Four or five weeks ago, I received a call from a school administrator asking me to sub the next week. Sure. Then he called back. "Could you actually teach Biology, Chemistry, and Geometry for the rest of the year." I nearly fell over as I waited in a check-out line at Wal-Mart. The rest, they say, is history. Now the routine is up at 5 a.m., to school by 6, study, prepare, and teach till 11:15, study more, go to track practice, get home at 6 p.m., make dinner, take care of my 100 online students and prepare more for the next day. Sandwiched in there are weekend track meets, on-going projects to put in a fish pond and finish a big remodel while getting a group of girls ready for a mission trip. I am tired. No. Exhausted. Sleep is not overrated.
However, for weeks, I have been awakened in the night by my thoughts, apparently worming their way to the surface of my restless brain. For example, during the planning period and anticipation of moving the first shovelful of dirt for my pond, I could think of little else. I was so excited! I love doing things like this. The labor, the rocks, the dirt, the mud, the water...all of it. Can't get enough! But, even I was amazed at how pervasive my thoughts about the pond became. I found that I drifted to sleep scheming my attack and upon waking, never missed a second of continued planning. Then, I remembered the deer.
The deer is almost a joke. Another family hated that resin creature. Not sure why. He's really quite cute. Nevertheless, at a swap meet of "stuff," my friend was delighted to let Bambi go home with me. Since then, I've loved the way the little guy is molded to lay there in my garden, so blissfully content. Perhaps it reminds me of the cement deer that my Grandma had in her yard which later came to live at our house. Good memories. Good times.
The deer had found a place of rest near the spot where my pond was going. Obviously, he had to relocate for awhile. I have to admit that I ignored him for some time during the construction process. But as I was putting the final touches on the pond, placing rocks around the perimeter and lining the bottom, I absentmindedly picked him up, setting him down by a big rock bordering the pathway. The gentle sound of flowing water at his side seemed so right. Hum, I thought, he looks content there. Perhaps I'll leave him be.
So he remains. He remains not because he is a charming garden ornament or a conversation starter as guests meander by. No, he has found a new home because every time I come or go from the house, he reminds me how I should live. How my thoughts should be guided. How my priorities should be determined and structured. For as silent as he is, his message speaks loudly, chiding and convicting.