Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Of sheepdogs and shepherds
Jesus called himself the Good Shepherd, but I act more like a sheepdog most of the time, to my regret. I am constantly nipping at my children's heels. "Eat!" "Pick up your shoes!" "Why didn't you tell me yesterday that you didn't have any clean socks?!?" The nipping and yipping has little effect, except to make me lose my voice. Again. Banging metal objects together to get people's attention works about as well as screaming in the middle of a rock concert. It's just one more noise in the midst of an avalanche of sound. Who would be interested in what I have to say, anyway, when my 2-year-old is rolling back and forth on the floor in time with the Little Drummer Boy, and my husband and 4-year-old daughter are showing everyone their new "gymanastic trick." Never mind that four of our kids are late for school.
Shepherds are meek and gentle, like the version of myself I know I can be. (Don't laugh, Mom and Dad, I swear I can be meek if I really try.) Shepherds correct constantly but calmly, without ever raising their voice. They teach doctrine through songs and stories. People listen to them. But even a shepherd loses his sheep sometimes, because sheep have a tendency to go astray. And a sheepdog's job is to bring the sheep back to the shepherd. So maybe if I keep telling my kids, "Pray!" and "Go to Mass!" and "Stop hitting your sisters!", Jesus will lead them the rest of the way.