Have you ever noticed how mean geese are?* If you haven’t, you’ve either not met any geese from the petting zoo in Gas City, Indiana or you’ve not met a mama or papa goose.
When I was on a walk the other day, a flock of geese didn’t budge when I walked by. I don’t think they got nice all of a sudden, I think it’s because they had no young to protect, and they knew if I bothered them, they could push me back with a quick snap to the hand. What I recognized, different from other walks, is that when there are baby geese involved, the protective ring around them grows at least 2 feet. Why!? Because, they’ve got chicks to protect!**
The most passionate and driven that I was in my life was when I worked with youth in Marion, IN. As a resident of a downtown neighborhood, teacher’s aide in a juvenile hall and regular visitor to schools – my call-to-action button was hot all the time.
From throwing myself between fighting young men in classrooms and cafeterias to calling meetings with lawyers and superintendents regarding my opinions about their placement decisions of my students, to repeatedly praying over houses and locations that were perpetuating cycles of violence and crime, I believed there was nothing that was not mine to influence. Some of the things I was involved with were under my realm of stated authority. Some were clearly not. I can’t say if my actions were even all right, but I can tell you that I was motivated by my awareness of the impact that decisions and circumstances would have on kids.
Put a mother’s child at risk, and watch how they behave; they’ll run at the factor of potential distress with whatever is in their hand, not counting the cost of if it’ll actually work. Bravery seems to become automatic when there’s ownership of the situation.
Mom’s, dad’s and caretakers – you are superheroes, you do this! I only know a smidgen of the emotion and fight that’s in you for those that are actually yours.
I’m a big proponent of loving yourself, but we must admit that when our lives are tied to another person’s, there is a level of motivation that comes that pushes us to the next level of sacrifice, grit and determination.
This is what movies are made of. The marine brothers bond together to rescue the one; the sister stands in front of the sword to save her sibling, the man runs across town in a suit wildly so that his girl doesn’t jump on the train without knowing he actually loves her.
This is what Scripture is full of. God in Heaven, perfectly content in Himself as the trinity sacrificed everything because He had some kids who were vulnerable to the enemies attacks. We see the greatest act of human sacrifice and love through God’s Son, Jesus, who came out of His way to fight – because He had some kids that needed to know they were in His family and who needed a way to step into that reality. Then He still fights for us everyday. Romans 8:34 says Jesus not only died and was raised to life, but is as God’s right hand interceding for us. Enemy. Back. Off.
Picture that goose with the rearing, hissing head. He didn’t actually have to do that for himself only, but he makes it clear who’s protecting the chicks, and that you have no place around them. With that, I’ve never seen an angry or scared little chick. They keep eating every time.
This is what life is made of. I think we really are made for community, which includes standing for each other when it gets hard. It includes interceding like Jesus does for us, listening and valuing the person in front of you, responding and believing in someone. If you’ve been feeling like there has to be more expressed through you or that there is a greater purpose, find yourself some chicks to fight for and fall in love. You’ll become a lot like your Daddy (Father God), and you’ll be amazed at what comes out of you.
Whose presence with you and belief in you has changed your life? Who are you thankful for that stood in the gap for you? Tell me how in the comments below. Let’s pay it forward. 🙂
Psalm 144:2 “He is my Loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield in whom I take refuge.”
Asterisks / Notes:
Stronghold (Def.) – A place that has been fortified so as to protect it against attack.
*This is an opinion statement. I’m not the goose expert, these are the observations and correlations I have made in my head from a limited perspective and knowledge of geese.
**They are actually called goslings, but they look like little chicks, and it’s more fun to say.
Note: I have erred on the side of thinking someone’s well-being is all on my shoulders (that’s God’s job actually), and I’ve erred on the side of not claiming responsibility for people I didn’t think were “my responsibility.” All truth is held in tension; God is the ultimate Father, provider, friend, helper, Savior who alone can bring peace, joy, redemption, forgiveness, but He also says we look like Him and are His hands and feet to the World, that all may know Him. Blessings as you walk it out for yourself.
Personal note: I wrote this for me. I don’t have any natural kids and am not currently a teacher, so I can’t claim other peoples’ kids as my little goslings anymore. I just know I’m supposed to be about the next generation and loving people like Jesus did. It may be friends, blood family, the elderly, strangers, or the barista; wether it is one interaction on a day or a life-long relationship; I pray I continually find people to invest in, fight for and love well till they experience more of what Jesus paid for for them. And, I’m so thankful for mentors and family that have chosen to live sacrificially for me; it’s the only way I’m living how I am now.
Geese are actually really cool: I just read this and kind of started loving them. http://www.veganpeace.com/animal_facts/Geese.htm