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Posts Tagged ‘donkey’

Despite the fact the Ishmael means “God hears” or “God listens,” the name has become symbolic for being cast out or cast aside. And, isn’t it fascinating that Abraham, the father/patriarch of nations, was also the father of the Arab nations as well as Israelites? If you think the Adam and Eve story caused havoc in Human, what about this one?

Genesis 16:11-12
The angel of the Lord also said to her [Hagar]: “You are now pregnant and you will give birth to a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the Lord has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone  and everyone’s hand against him, and he will live in hostility towardall his brothers.”

So here are the traits of a donkey [originally wild ass]: hard working (have been used for work over 5000 years); used as pack animals and able to carry large weight for long distances; associated with the idea of people living at or below subsistence levels [the animal of the poor]; they can live anywhere from 10 years to 50 years, depending on their lifestyle and owners; adaptable; solitary; a male donkey’s [jack] bray can be heard over long distances — as much as 3 kilometers; hear well; fight defensively and persistently; they can interbreed which accounts for mules [bred with a horse]; and above all, stubbornness.

The stubbornness of a donkey is based on self-preservation. If a donkey believes circumstances are dangerous, it will resist. Otherwise, donkeys are also known for being friendly, intelligent, playful, and willing to learn.

So, is this such a terrible comparison, to be called a donkey of a man? It wouldn’t have to be except that the dominance of stubbornness seems to prevail over all of the other things. And stubbornness in anyone is a recipe for disaster. In a way, both Abram and Sarai were also stubborn. For Abram, it was called faithfulness, his conviction that God would follow through on His promises.

For Sarai, her stubbornness came into play by taking circumstances into her own hands. She may have believed God as well, but she appears to have been a practical woman. She waited ten years for her “miracle” child and decided that was long enough. Abram did not exactly try to dissuade her either. Abram, like Adam, passed over any responsibility to his spouse. Even when things went awry and Hagar, elevated from mere handmaid to surrogate, began testing the waters of her authority; Abram cast the solution back on Sarai.

I have always aligned myself with Sarai. I have her tendencies. I have her stubbornness. Once I believe I have the the answer or the solution and the track has been laid, I walk it with a vengeance.

I remember standing at the end of the aisle (at 18) waiting to walk toward my first marriage. In that moment, I knew I was making a terrible mistake. But of course, the path had been laid, and so I walked it. We lasted five years, but in the end, I was too immature to handle it and unfortunately, another dream became my obsession and I pursued that one (to move to New York and acting school) with the same singleness of purpose.

Most of the time, I believe we [Human] err because of our sense of time.

Even today, my husband (of 30 years by the way), bemoaned a familiar truth: “everything I start to do always takes longer than I think it will, whether it’s editing a video or fixing a faucet.” So true. It is “time” itself that we try to manipulate. But “time” will not bend to our will. “Time” is God’s domain and His alone to metamorphose.

Here’s the short of it. I accept my stubbornness and realize there are occasions when that is useful (when it’s called persistence) and instances when it gets in the way. Now I want to know and practice the difference,  to remember that I cannot control the outcomes of every situation: to trust God’s time.

Mary Karr, in her memoir Lit, tells of a fellow AA goofball she asked about “God’s will.” How to know when to act. And his answer is so apropos, we wait and stay the course until God tells us to do something else.

Most of us bemoan not knowing or hearing God’s voice because we act before the time. Simple.

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