One moon lit night; there was a time many moons ago. I would walk a path at the same time each night, going home for the evening after visiting a friend. There was a crossroads and when it intersected, I would meet another walking in the evening, it was a Hedgehog. We would cross paths as regular as clockwork. Next to our path was a well-travelled road with mechanical beasts on it, and it disturbed the quiet of the cool still night. The mechanical beasts they went very fast, not the speed of my walking, or my prickly friends pace. I met my prickly friend often on our scheduled reunion our traveling coincided, allowing us to meet at the same time every night. I looked forward to meeting and greet my fellow traveller. Then one evening we didn’t meet, and I wondered if Hedgehog was ok, and my fears where answered, sadly I found my little friend at the side of our path, having been hit by a mechanical beast, my prickly friend lay there dead at the side of the road. My heart disappointed and sad, the loss overwhelming, tears run down my cheek, my faithful friend was gone; the one who I encounter as we walked the evening, going to our homes.
When I pass that way now, or see another Hedgehog memories flood back to me of those sweet times, and a bitter feeling rises in my gut, the questions, the why comes to the surface? I try to dismiss and shrug it off; knowing life does need to go on. My prickly friend I would remember, who I would encounter as we walked the evening going to our homes. We are all hobos at heart, homeward bound. The original meaning of Hobo, I discovered a few month ago, from the following website.
“A hobo is a migratory worker or homeless vagabond, especially one who is penniless. The term originated in theWestern—probably Northwestern—United States during the last decade of the 19th century. Unlike “tramps”, who work only when they are forced to, and “bums”, who do not work at all, “hobos” are workers who wander.
ETYMOLOGY: The origin of the term is unknown. Etymologist Anatoly Liberman says that the only details certain about its origin is that the word emerged in American English and was first noticed around 1890. Liberman points out that many folk etymologies fail to answer the question: “Why did the word become widely known in California (just there) by the early Nineties (just then)?” Author Todd DePastino has suggested that it may come from the term hoe-boy meaning “farmhand”, or a greeting such as Ho, boy!. Bill Bryson suggests in Made in America that it could either come from the railroad greeting, “Ho, beau!” or a syllabic abbreviation of “homeward bound”. H. L. Mencken, in his The American Language (4th ed., 1937), wrote: Tramps and hobos are commonly lumped together, but see themselves as sharply differentiated. A hobo or bo is simply a migratory laborer; he may take some longish holidays, but sooner or later he returns to work. A tramp never works if it can be avoided; he simply travels. Apart from either is the bum, who neither works nor travels, save when impelled to motion by the police.” https://comediansteviemack.wordpress.com/tag/hobo-stick/
Why was this encounter with the Hedgehog over a period of months so impactful? Did it really highlight a deep need in me and in us all, that “one of the most critical tasks in the local church is to become journeyers rather than wanderers?” Daniel Fenhagen.
The feeling like we are wandering alone, we need to feel a part of a people who are journeying together. We all have a need of support through the transitions of life; we need to be encouraged with hope presently and a hope for the future. Having a place of home and security here in this life on earth and when we leave this world, it will be a simple step over the threshold from one home to another. To enter our spiritual dwelling that homeward bound destination, having been supported and encouraged with the knowledge that we will meeting our maker face to face, and loved ones who have gone ahead of us.
The death of Hedgehog was an ache of a need, showing that I need to listen to the longings of my heart, knowing my desires, holding onto hopes, showing or highlighting a need, to overcome fear to make connections, desiring friends, making a friend in a creature that only scurries by and was only minimally aware of my presence. We can at times feel this way with our human counterparts, lacking the confidence to contribute, because we do not feel we have something to give, and feel invisible.
We have to stop listening to the lies, because you are uniquely you. We have to reject fear, who is a thief who is stealing life away from us. We have to. I have too; discard fear of making conversation, and try desperately to finding common ground and an interests to build on. To stop listening with our fears and past hurt, the distractions and the inner churnings of our sole.
The negative self-talk has to go, it is through this inner noise, that God has to get through to us, to encourage us to be all we are able to be. God who is a deep friend, if only we allow God to penetrate our lives, who is as close as the very breathe we take, and is right there by our sided when we call on the Lord. Who says if we draw near to God , God will draw near to us.
We need to face up to the shadows of the past, with God’s love, because perfect love casts out fear. This is what God is all about, relationship building, God wants to befriend us, and wants us to learn to befriend others. It is a cry, or a longing, that only God can fill, we try substitutes, but ultimately our security is found in God, and we have to be aware of the replicas we put in place of God.
There is a balance needed, the need for God and each other, to build our confidence and trust. We need to feel valued in every relationship; it is in the manner we are communicated with, that will leave a lasting impression.
We are like the weather, changeable at times and affected by outward elements, when everything is fine and comfortable, no change, or grief, and our blood pressure doesn’t sore. We feel good, it’s a beautiful sunny spring day, warm breeze, birds singing, the blossoms are beautiful to behold. We are in the emotional climate of a fair day with its warmth; we embrace and welcome the rays of sun. Then there are the wet damp cold days that the cruel wind beats against us, limiting us, preventing or persuading us not to venture out. We don’t want to face the storm and cold, as it is frigid and unwelcoming. We have those days with people, who are pleasant, warm, and welcoming, or those of us that are calm and constant, and then there are others that are turbulent, explosive, tense, and negative. We know who we would rather be around for an extended period of time, and those we would rather avoid.
But at the end of the day, we have to look in the mirror, and be happy with ourselves, holding on with confidence that God is at work in our lives. We do fall short, and if we need to confess our shortcomings. God is faithful to forgive us, picks us up and dusts us off, saying try better next time and sin no more. God has began a good work in us, and is faithful to complete that which God is worked on, encouraged when we take small or large steps toward the likeness of Christ. So daily let us have a confidence, knowing that God is for us and not against us and will help direct our every step.
P.S. The Hedgehog in the picture that I’m holding was given to me by a friend, and will be used for insight with our next hedgehog tales.