Sunday, April 20, 2014

Mary the Little Black Lamb.

“Old beer bottles are really the best bottles for this kind of thing, they are thick and the lip is big and holds the nipple on tight. Just so you know this isn’t my beer bottle, it’s a very old old one and it came with Mary.” It had been a while since they'd had sheep and never one this young. Mary was sweet, tiny and smelly. Logann and I talked, laughed and cried about babies and milk and mothering helpless creatures. My baby having days in the rearview, but just barely, she was still in the midst.

At home Max was the occasional feeder, Logann was the regular. She was the one that Mary had bonded with and when Logann approached the gate that went into the pasture Mary would come running. When Max did the feeding he’d have to catch Mary and make it clear that feeding was the business at hand.

I can’t remember what they were up for a visit for but Mary needed someone to take care of her, do the every four hour feedings, just like a baby, and I was signed up.

Lesson: 'The Good Shepherd' I could do this. Despite the panic attack every single time, I would work though it. Fact, secretly loved the torture process. I don’t do anything unless I can somehow artificially turn it up to emergency. Being put on the spot, to stand up in front and say something and have it be helpful, insightful or meaningful? Bring it. I like to think that I'm clever and could maybe come at things from some new angle. I like to think that’s one of my features.

"Shepherds, why do sheep need them? They stand upright, their eyes are on the front of the head, depth perception, visual acuity, higher order brain function, they value the sheep." All is rolling along well… “I went down for a visit the Henrieville folks, when arranging it Logann said that Mary grazed now, but she would still come running to her but all but ignore Max. Logann was Mary’s shepherd."

"I don’t remember why I was there for a visit. I do remember going to see how Mary had grown. I don’t look exactly like Logann, but we both have long light colored hair. You can see the pasture from the door. As I came close to the gate it took a few seconds, but something in me must have triggered the same parts of the little lamb’s brain as seeing Logann. She came running. It delighted me to be taken for the lamb's favorite. I loved playing the role of shepherd to this little black lamb."

A hand is raised, a comment proffered, "When we abide His word and do His work I think we in a small way resemble Him, others can look to us for the kind care that He provides. Others recognize His image in us."

Alma 5:14- "Have ye received his image in your countenances? Have ye experienced this mighty change in your hearts?" Sometimes...

To play the shepherd is good. I love to play the shepherd. Ultimately though I need the Shepherd. Like Mary I don't comprehend it any more than the little black lamb does. She doesn't understand how it is done. The old beer bottle, the mixed up milk formula, the sturdy rubber nipple. She doesn't understand, she can't. Her belly hungers, she sees her shepherd and she comes running. Even when she no longer needs those four hour feedings, she comes running.

I'm hungry and my Shepherd appears and I don't know how it is done anymore than Mary does but I am filled. I am comforted. I am healed. I am for the moment whole.


  1. Dovie,

    I remember the first time I read this, and I was so moved, as I am yet again. Not only do you have a love and a gift for words, in this story you are bearing witness of what you believe to be true, and that is ALWAYS beautiful!!

    How touched am I also to read an experience that I was part of, through YOUR eyes! I am VERY proud to be the Logann of your story as you've written of her so sweetly.

    Thank you, Dear Sister, for this memory, and so many more. I love you forever! Happy Easter!

  2. Beautiful, Dovie! Thanks for writing this, and Max for sharing.