Thursday, 9 May 2013

lost keys and sheep

It was around this time last year that my passion for photography got me in trouble again.  This time, it was some old barns and a prairie landscape that grabbed my attention.  I pulled off the road and jumped out of my van for a couple quick shots with my trusty point-and-shoot in hand and my keys tucked in my pocket.  Just beyond the three barns, a moody sky sat on the horizon promising rain from it's dark billowy clouds.  A perfect backdrop for my photos.  
     
Giddy and intoxicated with a silliness that comes over me when I'm free to chase beauty,I stood at the edge of the road and took my first shot.  Then I skipped through the ditch to the barbed-wire fence for another one.  Then back to the road. Then back across the ditch towards the field again.  I was ALL OVER THE PLACE just snapping away and loving it.

I decided to crawl through the barbed-wire fence (getting only a little snagged) so I could walk into the field and get closer to the barns.  I was about thirty yards in and grinning from ear to ear when I suddenly realized with an unnameable dread that my keys were no longer in my pocket.  “You’ve GOT to be kidding!” I said right out loud to no one.  I started patting myself down like I was under arrest, frantic to find keys somewhere on my body.  But, no keys!  Unbelieveable!!   In the one clear moment of thought that followed, I dropped my jacket to mark my spot, took a deep breath and walked back to the van hoping I'd find them there.  And sure enough, NO KEYS!  I knew with certainty that my keys were laying somewhere in that field of mud and last year’s stubble.

Out of sheer desperation, I  called a good friend who lived nearby hoping she might be home and able to come help me search.  She assured me that she was on her way.  And so began the impossible search and my out loud conversation with God.  “Lord, I know you can see my keys.  You’re looking at them right now, so please, please, PLEASE!  take my feet to them.”  There was no other way I was going to find them.  The soil was as black as my keychain and the field stubble was thick and tall, standing as high as my knees --- especially along the fence and in the wide ditch I’d crossed several times.  Needle in a haystack, anyone???

After about half an hour of searching, a truck pulled out of the nearby farmhouse  and stopped next to where I was pacing  the field. Great!  Now I  was in trouble for tromping through his field.  But to my great relief, the man and his daughter had  stopped to inquire whether I needed help.  I couldn’t believe it when after explaining my predicament (through tears), they got out and started searching through the ditch with me saying: “we’ll find them, don’t worry.”  Such kindness and optimism from complete strangers was overwhelming.  

Meanwhile, my girlfriend had shown up and joined the search.  Shortly after that, I took a step and my eyes fell upon the keys right beside my foot.  I snapped them up and started the loudest, craziest celebration dance right there in the ditch in front of my girlfriend and two complete strangers.  Such exuberant joy filled my whole being.  I hugged my girlfriend and twirled wildly in delight.  I hugged the strangers, laughing and screaming.   It was crazy and exciting and I didn’t care who saw me.
my girlfriend in the muddy field after all the drama!!

I have no idea how God whispered to my heart in that deliriously loud and joyful moment, but he did: “Now you know how I feel when, after leaving the ninety-nine, I find that one lost sheep.”  I got it, just a taste of how excited God gets.  All heaven rejoices; isn’t that what the Scripture says?  Imagine that!  A loud, rapturous, dancing celebration happens in heaven when one that was lost is found.  


words and images © copyright Melody Armstrong 2013

1 comment:

I invite your comments and thank you for journeying with me.