An Eagle, A Weasel, And A Grain Of Wheat (I went long today…cup of coffee’s worth.)

Thursday, often overlooked, fills a gap between Wednesday and Friday. These days are often not named by the sequestered, the distanced, and the unemployed. More people are getting a hint of the homeless while hunkered down in their homes. Do the homeless know what day of the week it is? Do they give a flip?

“Hey you, what planet is this?” Captain James T. Kirk


Anyway, I simply want to mark this day as Thursday, for the record, and all that. Thursday April 30, 2020 for hindsight’s sake!

The Muse didn’t tell me to go get my laptop to write the words above, but I had to dip my toes in the ole ‘stream-of-consciousness’ for a bit.

The thought at hand comes from my readings this morning. I’ll start with where I ended. A weasel. Take a sec now and what comes to mind when I say weasel… Definitely not a term of endearment, eh?

I’ve been re-reading Annie Dillard’s book Teaching a Stone to Talk. In one chapter she details the life of a weasel. A ten inch squiggly line of an animal. She tells of a man who shot an eagle (Must have not been outlawed at the time.) and attached to its neck was the skull of a weasel. Weasels go for the jugular and don’t let go. Their jaws are like vice-grips, and after clamping down, they take their prize back to their den and sequester for a few days until the need arises to play fetch again. (Kinda like safaris to bring back toilet paper and hand sanitizer these days.) Apparently the weasel missed its mark and the eagle wrestled, clawed, and ate as much as it could. Eagle-weasel…Fascinating.

Well, I couldn’t help but overlay a metaphor over such an image. Now, what comes to mind when I say eagle? Right. Weasel going after the jugular of an Eagle. We’re talking freedom here and the defending of it. I gotta be careful or this blog might turn into some sort of hummus of hubris in which we keep grabbing the chips on our shoulders to dip and dip and dip.

I’ll be the first to admit I shy away from talking politics. (By the way, do you know the definition of politics? Poly means many, and ticks are things that suck the blood out of you. J) I usually don’t talk religion in a matter-of-fact way either. Those who do might be considered courageous or fanatical, depending on who is listening and the filter with which they listen.

I believe our country was founded on freedom, warts and all. I believe my Christian faith is also founded on freedom, some Christian knuckleheads notwithstanding (Myself included from time to time.). First, country-wise, a Trail of Tears, no explaining that away. We also confess to the sin of slavery, and thousands died, white and black, to bring about emancipation. It’s human nature to look on the color of the skin first before discovering the content of anyone’s character. Some are more skilled in getting past appearances than others. (That could be a blog post [or a book] in itself. Probably is many times over.) We can make confessions of creeds and miss the point entirely, which is Christ himself, not crusades or Christian religion per se.

How are you feeling so far? If I were you. Wait. If I were me, I’d crack some eggs, scramble them, and lay the eggshells between us. It’s like back a few generations ago when the topic of sex was spoken only using winged insects and avian references. If we do discuss religion and politics it’s usually after we’ve had one too many and our defenses are down. Well, what I mean is there are plenty of talking heads…often talking past each other. Our divisions gladly pluck up talking points and paste them over each other’s mouths. I know. I know, but don’t we all like a bit of drama with a splash of optics?

Annie Dillard, the weasel and the eagle, was read last. The first thing I made an effort to get synapses synapping was in the gospel of John. Jesus, in usual fashion, had his disciples scratching their heads.

“Listen carefully: (interesting, Jesus already knew they might not get it) unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, is sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have if forever, real and eternal.”   John 12:24, 25. The Message Bible

Okay, what the heck does a grain of wheat dying have to do with the old eagle/weasel? I got to thinking about how we humans like to weasel out of things. It seems our tendency is to stay in our little stories. Get what we get and go to our den until we need something else. At least that’s my modus operandi most days. But this weasel…the one that bit like a tick and wouldn’t let go, died attached to freedom. Who knew the places he flew before dying. In an odd way maybe he was buried in the sky. Hmmm.

I suppose I should have a point. It’s personal, first and foremost, like a finger pointing at my chest, because in the end it’s our hearts that matter, right? Okay, let me put it this way. I see eagles occasionally on my delivery route. It’s as if I saw one and it flew over to me and said, “Bite me.” It’s as if Jesus walked up to me and said, “Jerry, you are that grain of wheat.” It’s wholeheartedness gone wild, courageous enough to risk it all. Death be not proud. Living to die, and dying to live and all that. So much more, but I’ll chew on this awhile, no, maybe clamp down.

Freedom and Dependency: Fraternal Twins

“Are you going to be okay without me?”


Right before I leave for work I pop a question. It is always the same one with the same response. It is not that my wife can’t live without me. She is strong. She will survive. I can hear her singing Gloria Gainer song in my head right now. She sings along every time Gloria belts it out. The reality is she has allowed me much freedom over the years. I can be pretty independent and she knows it all too well. I roam and she trusts.

Monday morning different words came out of me. They weren’t formed in a question. They were a response to a question she didn’t ask. She probably would ask it eventually, but my answer couldn’t wait.

“No, I am not going to be okay without you.”

She smiled. We made eye contact as we always do and “I love you” was swapped as we always do. *kiss


I walked out and got in the driver’s seat and a voice filled the dashboard.

“Are you going to be okay without me?”

Neil Diamond nudged me and whispered something about being a solitary man.

“I am an island…I have my books and poetry to protect me…” Geez Simon and GarFUNKel, I would rather find a bridge over troubled water. It is tempting to hide behind someone’s thoughts instead of walking through them.

“Psssst, are you going to be okay without me?”

Give me a minute. Did you mean, like, I need to come to the garden alone all the time to catch the dew on the roses? Do you want every word that proceeds out of my mouth to be laced with religious overpinnings?

“Shhhh, are you going to be okay without me?”

No, I’ve tried before. It’s okay for a while, but then I can’t receive the beauty around me or hug my kids authentically or lay next to my wife in peace. I can’t hand out hope or smiles after a while. You are love and without you this bruised, groaning world makes little sense and eventually sucks the life and meaning out of me.

“I know. Did you know that I am not going to be okay without you? I want to bring my creation close.  I want to ease its groaning. That includes you. I gave freedom in the beginning knowing there was a chance of people running away with it. Silly ole humans, do they really think they can out run my love? My Jesus came to snap people out of it; that blank stare of independence clutching freedom like a teddy bear.”

The bear is a bit tattered isn’t it?

“Listen, freedom is a wild concept. True freedom doesn’t necessarily expand, at least not in the way some understand it. Independence is good, but interdependence is better. Not co-dependence. Interdependence.

True freedom is not freedom from dependency


freedom in dependency.”

The original intent was to allow us to reciprocate your love, right? Not just to you, but especially with each other. I think I get it. I hope I grow in freedom to love better. To be dependent on and be dependable; that is love in action isn’t it?

“Yes, now go ask your wife a question and go to work. Feel free to live and love. I am here, all the time. I am love.”
Are you free to love? Love God? Love people?

Stars and Stripes

The Bright and Morning Star wore His stripes

on the greatest day of independence in history.

He hung on the crossroads of freedom and bondage.

Liberty was lifted high for all to see

and healing was within everyone’s sight.


The bombs didn’t burst

but rockets red glare descended

from hands and feet and side and

rested in a reflecting pool of crimson.


The Calvary rode the dawns early light

as a two thousand year long shadow,

and now we can gather under the shadow

of His wings as eagles.


Come now, let us respond to

His freedom given, for with Freedom

comes response ability.