The Dung Heap

 

dung hill

Dung heaps are where you will find Dung Beetles.
Do you know of the Dung Beetle ?

Well,  Wikipedia says this :

Dung Beetles are beetles that feed on faeces (dung).
Beetles in some species of Dung Beetles can bury dung 250 times heavier than themselves in one night.
Many Dung Beetles, known as rollers, roll dung into round balls which are used as a food source or breeding chambers.
Others known as tunnelers, bury the dung wherever they find it.   A third group, the dwellers, neither roll nor burrow, they simply live in manure.

Dung Beetles play a role in Agriculture and Tropical forests.   By burying and consuming dung, they improve soil conditions and soil structure.
They are also important for the dispersal of seeds present in animal dung   …..  and more.

Although this is my story of the dung heap and the Dung Beetle, it comes with an apology to the Dung Beetle, as in real ecological terms, the Dung Beetle is a vital link, and does nature a great service, and so we all benefit.

I recently put my back out, have been immobile and rendered useless, so I decided to give myself two days bed rest to ease the muscles.   This self inflicted solitary confinement left me with nothing else but me myself and I, and my solitary thoughts.
So I decided to let my mind wonder over the years, the people in it, the friends and family, the events, the big and little incidents that go to make up an ordinary life.
Memory is a strange, but interesting place to visit.  But a little introspection is never a bad thing, if you keep a level head.

My thoughts had settled on certain people in certain situations and I was thrust into a churning of hate, anger and resentment.  I picked at the people, saw their faults, hated their actions and reactions.   I mulled over their inability to understand and love others more than they loved themselves, and I became angry all over again at the hopelessness of unsolvable situations and relationships.

Still pained and angry I heard this thought :   –  “ get off the dung heap  !”  –  Dung heap ?
I knew I had to change my thinking pattern quickly – so my thoughts turned to the Dung Beetle, which I put on the back burner until I could look up the life of the Dung Beetle, when mobile again.

Dung beetle

But if I were to translate the dung heap to that of my own soul, where the faeces of hate, anger and resentment are tightly compacted into the folds of my soul I would be wise to do a little cleaning out.   Often invisible and tucked away are these destructive faeces of unresolved  emotions.
Of course Forgiveness is the key to a good cleanse.   But forgiveness is a journey not just a once off action.   Jesus said to forgive seventy seven times seven.   When we Forgive, it becomes a lifestyle – journey a road, sometimes a long one, we have to walk through to the end.   Along that road there are the stop overs , or the residues, of hate, anger  resentment and recriminations toward others, all needing the same remedy – Forgiveness.
And it is at these stop overs that we can become stuck.
The Bible says in Song of Solomon 2:15     Catch us the foxes, The little foxes that spoil the vines, For our vines have tender grapes.

Two foxes
But,  before the journey of forgiveness can be undertaken one thing is necessary.   And that is to see in myself, recognise, and acknowledge the faeces in my own soul – and to
own it  !      When I saw my hate, and began to understand my anger, I was appalled at the strong emotion, and reactions it evoked from me, and decided to walk the Forgiveness road, these emotions gradually became a little diminished.
However the residue of resentment, a little more subtle, and recriminations toward others, are the stop overs I still have to clear, with Forgiveness.

Yes, Forgiveness is a journey, but if not undertaken, watch out for the Dung Beetle, which will gleefully roll you away.
Forgive and you will be forgiven – then the Dung Beetle has no chance of eagerly adding you to his ever enlarging and nauseating  dung heap, where he will rob you of peace and joy – and eventually eat you up !

Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking
be put away from you, with all malice.
And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another,
even as God in Christ forgave you.
Ephesians 4: 31,32

 

 

 

 

Soft Things

 

I am one of the many recipients who receive an email from Alan Webster, who writes his thoughts in a daily output called Quiet Times.   Often there is food for thought and encouragement for those who need it.

At times I can be a  ‘word-and- phrase catcher’ and so it was with the last QT that came my way,  the phrase – ‘soft  things.’
For some reason it conjured up in me a feeling of gentleness, and I got to thinking about what the ‘soft things’ were that spoke to me personally.
But before I expand on this I want to share with you the Scripture and the particular paragraph that stood out.

The title of his writing is Spring into Life,  – with a nod to the coming season of Spring,
–  and as Hosea writes to those who have fallen away, to return to the road less travelled.

Best_Real_World_Full_HD
Hosea 14:5-7
5.    I will be like the dew to Israel,
He shall grow like the lily,
And lengthen his roots like Lebanon,
6.   His branches shall spread,
His beauty shall be like an olive tree,
And his fragrance like Lebanon.
7.  Those that dwell under his shadow shall return;
They shall be revived like grain,
And grow like a vine
Their scent shall be like the wine of Lebanon.

“What a wonderful picture of awakening is given in these verses by Hosea
Note the gentleness of the Lord who offers  soft things like dew and shade,   

            morning-dew

almost imperceptible touches of grace to allow room for healing and restoration.
Nothing is forced, nothing pushy, nothing fabricated.
Providing the right conditions of water, sun and shade,
the plants that have withered and perished can come back to life.
        ……….   And even while the hot dry winds of August blow, 
blossoms are appearing.
Father, I praise You for the life that comes after a dormant season.  Amen “

In essence it is to me a description of the way the Lord works.
He offers soft things like dew and shade…
Nothing is forced, nothing pushy, nothing fabricated….
…. The plants that have withered and perished can come back to life.

Such a gentle God, a characteristic we do not often ascribe to Him, yet He is gentleness itself.    Gentleness, when delivered, brings with it such grace, relief and freedom to the person to be themselves and feel acknowledged, accepted and loved.

So what soft things talk to me ?   My ‘beeg’ blue soft cushion on which I prop up when I read, or when I feel to rest my sleepy head.   The nearness of my cosy cat.

Ice cream in cone

Soft serve ice-cream !
And for soft cool breezes on a humid and hot summer day.
But most of all the soft kind words of people by, through and to people,  –  are a few that come to mind.

What are the  ‘soft things’  that imperceptibly move you ?
Give it some thought, write them down, even create a poem ? –  and perhaps discover the gentleness in you.