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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Holy Leopards . .

This weekend we stayed at the Kingfisher, a simple lodge of stone and thatch bandas overlooking the game park and lake east of us (about a six to seven hour drive from here). While there the entire team, in three vehicles, plied the roads on a game drive one morning. We were first out with no less than 11 people on our truck, in the darkness which melted into dawn as buffalo moved grumpily out of our path and kob darted warily away. We saw a half-eaten kob and guessed lions were in the area, but after an hour and a half without spotting them we stopped for a picnic breakfast among the warthogs and waterbuck. Just then Pat called to say that their car had stopped by another vehicle who had spotted about 7 lions basking in the sun! So we were off to find them, and later Annelise spotted four full grown female lions lazing close to the road. Amazing. Our vehicle later diverted to good old Campsite Two where we unloaded all the kids and read the last four chapters of the book of Job--God's soliloquy in which he answers the issues of the world by saying: look at the hippo. Watch the eagle. And we read that in a place where we could do just that, could marvel that we are NOT GOD, that He knows what He is doing. Great. By this time the other two vehicles, who took different routes, had headed back. We finally began the trek back to the lodge and suddenly a leopard sauntered out of the bushes, slowly rippling in the grass alongside us. We got good views for about a half a minute, then he was gone, without a trace, into the shadows of the dense vegetation.

Scott and I reflected on this later, and the parallel to spiritual discipline. If you don't drive and drive along the game paths, you won't see anything. But you can drive for three hours or two years or 15 minutes, and unless a leopard walks by at just the right moment, you won't find one. So daily Bible reading and prayer create the space for God to speak, to act, to be in relationship. But they do not force this to happen. Some days and months we can spend hours that seem fruitless. He still has to show up, mysterious, other, a sinewy rippling of beauty in the grass, a breathless wonder.

(P.S. - Leopard picture courtesy of Ashley Wood)

3 comments:

MrsD said...

Thank you for the wonderful analogy of staying (and driving!) on the path...you could miss the leopard! I needed that today!
Off to my path!

MrsD said...

How long have you had the pair a docs up there? I just noticed...cute!

J M Starr said...

It's a close call, but your early morning outing with a leopard siting may beat sundry sunrise breakfasts on the Blue Ridge with a fox siting (if I remember right). But really, glories can't be compared.
Your blog entries are always good reading -- thanks.