the blind will see, the lost is found {part 3}

it is true that everything always looks better in the morning. especially once one realizes they haven't permanently lost their sight. God took pity on me and the blister had disappeared but so had the goat. for good it seemed.

not a footprint. not a broken branch. no indication of where she had roamed off to, steve canvased the neighbourhood by four-wheeler. all. day. long. one neighbourly farmer, in particular snickering at my dedicated husband's perseverance.
"she's gone for good i tell ya! she's dead! there's no way she made it through the night!" he taunted only to be followed up a few hours later by an inquisitive text asking if we had found her yet.

and then we got our lucky break. as dusk was quickly settling on the open miles upon miles of back fields, steve's eye caught sight of that sorry goat's rump foraging in the far back corner of a corn field, on the very edge of a trepadacious wilderness. we flew at his beckon to help corral her. he had her backed against an old cedar rail fence that separated the farmer's field from the deep & impending ravine. thickets of fierce shrubbery & prickly vines swelled & swayed against the fence, surely discouraging anyone's passage through. i silently climbed the fence further down, parting the wilderness with my hands, to block the back way out just as insurance to her capture.

mom & steve slowly inched towards the now shaking fugitive, talking sweetly so as not to alarm her. we had found her, we all smiled. we could see her with our very eyes and were inches from touching her. suddenly, she took flight over the fence & the thick shrubbery swallowed her up as she came crashing through other side of the bush towards me. i fought hard to swim through the raspberry thicket that entrapped me, missing her completely as she bounded down the ravine, cannonballing into a swamp ditch with a enormous splash.

my heart now thudding in my chest, i knew i could trap her in there. the ravine turned into more of a deep, steep ditch that streamed slowly out to the main road. i could hear steve now position the car on the road waiting for the moment she would emerge if i could push her forward. the steep banks and bramble hid my hovering presence as i followed the wet jingle of her bell closer and closer to the road until i tripped on a rock and fell with a thud and she stopped dead. i had given myself away. i cautiously peaked over the bank and she looked straight at me and i knew in that very moment i was going to have to pull off that move from swiss family robinson where they wrestle the snake in the river. i poised and catapulted my body hard over the bank, belly flopping flat out in green swamp just inches from that dreadful goat. i scrambled and she scrambled up the other bank, getting snagged & cut by every kind of branch and bramble imaginable. she momentarily snagged her collar on a low hanging cedar and i desperately clawed through the mud & vines, grabbing her by her back leg just as she cut herself free from the cedar and bounded over the fence and far away, her bell angrily jingling all the way off into the maze of corn fields. it was dark now and the mosquitos were thick and swarming. i dared open my mouth, although my legs had become an open feasting ground. wild celery stalks grew taller than my head, flapping in my face as i scampered fast enough to not lose the sound of that bell. i tried not to think of the consequences.

i ran hard and fast, starting to panic that i was alone now in the deep darkness and wouldn't be able to find my way back until i stumbled into the neighbours cow field. their three teenage sons had now joined the search party with their four-wheelers ripping it up which rightfully frightened the cattle who would stampede from one end of the field to the other without warning. i felt like i was living some impossible video game, except without the superpowers. soon i had lost the sound of her bell and i felt sick to my stomach again at the thought that our farmer friend might be right.

just as i was losing hope, i stumbled across a fresh trail where the wet dewyness of the grass had clearly been disturbed. all those episodes of mantracker came fresh to my memory. i followed the trail sprinting with renewed spirit, zig zagging this way and that. i was so focussed on following the trail that i forgot to look up and ran straight into the butt end of the most enormous, very white tailed deer. the deer bounced off indignitly and i, in complete & utter shock, clutched my chest and fell to the ground crying uncontrollably, letting the mosquitos have their way.

nothing but the sound of coyote howls, calling for her, filled the moon-lit cold air.
we were never going to find her and i knew it. i briefly weighed up the horrid pros and cons of shooting her. and decided against it. and picked myself up off the ground and started to make my long trek back.

as irate as i was at that goat, the nothingness of having lost something so beautiful and so treasured filled my chest with tightness. i would never have another like her. and the fear in her brown bulging eyes bothered me. i had chased her right into the wild wilderness that would take her life & i would never see her again.

once i made it back to our neighbours house, now lit up like a fortress, i realized how close she had come to home. what a dark tragedy, i thought to myself. to come so close to home and paralysed with fear, turn the other way, walking straight into the mouth of her real enemy.

i couldn't give up on her. my heart just had to have hope that she would come back to us by some miraculous circumstance. i couldn't bare surrender to the alternative. with the teenage boys still ripping around on their machines, their parents assured us that they were having so much fun, although their skill & technique in goat herding was questionable, we said goodnight and with our head hanging low went home to bed.

'Father, is there any way to get her back?,' i prayed as i closed my eyes. i know she's just a goat but He reminded me of a song i used to sing to our kids. it goes a little something like this...

Say you had a hundred sheep 
and one little lamb got lost 
in the dark, in the cold, far away from the fold 
What would you do? 
What would you do? 

You’d say go get the lost one 
And leave the ninety-nine 
That little lamb is lost 
And that little lamb is mine 
Bring it home on your shoulders 
And call up all your friends 

Rejoice with me, I’ve got my little lamb again. 
Rejoice with me, I’ve got my little lamb again. 

Say you had ten silver coins 
And one silver coin got lost 
Your treasure, your wealth 
In the cracks, in the filth 
What would you do? 
What would you do? 

You’d say go get the lost one 
Turn the house upside down 
That silver coin was lost 
And that silver coin is found 
Light the lamp, sweep the ground 
Then call up all your friends 
Rejoice with me, I’ve got my silver coin again. 
Rejoice with me, I’ve got my silver coin again. 

If God had a child 
Who wandered far astray 
Who was sad, broken hearted, whose guilt kept him away 
What would He do? 
What would He do? 

He’d say, go get the lost one 
He’s who I came to see. 
He thought he was an orphan 
But he’s coming home with me. 
The angels are rejoicing. 
The sinner is my friend. 
Rejoice with me, my child is coming home again. 
The angels are rejoicing. 
The sinner is my friend. 
Rejoice with me, my child is coming home again.

how beautiful a picture of God's love for us. that He would give it all up to find His treasure, His beloved, you and me. to come and find us in the cold, in the cracks, in the filth. to save us from the jaws of death that we so eagerly toddle towards. He snatched us out of a life full of frightened frailty, wandering through the wilderness, belonging to no one and nothing & He washes our shame & guilt far away, soothes our wounds from the wild and embraces us with arms open wide as His very own child. that, my friends, is Love. that an orphan would be called a beloved daughter.

soon after i fell asleep, with the grips of hope still clutched tight in my hand, we were awoken my a late night phone call that the boys had safely captured her and had carried her back to their barn on their shoulders. they had bedded her down and other than exhaustion, she was absolutely fine & we could come and get her in the morning.

and i leapt out of a dead sleep, in those last few minutes before midnight, and danced in delirious delight on our bed! my body torn and tired, i slipped into a deep sleep that night with my hand on my heart in gratitude.

the lost is finally found.

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