It was really quite a pleasant Sunday afternoon.
We were enjoying a really encouraging and somewhat strengthening visit from some friends we really hadn’t seen for a bit.
Lunch went well enough.
Pudding was good.
So it seemed about right to go for some logs to light the fire … ‘do you want to see my boiler?’ OK – so that is going to sound like a bit of a duff thing to say when it falls on urban ears, but (to use the idiom) ‘this is no ordinary boiler, this is a 25kW gasifying log boiler, with a 2,000 litre thermal store and …’
You get the picture? Sunday afternoon was mouldering away gently the way a Sunday afternoon in early Spring should. I was at the log pile filling the basket, and someone said ‘what’s that membrane hanging out of the back of that sheep?’
And soon we were treated to a reminder that whilst we do our best in our clinical, materialistic 21st century way to sanitise the realities of life … reality isn’t actually a lot less sanitised than ‘sanitary’.
(I hope you are not eating – we won’t go any further down that road).
Here’s the point.
Within the hour two big blokes were working sweat-breakingly hard to get an unborn lamb out of a first time mother, alive.
My friend had never done or seen anything like this before … OK there’s technique and there’s knowledge and there’s skill but at basement level it’s a physical process and that little thing needs to be got out of there, and there really isn’t any space or any slack … and you’ve got to work very hard to pull and push and it’s a messy old game.
Such is life.
Such is animal life (foxes taking lambs this week too – BRUTAL – what you gonna do?!)
Such is human life.
For all our attempts to dress things up otherwise with our furniture from Habitat, our perfumes from Dior and our clothes from M&S (who have admittedly featured rather too heavily so far in this blog) … the reality, the slightly ugly reality of life, still sits there brooding below the Sunday afternoon surface of our everyday lives. And it emerges … doesn’t it just? … right when you are most lulled and least expecting to take a reality check.
Now I’m very glad to say that the lamb was a little belter and the mother finally took to the idea of giving it milk … but it doesn’t always turn out like that. Life doesn’t. So where are you gonna go and what are you gonna do? For sure, just when everything is goiing along comfortably, things can certainly turn quickly ugly …
This psalm spells out the age-old truth of things …
“15 As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.”
So where does this guy go?
“17 But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.”
We all have to go somewhere when we take nature’s shocks … can you think of a better place to go when life-reality gets critical?