something to think about . . . but also those within the sound of my voice. I never mind giving talks really . . . I actually quite enjoy them.
It was not always so. I can remember being asked to read some scriptures in my old church before I joined the church which I attend today. I fretted and fretted about it . . . and in the end I could not make myself go on the Sunday which I was supposed to read them. Just the thought made my stomach churn and my knees knock. Now I am able to give talks and teach lessons without any fear whatsoever . . . the talks lasting anywhere from 15 to 20 minutes, and the lessons lasting 40 to 45 minutes. What has made the difference???
I think the difference comes in now knowing who I am, where I came from, why I am here, and where I am going. The church has given me the confidence to stride forward in my life with my head held high above the water and the current that might pull me down . . . and it has given me an eternal perspective on things. I am the Divine Daughter of a Heavenly Father who knows and loves ME. He cares . . . that is something which I never knew and never felt for the first forty four years of my life, and it is something I will never forget for the rest of my life. I am blessed.
Cooking in The English Kitchen today . . . delicious Sage Pork Chops with Cranberry Chutney. It is a chutney with a difference though . . . as it is made solely with dried fruit.